RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — In honor of Native American’s Day, people are walking for the children who died while attending the Rapid City Indian Boarding School nearly 100 years ago.
Starting at Sioux Park, folks gather to listen to speakers, including Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender. He presented a proclamation declaring today as The Day of the Grandmothers.
“Now the best time to honor the children was a hundred years ago but the second-best time was 3 years ago when this event started. I’m very proud of the people who worked together to put this event together and to make this the third year in a row and I hope this event is going on a hundred years from now,” Mayor Allender said.
The speeches are followed by a walk to the location of unmarked graves of children who died at the Indian Boarding School. Lafawn Jenis coordinated today’s event.
“The boarding school was in existence from 1898 to 1933 and was almost erased from our Rapid City history. And to-date we found almost 50 children who died while attending there,” Jenis said.
Violet Catches is a relative of Mabel Holy, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe who was just 18-years-old when she died at the Boarding School.
“It’s a healing process and it’s a way of re-thinking and really looking at our past and present. So what are we going to bring to the future,” Catches said.
All this land you see around me is where the Remember the Children Memorial, created by Travis Hardin and Dale Lamphere, will stand.
It will be a permanent reminder of what happened at the Rapid City Indian Boarding School, and a memorial for all of the young people who lost their lives.
You can check out the Remembering the Children website here.