Spiritual Remembrance of the Northern Cheyenne People
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Submitted by: Yuri Klitsenko

Starting January 9th, through the 14th, 2009 the Annual Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual Run will be celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of running the 400 miles from Fort Robinson, Neb. to Busby, Mont.

On January 9, 1879 , at 10:30 pm , approximately 130 sick, starving Northern Cheyenne people, primarily elderly, women, and children, broke out of their wooden barracks attempting to escape from Fort Robinson, Neb. to return to their homeland in Montana . Although most were killed at the door step, some fled 40 miles before the Calvary caught up with them. They sought cover in a deep depression, where they were slaughtered and buried. This location is known as, “The Last Hole.” A small group also found safety among Red Cloud’s people. Oral history of the Oglala Lakota and those of Cheyenne descent state that an encampment of these survivors were fed and given blankets infected with small pox by Calvary soldiers. Remains of these Cheyenne ancestors have been discovered on the banks of Cheyenne Creek, just outside of Pine Ridge.

Today, “The Last Hole,” and “Cheyenne Creek,” will be among numerous sites revisited on the 400 mile spiritual journey by Northern Cheyenne youth runners and elderly participants. All of whom have been brought together to honor their ancestors, learn of their history and to address the issues of historical trauma so they can strive towards a better future.

The run’s participants include a wide range of ages, from 10 year old 5th graders, young adult college students to the elderly. After arriving at Fort Robinson , the runners will spend the next day, January 9th, visiting historical sights, listening to their ancestors’ stories and learning about their Northern Cheyenne heritage. That evening the runners will break out of the rebuilt barracks at the approximate time and on the exact location that their ancestors broke out of 130 years ago.

The evening of January 13th, 2009 the runners will reach the reservation boundary in Ashland , Mont. where they will be welcomed home by hundreds of family and tribal members. Saint Labre Catholic School will provide the meal that evening. The final day of the Fort Robinson Spiritual Outbreak Run will end at the Two Moons Monument in Busby, Mont. This is the site where the remains of the Northern Cheyenne who were killed at, “The Last Hole,” are laid to rest.

The 10th Anniversary of the Fort Robinson Spiritual Outbreak 400 Mile Run will end at the Allen Rowland Gymnasium in Lame Deer, Mont. Their 400 mile journey ends, but their journey in life continues with a strong sense of spiritual justice.

[Ed, Note] Throughout history, human beings have done horrible things to other humans and animals. We need to do more than just remember the horror; we need to work at finding ways to prevent such things from happening in the future, just as Jesus Christ teaches us to do.  Our failure to do this is repeated over and over again in our recorded histories.

Yuri Klitsenko is a Russian living in Moscow.  He works for the Russian Orthodox Church.

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