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Pictures | Fri Nov 8, 2019 | 2:05pm EST

Descendant of Wounded Knee commander asks Lakota people for forgiveness

Dena Waloki hugs Bradley Upton (R) on the Cheyenne River reservation in Bridger, South Dakota, November 7, 2019. For the last 50 years, Upton has prayed for forgiveness as he has carried the burden of one of the most horrific events in U.S. history against Native Americans, one that was perpetrated by James Forsyth, his great-great-grandfather.

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Dena Waloki hugs Bradley Upton (R) on the Cheyenne River reservation in Bridger, South Dakota, November 7, 2019. For the last 50 years, Upton has prayed for forgiveness as he has carried the burden of one of the most horrific events in U.S. history...more

Dena Waloki hugs Bradley Upton (R) on the Cheyenne River reservation in Bridger, South Dakota, November 7, 2019. For the last 50 years, Upton has prayed for forgiveness as he has carried the burden of one of the most horrific events in U.S. history against Native Americans, one that was perpetrated by James Forsyth, his great-great-grandfather. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Roderick Dupris, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, speaks to Brad Upton (L) during a meeting on the Cheyenne River reservation. Upton's ancestor Forsyth commanded the 7th Cavalry during the Wounded Knee Massacre on Dec. 29, 1890, when U.S. troops killed more than 250 unarmed Oglala Lakota men, women and children, a piece of family history that has haunted the Colorado man since he was a teenager.

 REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Roderick Dupris, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, speaks to Brad Upton (L) during a meeting on the Cheyenne River reservation. Upton's ancestor Forsyth commanded the 7th Cavalry during the Wounded Knee Massacre on Dec. 29, 1890, when...more

Roderick Dupris, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, speaks to Brad Upton (L) during a meeting on the Cheyenne River reservation. Upton's ancestor Forsyth commanded the 7th Cavalry during the Wounded Knee Massacre on Dec. 29, 1890, when U.S. troops killed more than 250 unarmed Oglala Lakota men, women and children, a piece of family history that has haunted the Colorado man since he was a teenager. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Descendant of the Lakotas killed at the Wounded Knee massacre gather at a community building while a person displays photos of an ancestor. This week Upton, 67, finally got an opportunity to express his contrition and formally apologize for the atrocities carried out by Forsyth to the direct descendants of the victims at their home on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Descendant of the Lakotas killed at the Wounded Knee massacre gather at a community building while a person displays photos of an ancestor. This week Upton, 67, finally got an opportunity to express his contrition and formally apologize for the...more

Descendant of the Lakotas killed at the Wounded Knee massacre gather at a community building while a person displays photos of an ancestor. This week Upton, 67, finally got an opportunity to express his contrition and formally apologize for the atrocities carried out by Forsyth to the direct descendants of the victims at their home on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Brad Upton (2nd L) speaks with Manny Iron Hawk (L), descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, while covered in a ceremonial Lakota star quilt during a meeting. "The response has been unbelievable ... very positive and very touching," Upton said as he wept during a phone interview with Reuters. "Love is divine and forgiveness is divine." The Lakota people "are extraordinary people. They are so wise and beautiful," added the professional musician, who made the nine-hour trip from his home to the reservation.

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Brad Upton (2nd L) speaks with Manny Iron Hawk (L), descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, while covered in a ceremonial Lakota star quilt during a meeting. "The response has been unbelievable ... very positive and very touching," Upton said...more

Brad Upton (2nd L) speaks with Manny Iron Hawk (L), descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, while covered in a ceremonial Lakota star quilt during a meeting. "The response has been unbelievable ... very positive and very touching," Upton said as he wept during a phone interview with Reuters. "Love is divine and forgiveness is divine." The Lakota people "are extraordinary people. They are so wise and beautiful," added the professional musician, who made the nine-hour trip from his home to the reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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A Lakota boy places a sacred staff near a horse's snout during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton on the Cheyenne River reservation. During an event on Wednesday on the reservation, Emanuel Red Bear, a teacher and spiritual advisor, told descendants that they deserve Upton's apology. "Only one man had a conscience enough to come here to ask for forgiveness for what his great grandpa did," he said. "There needs to be more."

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

A Lakota boy places a sacred staff near a horse's snout during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton on the Cheyenne River reservation. During an event on Wednesday on the reservation, Emanuel Red Bear, a teacher and spiritual advisor, told descendants...more

A Lakota boy places a sacred staff near a horse's snout during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton on the Cheyenne River reservation. During an event on Wednesday on the reservation, Emanuel Red Bear, a teacher and spiritual advisor, told descendants that they deserve Upton's apology. "Only one man had a conscience enough to come here to ask for forgiveness for what his great grandpa did," he said. "There needs to be more." REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Lakota riders arrive at the government building where they will meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Lakota riders arrive at the government building where they will meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Lakota riders arrive at the government building where they will meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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A Lakota person rides a horse with a sacred staff during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

A Lakota person rides a horse with a sacred staff during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

A Lakota person rides a horse with a sacred staff during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Dena Waloki gives Brad Upton a gift of a traditional necklace. Upton's journey to forgiveness began when his great uncle sent him photographs of the carnage when he was 16 years old. "I knew immediately that it was wrong," he said. "I felt a deep sadness and shame."

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Dena Waloki gives Brad Upton a gift of a traditional necklace. Upton's journey to forgiveness began when his great uncle sent him photographs of the carnage when he was 16 years old. "I knew immediately that it was wrong," he said. "I felt a deep...more

Dena Waloki gives Brad Upton a gift of a traditional necklace. Upton's journey to forgiveness began when his great uncle sent him photographs of the carnage when he was 16 years old. "I knew immediately that it was wrong," he said. "I felt a deep sadness and shame." REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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8 / 20
Dena Waloki holds the hands of Brad Upton (R). Two years later, Upton became a student of a Buddhist meditation master. "I prayed for the next 50 years for forgiveness and healing for all of the people involved, but particularly because my ancestors caused this massacre, I felt incredible heaviness," he said.

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Dena Waloki holds the hands of Brad Upton (R). Two years later, Upton became a student of a Buddhist meditation master. "I prayed for the next 50 years for forgiveness and healing for all of the people involved, but particularly because my ancestors...more

Dena Waloki holds the hands of Brad Upton (R). Two years later, Upton became a student of a Buddhist meditation master. "I prayed for the next 50 years for forgiveness and healing for all of the people involved, but particularly because my ancestors caused this massacre, I felt incredible heaviness," he said. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Brad Upton (C) shakes the hand of a Lakota woman. Upton believes that the impact of the massacre can be seen throughout his family tree, which has been plagued by alcoholism, abuse and betrayal.

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Brad Upton (C) shakes the hand of a Lakota woman. Upton believes that the impact of the massacre can be seen throughout his family tree, which has been plagued by alcoholism, abuse and betrayal. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Brad Upton (C) shakes the hand of a Lakota woman. Upton believes that the impact of the massacre can be seen throughout his family tree, which has been plagued by alcoholism, abuse and betrayal. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Manny Iron Hawk, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, introduces Brad Upton (L) during a meeting. A year ago, a neighbor's friend got Upton in contact with Basil Brave Heart, a Lakota elder. Brave Heart has worked on similar healing ceremonies and assisted Upton over the following year.

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Manny Iron Hawk, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, introduces Brad Upton (L) during a meeting. A year ago, a neighbor's friend got Upton in contact with Basil Brave Heart, a Lakota elder. Brave Heart has worked on similar healing...more

Manny Iron Hawk, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, introduces Brad Upton (L) during a meeting. A year ago, a neighbor's friend got Upton in contact with Basil Brave Heart, a Lakota elder. Brave Heart has worked on similar healing ceremonies and assisted Upton over the following year. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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11 / 20
Brad Upton (L) listens to a speech while sitting next to Debbie Day, descendant of a Lakota killed at the Wounded Knee massacre. Deeply profound similarities exist between Buddhism and the beliefs of the Lakota people, who pray for "all my relations," Upton said. "Which means all of us have always been completely related. We have always been family, every being in the world has always been related from the beginning of time," he said.

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Brad Upton (L) listens to a speech while sitting next to Debbie Day, descendant of a Lakota killed at the Wounded Knee massacre. Deeply profound similarities exist between Buddhism and the beliefs of the Lakota people, who pray for "all my...more

Brad Upton (L) listens to a speech while sitting next to Debbie Day, descendant of a Lakota killed at the Wounded Knee massacre. Deeply profound similarities exist between Buddhism and the beliefs of the Lakota people, who pray for "all my relations," Upton said. "Which means all of us have always been completely related. We have always been family, every being in the world has always been related from the beginning of time," he said. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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12 / 20
Descendant of the Lakotas killed at the Wounded Knee massacre gather at a community building on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Descendant of the Lakotas killed at the Wounded Knee massacre gather at a community building on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Descendant of the Lakotas killed at the Wounded Knee massacre gather at a community building on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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13 / 20
Manny Iron Hawk, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, is photographed on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Manny Iron Hawk, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, is photographed on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Manny Iron Hawk, descendant of a Lakota killed at Wounded Knee, is photographed on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Paul Sideman (L) stands with a trickle of blood on his arm after a flesh-taking ceremony while Brad Upton (C) shakes the hand of Lakota people during a meeting. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Paul Sideman (L) stands with a trickle of blood on his arm after a flesh-taking ceremony while Brad Upton (C) shakes the hand of Lakota people during a meeting. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Paul Sideman (L) stands with a trickle of blood on his arm after a flesh-taking ceremony while Brad Upton (C) shakes the hand of Lakota people during a meeting. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Brad Upton (R) looks at photos of Lakota ancestors on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Brad Upton (R) looks at photos of Lakota ancestors on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Brad Upton (R) looks at photos of Lakota ancestors on the Cheyenne River reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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A Lakota person rides a horse with a sacred staff during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

A Lakota person rides a horse with a sacred staff during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

A Lakota person rides a horse with a sacred staff during a horse ride to meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Lakota riders arrive at the government building where they will meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Lakota riders arrive at the government building where they will meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Lakota riders arrive at the government building where they will meet Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Brad Upton (L) gives a hug to Roderick Dupris' horse. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Brad Upton (L) gives a hug to Roderick Dupris' horse. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Brad Upton (L) gives a hug to Roderick Dupris' horse. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Roderick Dupris (with horse) speaks to Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Roderick Dupris (with horse) speaks to Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Roderick Dupris (with horse) speaks to Brad Upton. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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