A Man



May interview with Chief Mel Lone Hill

Share In The Great Horse Ride!

Giddy yap your horses – we’re going to celebrate the 132 Anniversary of the Little Big Horn Battle with Chief Mel Lone Hill from the Olgala Sioux Tribe.

In a peaceful encampment on June 25, 1876, Cheyenne and Lakotas were hunting and gathering food as they had for hundreds of years when soldiers from the 7th Calvary attacked the Native Americans.

The Indian warriors responded by killing General Custer and his men in one of the most unique battles in U.S. history commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand.

“We beat the United States government,” Lone Hill told me, with what I perceived was a hint of pride for his people. “I get a sense of like a healing on the ride that the things that happened to us so many years ago … are still happening today.”

Pine Ridge, South Dakota, where Lone Hill lives with his people, is one of the poorest places in America.

“For me it’s an awakening when we gather up our riders and support group and head out to Montana. I’m especially concerned about our young men. I want them to stay away from alcohol and drugs. I want them to see something of themselves, and pride in their heritage.”

Former MKP Chairman Curtis Mitchell introduced me to Lone Hill – who is a Vietnam Veteran.

“I have taken many trainings, including the Bamboo Bridge, all to help the young people of my tribe. There was this silent guy that didn’t like to talk, but he went through the New Warrior Training Adventure and now he’s talking.”

The chief experienced his NWTA in Colorado in 2006, and has just recently taken eight of his people through the MKP training in Sioux City, Iowa – where he was a rookie staff man.

“It made me feel good to be on the training. I had a chance to take my oldest brother through – Everitt Lone Hill – a man I ride with …”

Mostly Elders from the Lakota and Cheyenne tribes made the first trek to the Little Big Horn six years ago with 33 horse riders, he noted.

“There’s something special about having the horses there,” he continued. “I’m a horseman. Anytime a horseman feels down, or wants to get a young person involved in something positive, he gets on a horse. I think better that way. It’s good for the young people. There’s something spiritual about the horse. I tell young people, don’t abuse your horse, that horse can abuse you. Your horse can dump you.”

In June of 2007, Lone Hill was seriously injured by a spooked horse.

“A horse got loose during the ride. I knew him to be a gentle horse. Around midnight I just happened to catch the horse. I was holding him when a young kid threw a rope around his neck. The horse shied and I got run over by a tame horse. The kid didn’t know how to handle a horse …”

Lone Hill was knocked unconscious and taken to the ER suffering from a fractured skull.

“I have headaches, but I’m still a horseman. I didn’t abuse the horse; but it was an accident that shouldn’t have happened. But it’s okay, I love my horse. Even though the horse hurt me, I went back and petted the horse. I still love my horse. It’s something people need to learn. I learned the hard way.”

This united party – an event of which you are welcome to join - first goes to the monument of the historic battle where they perform ceremonial dances. Then they go outside the park where they continue their festivities.

“We ride for our warriors, and every person that fell on that ground that day. It makes us feel good. The first year we went, it was mostly Elderly women. Now, we encourage our young people to go.”

This year, the Northern Cheyenne will be joining the Olgala people hoping for a gathering of 500 individuals, Lone Hill added.

The Indian Chief has a unique background of having been both Christian and a “traditional man.”

“My grandfather was a medicine man, and my dad was a member of the clergy,” Lone Hill said. “What I do - is believe in both of them. There is only one God, and as one man I pray to that God.”

I asked Mel Lone Hill what blessings he seeks from his God.

“I look for a sober life. I have been sober for a good many years. This is what I want for my people. Today is hard times for everybody throughout our nation. Things we do here and now will help a lot of young men and women. I tell them to look up … look up and around you. If you don’t see God around you, you’re lost.”

Contact: www.wiserearth.org/group/makasitomni or E-Mail or 605-454-8142

© 2008, Reid Baer

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The fame you earn has a different taste from the fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria Vanderbilt

Reid Baer, an award-winning playwright for “A Lyon’s Tale” is also a newspaper journalist, a poet with more than 100 poems in magazines world wide, and a novelist with his first book released this month entitled Kill The Story. Baer has been a member of The ManKind Project since 1995 and currently edits The New Warrior Journal for The ManKind Project www.mkp.org . He resides in Reidsville, N.C. with his wife Patricia. He can be reached at E-Mail.

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