RAPID CITY, S.D. — Every year on Native American Day, a memorial walk is held to remember the children who died while at the Rapid City Indian Boarding School.
It usually starts at Sioux Park and ends the Oyate Health Center, but not this year. They walked to the new site of a memorial to honor those children.
One way to honor those children who lost their lives at the boarding school is by making signs with the names of those who lost their lives.
“In this pile of signs right here, that you will see later, they have names,” said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender. “The tribal affiliation or where they came from, their age and the date of their death. I think this is a day of sadness, I think also though that this could be a day of happiness. I am happy because we are all here today, all of us are here today to honor these children.”
The site for the memorial will be in an open field behind the West Middle School and Canyon Lake Methodist Church. The memorial will keep the memory of those who died alive, and teach Native American children of this generation about a tragic past event.
“It’s really important to our youth in the sense that you know this activity today will probably, you know, hopefully send a message to our youth,” said Violet Catches Holy, an ancestor to Mable Holy who died at the boarding school. “Telling them, you know what, this is actually a way to decolonize. Decolonize is not a bad thing, its’ actually to let go of some things.”
The memorial will cost $2 million to complete and the project has already received donations to reach that goal. The memorial project has been in the works for many years and the Native American community is relieved to finally break ground on the memorial.