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The Ride
by Kathryn Loggins

Documentary by Stephanie  Gillard

This documentary is a visually stunning look at a 300-mile  horseback ride through South Dakota that members of the Native American Lakota  Sioux tribe make every year. They take this grueling journey in December, often  in very harsh conditions, to remember and honor their ancestors, who fled on  this same route, but were intercepted and massacred at Wounded Knee. The annual  journey is an honorable and sacred tradition for the Lakota Sioux and is  supposed to be a journey of remembrance, healing and forgiveness. Many young  Sioux are encouraged to go on the journey in order to understand their  ancestor's past and rich culture.

A part of this culture is the bond between man and nature,  but also between horse and rider. The relationship between horse and rider is a  spiritual one and is taken very seriously. We also get to experience the  deepness of the tribe's spirituality and culture through drum-circles and  traditional songs. The intimacy that develops between the riders throughout the  journey is as compelling as it is beautiful. It's a film that really tugs at  your heartstrings and makes you feel like you're riding along with the tribe.

Stephanie  Gillard explains in an interview  that she has developed her relationship with the Sioux tribe over many years,  taking the ride herself on several occasions before making the documentary.  "They have become my second family", she says, and the film does feel  like the audience is given permission to observe some sacred ritual usually  granted to only a select few. Visually somewhat raw, but completely  breathtaking and engaging, The Ride is an important exploration of history, humanity, honor and what it means to find oneself.