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A Healing Room for Native ceremonies

RAPID CITY – A Healing Room is now available to patients, visitors, physicians and caregivers at Monument Health’s main hospital in Rapid City. It is located in the new Fifth Street entrance which opened its doors to the public last month.

The circular room is around 250 square feet and can accommodate groups fewer than 10 people, but, during the COVID-19 pandemic, groups are recommended to limit at 7 people.

“The room has special HVAC capabilities meant to accommodate smudging ceremonies,” said Dave Ellenbecker, Vice President of Facilities Management and Plant Operations. “Additionally, it is built with thick concrete walls to allow for special sound proofing, should a ceremony require music or drum playing.”

Comprising of key Monument Health leaders and members of an architecture firm, the design team consulted with Dr. Craig Howe to “develop a room welcoming to all but would have key attributes holding special meaning to Native Americans,” said Ellenbecker.

In the past, Native American patients have requested smudging ceremonies while admitted and Monument Health’s facility team would deactivate smoke alarms in patient rooms for the length of the ceremonies.

“Historically, Rapid City Hospital’s patient population has been comprised of nearly 30 percent Native Americans,” continued Ellenbecker. “Our Healing Room offers an environment built to accommodate the smudging ceremonies and also allows for more room than our typical patient room. This room is open to everyone to have a quiet moment of meditation, however, we built this room to be particularly welcoming to our Native American patients and families.”

A virtual tour of Monument Health’s Fifth Street entrance which includes the Healing Room can be viewed at


(Contact Travis at

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