Day 31 (Wounded Knee)

Miles traveled: 222                                                                                                                 Location: Wounded Knee and Custer

Least we forget:  Returning to the subject of invisibility. In the local paper there was an article on about the funeral of local policeman and that it was attended by 1,600 officers from all over the state. The very nature of the work in both corrections and law enforcement demands a cohesive force. This cohesiveness also translates into very powerful special interest groups that can deliver votes, support and money during political campaigns. Is it any wonder that politicians focus on the advocacy group that can deliver the political gold of votes and funds during electoral campaigns. Most likely the best example of where this line is crossed is with a former Department of Corrections Secretary who went to a federal prison for 8 years. It was James V. Crosby. The reader is invited to do their own internet search on the subject. The real question that has never been answered is why did it take the feds to investigate, charge, try, convict and sentence a resident of the state for a charge that could/should very well have been handled by the state?

Custer:  A couple of days ago, I posted a photo of the down’s barricaded parking lot made out of the center two lanes of main street. Well, officially, today is the first day of bike week and the street is full. Now, the town only has 1,800 or so residents and can’t help but think that there are at least that many bikes that line main street. Looks wild and out of control but in reality it is quite peaceful and most of the bikers parked on main street are either shopping for tee shirts or eating.

Photo Op: I forgot to mention that everyone is getting their photo taken beside a Buffalo. There must be at least 30 of them dotting every corner of the town main street. They are painting with all kinds of Indian markings. In Gainesville, Florida they do a similar thing with alligators. They even have some that are standing up and dressed in all kinds of costumes. Go figure.

                                                                Wounded Knee: Don’t really know what I was expecting to see but it was a 111 mile drive each way. I did confirm my observation about seeing the country side from a bike as opposed to from a car. Where as it was nice ride and country was beautiful, there was no sense of being in the country. My first vista was of the gaming casino and hotel at the edge of the reservation. Having no idea what one was like inside, inside I went. It seems as if it was filled with a bunch of geriatric seniors that were almost bored playing the slots. I bought some ones and tried them myself. I could find only one that I could figure out and played for about 20 minutes and left $10 ahead.

Wounded Knee Housing: Once again had no idea of what to expect but it was not what I found. Shortly after leaving the casino, I encountered the worst roads in over 5,000 miles of travel around the US. The houses I encountered along the way were broken down trailers and and what I would call shacks with litter all around. The only good buildings in town were the assorted government structures. This is Appalachian poverty in my mind. I have no idea where all the money is going that the casino is supposed to be generating.

Wounded Knee Memorial:  This totally floored me. Again, don’t know what I expected but it sure was not this. I asked around and was told this was it. There were a couple of bikers and they were just as perplexed as I was that this was all there was. So, I went on line to see if this was all there was. I did find this tomb stone erected in 2003. Go to Wounded Knee Massacre to get some background that is short and concise.

As I was driving home, it occurred to me, why should I have expected anything more. Yes, it was a shameful part of our heritage but to make it invisible not to accept our humanity and history so that maybe we would not have the likes of another My Lai. Then it occurred to me that if a cloak of invisibility could be cast of a massacre, what chance does our 15 year old girl with a baby have?

Notes in relation to nothing. It is now raining have had to move back into my tent to finish this. You know, like back in the day at New Orleans. Wanted to say something about my air mattress, If the Naval Observatory every found out about it, they would exercise eminent domain and confiscate it. Regardless of what time zone, at 0200 every morning it goes flat. I have a choice to blow it up or let it be. I do blow it up because at my age, I am so happy to be able to blow up an air mattress that I do it with great gusto. The last point prior to shower to warm up even if it is raining. Lets ask Ho Tai to bless the bike and service department of the dealership and UPS so that the parts come in, are put on the bike in a timely manner, and I get on the road. Otherwise, I camp out at the dealership till it happens. Guess that it is for now. Know i wish y’all well.

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