A New Year’s Day tradition continues

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Dedicated walkers were encouraged to walk for sobriety during the inclement weather. In the photo (left to right): Morgan Blue, Adriano Buckskin, Cindy Winder, Natahnee Winder, Fionne Cuch and Tanaya Winder.
The youngest of the walkers, and most energetic, Sinaav Larry holds the staff of his late grandfather, Saa-swanis Hiswaqs (Robert) Buckskin.
Participants of the Buckskin Family’s annual “Spiritual Walk for Alcohol Free American Indian Communities” walk on County Road 321 on the morning of Jan. 1, 2000. Each year since 1990, a mile was added, making the walk a 20-mile trek on the Y2K New Year’s morning.
Mother Nature greeted about 15 walkers who braved the minus 20-degree weather to bring in the New Year for the “Saa-swanis Hiswaqs” Memorial New Year's Sobriety Walk on Jan. 1, 2011. Ooclu Buckskin takes a short break during the 10-mile route on County Road 172 with daughter Mamakwa.
Brandon Bigleggins and Takota Armstrong stand with the staff of Robert Buckskin on the annual walk. The 10-mile route ended with a prayer at the Ouray Memorial Cemetery for the New Year.
Jenny Gummersall | SU Drum Archives
Robert L. Ortiz | SU Drum
Jenny Gummersall | SU Drum Archive
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
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Spanning decades, the New Year’s Sobriety Walk became a tradition. First started by Saa-swanis Hiswaqs (Robert) Buckskin in 1990, and although the winter months proved to be treacherous with frigid temperatures, walkers still made the trek. Upon the passing of Robert Buckskin in 2005, the walk continued in his honor, with various family members, friends and supporters picking up the tradition and continuing to bring in the new year in a good way.

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