Oglala Lakota Milo Yellow Hair has the kind of deep belly laugh that is absolutely contagious. He is a lifelong resident of the Pine Ridge Reservation and he is well versed the value of humor within Lakota culture. He lights up when telling a funny story or a joke. Yellow Hair also has a serious side, he is one of the founders of the Big Foot Ride.
The commemorative journey traces the path of Chief Big Foot’s band of Minneconjou Lakota who fled the Standing Rock Reservation in December of 1890 following the assassination of Chief Sitting Bull. Big Foot and hundreds of Lakota were on a 190 mile journey trying to make it to Pine Ridge. On December 29th, 1890 7th Cavalry soldiers caught up with Big Foot’s Band and massacred hundreds of Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee.
The Big Foot Memorial Riders first traced the steps of Chief Big Foot’s band in 1986. The event has taken place every year since and it can include hundreds of riders who brave the cold harsh December winds.
During his 66 years Yellow Hair has served in varying capacities in tribal government including time as the vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. As a young man he took part in the American Indian movement and the 1973 Wounded Knee Occupation.
SDPB's Charles Michael Ray sat down to talk with Yellow Hair about his life growing up on Pine Ridge and his time taking part in those early Big Foot Memorial rides.