Monument erected at the site of the 1890 massacre of hundreds of Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek by the U.S. 7th Cavalry.

Eye-Opening Wounded Knee Journey Becomes Family Affair


They toil on horseback across 191 miles of Badlands and other harsh terrain in the freezing cold, sleeping outside, sometimes fasting. The two-week journey along the route taken by doomed Lakota 121 years ago is a time of prayer, reflection and honoring the fallen.

It has turned into a family affair for the Kuntzes—Melanie, now 22, and her sister Jamie, 20, who have both ridden the road since they were teenagers. At first their father made them do it. But one ride, and they were converts, as this stirring story in the Great Plains Examiner relates.

“I just remember being so upset that we were going,” Melanie Kuntz told the newspaper of her first trip as an unwilling 14-year-old. “But after getting down there and riding, it was like a complete 180. When I was done, I was so glad I did it."

The girls' father, Duane Kuntz, accompanies the riders—dozens of them in all, many of them young people and some descendants of those who died—in a truck alongside. It's important, he said, for people to learn about Lakota and Native history by living it. This year was the 25th consecutive ride memorializing the hundreds of Lakota men, women and children who were massacred on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1890 as they fled from the U.S. Army.

The massacre scarred the perpetrators too, as the Great Plains Examiner story points out. A member of that 7th Cavalry, Hugh McGinnis, recounted his vivid memories of the carnage in writing before dying in 1965. His nightmares, he wrote in an article in Real West Magazine, were haunted by the screams of the women and the shouts of the warriors as they were "cut down in rows by demon-crazed white soldiers,” the Great Plains Examiner said.

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rawblue's picture
Submitted by rawblue on
It seems like someone should have to answer for the Massacre at Wounded knee, and for all the things that was done to the Native American Indians. It's just not right. I think about what I've read and heard all my life and it just angers me.

James B.Wilson's picture
James B.Wilson
Submitted by James B.Wilson on
Just not right that things like this and worse happen and never talked about. I don't really think anything would or could make this right.. I can't imagine what my ancestors went through. My son and I have traced our family back to 1880. In 1890 our family was taken and given a NUMBER.. The child we found was only 10 years old at the time.. What that must have been like...