The sun had just begun to rise on Wednesday when Native American community members from around Siouxland gathered at the foot of the War Eagle Monument to begin the Memorial March to Honor Lost Children.
Michael Wanbdigdeska O’Connor has been participating in the march for years because he has seen the impacts of the event.
“I invest my time in these cooperations,” O’Connor said. “These walks, over time, have decreased the division that exists among everybody.”
Frank LaMere was one of the founders of the march. He hopes it can raise awareness of Native American issues.
“We come here to unify,” LaMere said. “We come here to give voice to our children and families that are sometimes ignored in the system.”
For many participating, the march is about working together and recovery.
“This has led to cooperation, it’s led to reconciliation, it’s led to healing,” said O’Connor. “And we see that, we see those cooperations as medicine.”
O’Connor says he will walk every year to continue bridging the gap between where his community is, and where he wants it to be.
“It’s thinking about the people who have suffered and the people ones who will continue to suffer unless this things not only continue to happen but more people come,” he said. “Because we know when people come they are changed for the better.”