Bring Home the Children Ride

Grounded in ceremony and prayer, the purpose of the Bring Home the Children Ride is to bring awareness and commemoration to the children, youth and families involved in the child welfare system.

The Ride began in 2008 and QBOW hosted the Ride in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and will again in 2022. The Ride is held in August of each year.

 

The goals of the Ride are:
  • To deepen awareness of the impacts of historic traumas and the systematic oppression that have led to disconnection with First Nations families and communities.
  • To use culture and the horse national to support intergenerational healing.
  • To foster changes that support both decolonization and reconciliation.
The Ride is aligned with QBOW’s strategic priority of cultural reinforcement. Ride objectives include:
  • Offer prayers and hold ceremonies to support healing and the release of trauma, anger and pain.
  • Seek guidance and comfort from the Horse Nation – allow them to remind us of who we are and how to live in balance.
  • Create opportunities for Indigenous people, particularly children and youth, to strengthen cultural identity.
  • Publicly acknowledge survivors of the Residential Schools, the 60’s Scoop and the child welfare system by giving voice to historical facts and events as well as personal stories and experiences.
  • Provide culturally safe opportunities for individuals to develop self-awareness and a deeper understanding of who they are.
  • Strengthen and re-instill confidence and faith in our traditional ways.
  • Focus on repatriation and work to bring displaced children back to their home communities.
  • Work together to create programs, services and systems that are rooted in culture and responsive to our preferences and methods.
Some of the cultural and ceremonial aspects of the Ride include:
  • Ceremony with mentors to pray and sweat together
  • Horse Dance
  • Daily Pipe Ceremonies
  • Sweats
  • Sacred Songs
  • Feasts & Give Aways
  • Making Relatives Ceremony
  • Naming Ceremony
  • Wiping of the Tears Ceremony
  • Entering Communities on Horseback
The Ride goals and objectives revolve around Mind, Body, Spirit and Emotions.:

MIND

  • Community engagement
  • Welcome the Children Home – Community Day in August
  • Awareness of home/culture
  • Life cycle
  • Adopt positive changes
  • Honouring kinship
  • Memorial/Victory – Song
  • Reuniting families
  • Languages – Cree, Dakota, Lakota

SPIRIT

  • Grounded in Prayers/Ceremony
  • Cultural identity/horse spirit
  • Horse songs
  • Eagle staff
  • Healing children and families
  • Horse – Masinasowatim (big dod), Sunkawaichn (spirit dog)

BODY

  • Sacrifice on the back of a horse
  • Life lessons of a horse
  • Horse carries prayers and messages
  • Comfort and guidance from horse
  • Ride horses into each community
  • Bring displaced children home

EMOTIONS

  • Children in care
  • Intergenerational healing
  • Grieving
  • Lost children
  • Wiping children’s tears
  • Historical trauma/anger/hate/pain
  • Oppression

2021 Bring Home the Children Ride

The 2021 Ride was held August 19 to August 26th. Various portions of the Ride, and the opening and closing ceremonies were filmed and posted on the Ride Facebook page. COVID-19 community guidelines and restrictions were in place.

Ride Facebook Page

2021 Ride Itinerary
  • August 19: Opening Ceremony and Rider Commitment Ceremony – Camp at Birchwood Stables
  • August 20: Ride from Standing Buffalo to HWY 210 – Camp at Birchwood Stables
  • August 21: Ride from HWY 6 to Piapot – Camp at Birchwood Stables
  • August 22: Rest Day – Camp at Wood Mountain Park
  • August 23: Ride from HWY 358 to Wood Mountain Park
  • August 24: Rest Day – Camp at Rivers North Ranch
  • August 25: Ride from HWY 11 to Beardy’s & Okemasis – Camp at Rivers North Ranch
  • August 26: Ride from Acord Road to Wahpeton &Closing Ceremony – Camp at Rivers North Ranch

At each stop, community members had an opportunity to honour and celebrate the gift of children, youth and families within the community, while the horses and Riders carried the prayers forward, on this meaningful journey.

2020 Bring Home the Children Ride

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Ride was held virtually. From August 3-6 a small group of QBOW staff and Ride organizers gathered in an off-reserve location to hold daily prayers, ceremonies, and trail rides to honour the purpose, spirit and commitment of the Ride. Because our members were unable to participate in person, the four days of prayer engaged our communities through Facebook.

Videos, photos and an overview of the Ride were showcased on Facebook, and viewers were invited to share their support and prayers on the page. Short daily videos were live streamed so that the communities could follow along on the four-day ride virtually.

2019 Bring Home the Children Ride

“The Long Ride Home” Documentary

The 2019 Ride was documented by Director Steve Haining. The Film has received rave reviews and was selected to participate in numerous film festivals around the world including:

  • Toronto Beaches Film Festival, August 2020
  • VOX Popular Media Arts Festival, Thunder Bay, July 2020
  • Best Documentary in the ARFF Paris International Film Festival (finalist), July 2020
  • Native Spirit Film Festival (UK and USA), July 2020
  • Weengushk International Film Festival (Ontario), July 2020
  • Russia’s International Documentary Film Festival (finalist), November 2020
  • Yorkton Film Festival (finalist), June 2020
  • Semi-Finalist in the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, February 2020
  • Finalist in the Asian Cinematography awards for “Best Cinematography in a feature film”, February 2020
  • Virgin Spring Cinefest Gold award and Best Documentary, January 2020
  • Best Feature Documentary 2019 Winner Beyond Earth Film Festival in India, December 2019
  • Finalist in the Canadian Cinematography Awards, December 2019