Native-owned and operated Tatanka Rez Tourz is based on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. Explore Lakota (Sioux) country and delve deep into the rich Lakota culture and history, while enjoying the area’s breathtaking vistas. When you visit Lakota Indian Country on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Allen, South Dakota, father- daughter team Warren and Tianna Yellowhair are dedicated to giving visitors more than just a tour, but a life changing experience. “We Started with the ideal of Providing the Visitors whom come to the Reservation to learn a better perspective from the local Lakota people. we have put this into reality, and we are here to service our visitors with a heartfelt handshake, humor and expertise on our past and current living situations.”
Tatanka Rez Tourz offers guided tours throughout the entire Pine Ridge Reservation, it is not a tour site destination, but an opportunity to provide learning experiences for those who travel to learn about the language, culture and history of the Lakota people. They will often bring in presenters and artists from the community to give their visitors multiple perspectives and to help promote their Lakota brothers and sisters. The tour begins with a formal introduction about who the tour guides are, who their parents and who their grandparents are. They do this to make connections with their visitors, to see if they are related and to pay homage to their ancestors.
All visits are tailored to meet the standards of their audiences whether that means song and dance, arts and crafts for kids or speaking about the political system and governance of the Pine Ridge Reservation (treaties, laws and justice system, health care).
Based on visitor interests the tour guide will select important places on the reservation to visit, like the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce, Oglala Lakota College Campus Historical Center, which lends historical resources and visuals to the events preceding the Wounded Knee Massacre, an important part of their history.
The massacre took place in 1890 as one of the final chapters of America’s long Indian wars. The U.S Cavalry killed approximately 150 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee. Preceding the massacre, the U.S. government worried about the increasing influence at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement. Frightened by the Dance, the BIA asked for troops in case of violence. On December 29, 1890, the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers and a brutal massacre followed.
One of the main events of the tour is a visit to Wounded Knee. The tour guides take visitors to an overlook where they do a ceremony to honor the people that lost their lives the day of the massacre. They sing songs during the ceremony because although there is a lot of sadness there, then they rejoice in the fact that they can share their history and honor their fallen ancestors with the public.