Sious Falls, SD
South Dakota's newest state park has officially opened its visitor center to the public.
The story behind Good Earth State Park is just as beautiful as the scenery.
The park was once a major trading area for Native Americans. 200 years ago, people were believed to have come to the land to exchange cookware, fur, and other objects.
Omaha tribal leader Calvin Harlan remembers hearing the stories passed down from his ancestors about the so called "Good Earth."
"They talked about an area to the north where there was trading. Where people lived together. It was a spiritual connection. There were no wars and no squabbles,” Harlan said.
"Future generations will be able to walk among nature as the people before them did. They'll know the story of this place. This good earth,” Governor Dennis Daugaard said.
This project has been 40 years in the making.
Today, state and park officials, tribal leaders, and community members gathered to dedicate Good Earth State Parks' 5 million dollar visitor center. The center features an interactive exhibit highlighting Oneota culture.
"We're going to be preserved and protected for years and decades to come. It's a really good feeling of contentment for me,” Harlan said.
When people come to take in the sights of Good Earth, Harlan hopes they leave with this in mind.
"Knowing it's more than a park. It's a lifestyle that's been showcased. It's a part of Native history,” Harlan said.
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