Sacred Ceremonial Horse Ride At Fort Laramie National Historic Site On October 15

A sacred ceremonial horse ride involving Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribal members is scheduled to take place Monday, October 15, at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in eastern Wyoming.

The ride should begin at 9 a.m. from South Park in the town of Fort Laramie, and will make its way on Highway 160 to the Fort Laramie National Historic Site. The ceremonial ride began on October 10 in North Dakota.

The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes were among many tribes that signed the 1851 Treaty, which was also known as the Horse Creek Treaty and the “Great Smoke.” The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 negotiations and signing was attended by anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 Indians. Their camps extended for miles along the North Platte River into what is now Nebraska.

The purpose of the ride is to revisit the site where the negotiations of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 began. Members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara delegation will include direct descendants of the signing chiefs. Other participants will be members of age-old societies, staff carriers, tribal leaders, veterans and spiritual leaders.

“We are honored to host the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation for this sacred event,” said Fort Laramie Superintendent Mitzi Frank. “We not only look forward to this ceremony, but the opportunity to host other such events as well.”

The day will begin with the symbolic ride marking the events of the time period. Approximately 30 horseback riders and two horse teams pulling a wagon and flatbed trailer with drummers and dancers will parade in ceremonial regalia to the fort and then continue around the military parade ground, culminating at the event tent near the Visitor Center. As many as 150 tribal leaders and members are planning to participate or attend the parade and meeting.

That parade will be followed by a formal program that will begin around 10 a.m. and include ceremonial flag songs, victory songs, and posting of the colors. From approximately 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. there will be cultural dance demonstrations performed by several different societies representing each of the three tribes. Several of the dances being presented are not generally performed in public.

The public is invited to attend. Please bring a bag lunch, a lawn chair to sit on, and dress appropriately for the autumn Wyoming weather.

For more information, contact Fort Laramie National Historic Site at 307-837-2221.