MEADE COUNTY, SD – Every three days, at least one Indigenous woman in the United States and Canada goes missing with little accountability. Sunday morning’s Medicine Wheel Ride – one of many rides scheduled during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally – helped raise awareness of the issue.
This was the third annual hike, which started at Bear Butte State Park near Sturgis. Bear Butte, or “Bear Mountain” as it is known in the Lakota language, has long been a site of traditional ceremonies and council meetings. From there, the riders were escorted by law enforcement to the Crazy Horse Memorial.
The Medicine Wheel Ride was first introduced in 2019 at the Women’s Freedom Rally in Topeka, Kansas.
“A lot of bands were just getting started, so we decided to start one as well,” Medicine Wheel Ride co-founder Lynette Red Cloud Roberts explained. “And because we all ride motorcycles, we decided to incorporate that completely — to have a motorcycle ride in honor of our missing and murdered Indigenous wives and relatives.”
Over 160 runners hit the road for the 70+ mile journey. All proceeds go to resources that help Native American women and their families, as well as assist in the search for missing relatives.
“We helped a family with a billboard, and we helped people make t-shirts with their missing loved one’s information, and posters,” Red Cloud Roberts said. “We helped families with funeral costs. We just do things like that to help the family any way we can.
Runners from as far away as California and Hawaii have participated in this ride since it began in Kansas. Anyone interested in joining the rides or helping the organization spread awareness of the MMIW movement can find more information here.