PREVIEW: History of Hiawatha


CANTON, S.D. (KELO) — The U.S. Department of Interior has launched an investigation into the history of Indian boarding schools and will be looking for unmarked graves at the sites of those schools across the country.

In South Dakota, it wasn’t just the boarding schools where atrocities against Native Americans took place. The state was also home to the nation’s only Indian insane asylum for more than three decades.

Hiawatha was located in Canton. Today, there is a golf course on the grounds and the bodies of Native Americans who were tortured and left to die in the institution are buried smack dab in the middle of it.

“Most people were sent there because they angered a reservation agent, or they were bad in boarding school. It was the threat behind the boarding schools. Most of the people who were sent there were under age 20.” Anne Dilenschneider, keeper of Hiawatha Story said.

Nobody made it out alive.

KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke investigates the threat behind the boarding schools and how new technology is revealing there may be even more bodies here tonight on KELOLAND News at 10 p.m.

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