Photos: Riding with Sioux Native Americans on Fort Laramie pact anniversary

Covering Native Americans at Standing Rock, North Dakota, protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline presented Reuters photographer Stephanie Keith a unique opportunity to get to know many of the people who took a stand there. Lakota medicine man Ivan Lookinghorse was one of them. Ivan invited Keith on commemorative ride by the Lakota (Sioux) people to mark the 150th anniversary of the Fort Laramie peace treaty between the Sioux Nation and United States government signed in 1868 and cementing historic change in Sioux native lifestyles.

UPDATED ON AUG 04, 2018 01:38 PM IST 13 Photos
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Stephanie Big-Eagle rides with other treaty riders on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. In 2018, to mark the 150th anniversary of the Fort Laramie peace treaty between the Sioux Nation and US government, the Lakota (Sioux) people embarked on a 640 km ride from Green Grass, South Dakota, home to their spiritual leader, Arvol Lookinghorse to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Stephanie Big-Eagle rides with other treaty riders on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. In 2018, to mark the 150th anniversary of the Fort Laramie peace treaty between the Sioux Nation and US government, the Lakota (Sioux) people embarked on a 640 km ride from Green Grass, South Dakota, home to their spiritual leader, Arvol Lookinghorse to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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Ivan Lookinghorse (C) and other riders meet in a school kitchen in South Dakota. “Understand that we, as a people, we have been in poverty, we have been in depression, we have been Christianised, we have been boarding schooled, our language has been taken away from us, but we are on our way back to who we once were,” Lookinghorse said. “We are taking our place in the world, the protectors of the Grandmother Earth.” (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Ivan Lookinghorse (C) and other riders meet in a school kitchen in South Dakota. “Understand that we, as a people, we have been in poverty, we have been in depression, we have been Christianised, we have been boarding schooled, our language has been taken away from us, but we are on our way back to who we once were,” Lookinghorse said. “We are taking our place in the world, the protectors of the Grandmother Earth.” (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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Horses run through a river near Arvol Lookinghorse’s home. Under the treaty, the government recognized the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory as part of the Great Sioux Reservation and hostilities ended between the Sioux and white settlers. The ceremony began on a hill, in a circle, organisers sharing a pipe while Ivan sang a Lakota song. Lakota ceremonies cannot be photographed or taped because they are sacred. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Horses run through a river near Arvol Lookinghorse’s home. Under the treaty, the government recognized the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory as part of the Great Sioux Reservation and hostilities ended between the Sioux and white settlers. The ceremony began on a hill, in a circle, organisers sharing a pipe while Ivan sang a Lakota song. Lakota ceremonies cannot be photographed or taped because they are sacred. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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Some people brought horses in trailers. They said Arvol had 100 horses, some wild, some broken. He offered several to relatives and others for the ride. After a prayer, a motivational speech and song, the riders headed up a hill and out of sight. There was great pride among them. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Some people brought horses in trailers. They said Arvol had 100 horses, some wild, some broken. He offered several to relatives and others for the ride. After a prayer, a motivational speech and song, the riders headed up a hill and out of sight. There was great pride among them. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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Austin Warrior, 11, and his sister Delores Warrior are covered with sage smoke in Harrison, Nebraska. Dawn and dusk during the ride found riders and horses in a circle waiting to be “smudged.” A person would pass with sage, thought to cleanse, smoking in a can. If it was morning, the riders would set out single file behind one rider carrying a sacred staff. At night, horses were corralled before dinner. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Austin Warrior, 11, and his sister Delores Warrior are covered with sage smoke in Harrison, Nebraska. Dawn and dusk during the ride found riders and horses in a circle waiting to be “smudged.” A person would pass with sage, thought to cleanse, smoking in a can. If it was morning, the riders would set out single file behind one rider carrying a sacred staff. At night, horses were corralled before dinner. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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The treaty is often fodder for conversations among the Lakota, many of whom say they are descended from one of the chiefs who signed it. Some even have a painting or photo of that chief. “If you look deep, a lot of people are related to them. When our father was alive, when our grandfathers were alive, they kept it going, they talked about it in Lakota,” said Allen Flying By of the Standing Rock Reservation. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

The treaty is often fodder for conversations among the Lakota, many of whom say they are descended from one of the chiefs who signed it. Some even have a painting or photo of that chief. “If you look deep, a lot of people are related to them. When our father was alive, when our grandfathers were alive, they kept it going, they talked about it in Lakota,” said Allen Flying By of the Standing Rock Reservation. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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Horses, sacred to the Lakota, eat before people, so early each day they were fed and watered. From Green Grass they rode through the Cheyenne River Reservation to a Native American settlement called Bridger. People in each community brought food for the riders. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Horses, sacred to the Lakota, eat before people, so early each day they were fed and watered. From Green Grass they rode through the Cheyenne River Reservation to a Native American settlement called Bridger. People in each community brought food for the riders. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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Mahto In The Woods jumps over a small creek on foot while his cousin Jayden Lookinghorse jumps over on his horse on the Cheyenne River Reservation. As it moved through Indian Country, the ride picked up Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne, all related tribes, all signers of the treaty. Some boys from Bridger joined with just the clothes on their backs. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Mahto In The Woods jumps over a small creek on foot while his cousin Jayden Lookinghorse jumps over on his horse on the Cheyenne River Reservation. As it moved through Indian Country, the ride picked up Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne, all related tribes, all signers of the treaty. Some boys from Bridger joined with just the clothes on their backs. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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At the Pine Ridge Reservation Dave Swallow (C), an elder and headsman of the Oglala Lakota Nation explained: “We may be poor in the white man’s way but we are not poor in the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota ways because we are connected to this earth and connected to above and everywhere.” (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

At the Pine Ridge Reservation Dave Swallow (C), an elder and headsman of the Oglala Lakota Nation explained: “We may be poor in the white man’s way but we are not poor in the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota ways because we are connected to this earth and connected to above and everywhere.” (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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For two nights in Pine Ridge, accommodations were a middle school gym and campsite beside a reservoir. Moving on meant leaving “Lakota land” for Nebraska, where riders primarily rested on roadsides and relied on camp cooks for food. As the sun set, smoke rose from two kitchens, the flags of various groups were displayed and their leaders spoke. Later, children played with lassos. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

For two nights in Pine Ridge, accommodations were a middle school gym and campsite beside a reservoir. Moving on meant leaving “Lakota land” for Nebraska, where riders primarily rested on roadsides and relied on camp cooks for food. As the sun set, smoke rose from two kitchens, the flags of various groups were displayed and their leaders spoke. Later, children played with lassos. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 04, 2018 01:38 PM IST
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Wyatt Grey is seen by the light of a campfire during an overnight stop in Harrison, Nebraska. With Fort Laramie two days away, people excitedly wondered which other Native groups would be there and who would represent the federal government. There were ceremonies and drumming, tepees were pitched, people visited around fires. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Wyatt Grey is seen by the light of a campfire during an overnight stop in Harrison, Nebraska. With Fort Laramie two days away, people excitedly wondered which other Native groups would be there and who would represent the federal government. There were ceremonies and drumming, tepees were pitched, people visited around fires. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 04, 2018 01:38 PM IST
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The Fort Laramie Treaty riders take a break after arriving at the Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming. Reaching Fort Laramie was a triumph given the long, arduous ride and momentous occasion being celebrated. Riders circled ceremonial tepees and crossed a river to the site of the signing. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

The Fort Laramie Treaty riders take a break after arriving at the Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming. Reaching Fort Laramie was a triumph given the long, arduous ride and momentous occasion being celebrated. Riders circled ceremonial tepees and crossed a river to the site of the signing. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

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Harold Frazier, (C) Chairman of the Cheyenne River Reservation wears his Lakota headdress and holds a staff. He said in his speech at Fort Laramie, “I carry this staff for Cheyenne River Lakota Akichita (Lakota for relatives or people) to remind me to be a warrior for our people.” After riding almost the entire way, Frazier still felt disappointed that while Wyoming Senator John Barrasso attended no other federal senior officials were there. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

Harold Frazier, (C) Chairman of the Cheyenne River Reservation wears his Lakota headdress and holds a staff. He said in his speech at Fort Laramie, “I carry this staff for Cheyenne River Lakota Akichita (Lakota for relatives or people) to remind me to be a warrior for our people.” After riding almost the entire way, Frazier still felt disappointed that while Wyoming Senator John Barrasso attended no other federal senior officials were there. (Stephanie Keith / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 04, 2018 01:38 PM IST
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