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Plans for ‘Remembering the Children’ Memorial Park released

Linde Miller holds a sign for one of the unknown students who passed away at the Rapid City Indian Boarding School during the memorial walk on Native American Day

RAPID CITY – Plans for a memorial which will honor the students of the Rapid City Indian Boarding School were unveiled during the third annual Native American Day walk that remembers the children who died at the school. The memorial will be named Remembering the Children and the plans can be viewed at along with the names of attendants of the school, correspondence of school administration, and the names of the children who passed away during attendance.

The memorial, which will be placed on land between West Middle School and the Canyon Lake Methodist Church, is going to feature a long walking path, sweat lodges, and a large medicine wheel.

Grave sites remembering the more than 50 children who died at the school will be marked with decorative burial scaffolds and individual rocks will be engraved with their names.

The landscaping for the memorial park will “entail reintroducing traditional foods and medicine throughout the memorial including covering the hill,” says Remembering the Children’s website. “So that the land provides prayer and nourishment available for all. The hope is to cultivate indigenous plants such as chokecherries, buffalo berries, currants, wild plums, timpsila, sage, mullein, bergamot, yarrow, prairie rose, and cheyaka, etc.”

Along with indigenous plants in the landscape, a cook shack will be included in the park because “providing food as both an offering to the ancestors and to nourish your community is an essential component of the Oceti Sakowin culture.” The cook shack is the most expensive part of the plans and costs around $150,000.

“This memorial and its design has been a collaborative process over many years,” says Remembering the Children’s website. “Input was gathered for the memorial from the families of the deceased, descendants of the survivors, THPOs, community members, tribal leaders, elders, and spiritual advisers for this simple and beautiful design. Guidance about scaffolds presented by Wilmer Mesteth before he passed was also incorporated. Each completed step in the design has been presented to spiritual leader Richard Moves Camp for final approval.”

The website also encourages people to donate to the needs of “the approximately $2 million budget for the creation of this beautiful and historic memorial.” Donations can be made through the Black Hills Area Community Foundation website.

The Rapid City Indian Boarding School operated from 1898 to 1933 and consisted of more than 1,000 acres of western Rapid City. The Remembering the Children memorial will be placed on about 5 acres that is still held in trust by the federal government for the Oglala, Rosebud, and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes.

Resolutions from the Oglala, Rosebud, and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes have been signed and they can be read on the memorial’s website as well.

(Contact Travis at



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