NEW TOWN When walkers gather at the east end of the Four Bears Bridge, west of New Town, on Aug. 11 at 8 a.m., it will be for the final honor walk for 5-year-old Keaton Rush.
Keaton suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was 8 months old. A few months later, his mother, Trivian Rush, was killed in a car accident on the east side of the Four Bears Bridge. His grandmother, Glenda "Cookie" Rush, of New Town, has been raising Keaton since.
This year is the fourth and final year for the honor walk, the final year of grieving for Keaton's mother. The four-year grieving is a tradition on the Dakota tribe side of the family to remember someone who has died and gone to the spiritual world, Glenda said.
The walks are also being done to call attention to other children with disabilities so they have as normal a life as possible, said Glenda.
The walk will start at the east end of the bridge the sun rises in the east and proceed west across the bridge to the Little Shell Arbor where the powwow is held. The Little Shell Celebration, an annual powwow, began Thursday and will end on Sunday.
Gary Rush, Keaton's great uncle who is his grandpa in Indian tradition, got the idea to hold an honor walk for Keaton. It developed from there. Gary is an artist who lives in Phoenix and spends summers in New Town.
Gary said the walks across the bridge are symbolic because they have taken them over troubled waters. He said many people have supported Keaton on the walks. He said the walks are like a tool, becoming a way to unite families and people who share special needs children.
The walk on Aug. 11 is open to everyone. Water bottles and T-shirts will be given to participants.