CHARLES MIX COUNTY, SD (KELO) — Nine Native American children who died at a boarding school hundreds of miles away have finally been returned to South Dakota. They were from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania more than 100 years ago.

A group accompanied their remains back to Rosebud tribal land, making a stop on Yankton Sioux tribal land on Friday. A caravan with the children’s remains arrived at this stop with roars of motorcycles to a spot behind the Fort Randall Casino & Hotel just east of the shores of the Missouri River. A ceremony marked the occasion.

“It was a relief, and it’s sad that it took so long to bring our children home,” Rosebud Sioux Tribe member Malorie Arrow said.

Arrow, Christopher Eagle Bear and Asia Black Bull are all members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in their early 20s. Each made the trip from Pennsylvania back to South Dakota.

“These kids are family,” Eagle Bear said. “As Lakota, that word right there means the people, it means love. We extend our hand out to one another.”

“This is just one small victory for us, and everyone’s celebrating, everyone’s coming out,” Black Bull said. “So that’s one important takeaway, is don’t give up.”

“Today it just feels really surreal to have as much supporters as we have on our way back from Carlisle,” Arrow said. “We’ve stopped multiple places, multiple reservations, and they’ve welcomed us, said prayers for us, fed us, and yeah it’s just really surreal to finally have them come home.”

There is a distinct connection between 2021 and the past that isn’t that distant.

“It makes me really, really honored to be Lakota,” Black Bull said. “It makes me honored to be able to grow up in this way of life.”

This isn’t the end of the journey, either.

“This is just the beginning,” Arrow said. “We have so many relatives buried at the Carlisle and at other schools that we need to be bringing home, as well as other tribes that need to bring their relatives home.”

“This is just the first stepping stone in trying to uncover America’s history so that we can move forward as a better nation,” Eagle Bear said. “Not just as Lakota people but as the American nation, too.”

“Those are our relatives, and they deserve to be home,” Black Bull said.

Those taken from the Rosebud Sioux: Lucy Take the Tail (Pretty Eagle)Rose Long Face (Little Hawk); Ernest Knocks Off (White Thunder); Dennis Strikes First (Blue Tomahawk); Maud Little Girl (Swift Bear)Friend Hollow Horn Bear; Warren Painter (Bear Paints Dirt); Alvan (Kills Seven Horses)Dora Her Pipe (Brave Bull).