As part of the observance of Native American Day, hundreds took part in a memorial walk to remember the Native children who died at the boarding school in Rapid City a century ago.
Snow fell as the group made its way from Sioux Park in Rapid City to the grounds of Sioux San Hospital. Drums led the procession, and members carried prayer bundles. Others carried signs with the names of the children who died at the school more than a hundred years ago.
Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender proclaimed Monday the “Day of the Grandmothers.” He said the Indian Boarding School is a difficult piece of history to address, considering the children who suffered. At the hospital, Sydney Has No Horses led a prayer service.
“Releasing the spirits in one of these sacred rituals that was given to us. So, today we pray for the spirits of the children that went to school here and some of the children that lost their lives here,” Has No Horses said.
Some people came a long way to take part. Zachory McLaughlin came from North Dakota to join his South Dakota relatives.
“It’s a big significance for me because it’s a big part of my culture and my ancestry. It’s a way to keep my culture alive to keep everything my ancestors went through. everything they died for, to keep that alive for them,” McLaughlin said.
The Rapid City Indian School was in operation from 1898 to 1933. Some of its facilities were converted to what is now known as Sioux San Hospital.