On Friday, February 14, more than 40 of us gathered near Yankee Jim Canyon in Montana’s Gardiner Basin, to commence the 3rd Annual Rosalie Little Thunder Memorial Walk. This walk is our way of paying homage to our co-founder, Rosalie Little Thunder, Sicangu Lakota Oyate, who, in 1999, walked 500 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota, all the way to the Gardiner Basin in Montana. Rosalie’s walk was a form of prayer for the buffalo and protest against their senseless slaughter. Rosalie passed away in 2014, so this walk is our way of keeping her memory alive and honoring all the incredible work she did — and continues to do from the Spirit realm — for the last wild buffalo. Friends, relatives, and loved ones of Rosalie’s braved treacherous winter road conditions to come together to honor this amazing woman. We met up near Yankee Jim Canyon, near the north end of the Gardiner Basin, where we would walk south to Beattie Gulch, right at Yellowstone National Park’s north boundary. Recognizing we were to complete a mere fraction of Rosalie's achievement, with an 11 mile walk, we shrugged off the blizzards and icy roads we traveled through, as well as the cold and wind in the air, and any ailments people were feeling.
Along our journey, we were given many waves and thumbs up by passers by, and also received curious, attentive looks from a captive buffalo herd, elk, horses, and pronghorn. A bald eagle flew over us nearly half way through, soaring around us in circles of prayer. The walkers were humble and joyful, sharing stories of Rosalie, offering prayers for the buffalo, and reinforcing commitments to lend our selves in defense of Mother Earth. As we reached our destination, we gathered in a large prayer circle. Beautiful, inspiring, and humbling words were spoken about the feeling of family, the teachings of the buffalo, the honor it is to work with Buffalo Field campaign and be a real part of the buffalos' lives, and how Rosalie has touched each and every one of us -- even those who have never met her. In her work, in our prayers, in this walk -- and in the buffalo who remain -- Rosalie is still here, her legacy strong and continuing to bring people together to help defend the last wild buffalo. We joined together for a wonderful feast where we continued to strengthen existing relationships with one another and made new friends. It’s kind of hard to put words to the feelings of love, honor, respect, and commitment that were being felt through us all. So, we would like to share with you a photo gallery of the Walk and hope you, too, can feel some of the power that we felt on that day, a power that Rosalie continues to keep alive in all who knew and know of her.
Beginning the walk, heading to US Hwy. 89. Of the folks up front, left to right: Rosalie’s sister Donna Cardoza-Quinones, Rosalie’s grandson Antonio Little Thunder, Jimmy St. Goddard, BFC executive director James Holt, Alias American Horse, and Rosalie’s first cousin Phil Little Thunder. Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign.
A group of captive buffalo (imprisoned by USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service) checks us out. They got really excited and started running around then just stared at us. They knew what we were doing.