The community marched for the indigenous children’s lives lost at the Indian boarding school

As we celebrate Native American lives today, we also remember and honor the indigenous children whose lives were lost at the Rapid City Indian Boarding School.
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:01 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Rapid City Indian Boarding School opened in 1898, along with several others around the state, to take and assimilate Native American children. The boarding school closed in 1933 but not before lives were lost.

Researchers found the remains of more than 50 children who died while attending, traveling to, or trying to escape the school. But the research isn’t finished, more remains are still waiting to be identified and there may be remains yet to be found.

To honor the short lives lost, the community came together, on Indigenous people’s Day, to walk and pray for those children.

“It just means that more people are willing to be part of the truth and reconciliation process and a part of the healing process that we need to happen here in Rapid City,” said Lafawn Janis, a team member of Rapid City Indian Board School Lands Project.

The walk began at Sioux Park and ended at Canyon Lake United Methodist Church, where a memorial for the victims of the Indian boarding school will be built.

The Rapid City Indian Children’s Boarding School Memorial is designed to have paths lined with stones that display each child’s name leading to the top of the hill. The design allows the addition of more names as victims are identified.

A sculpture will also be installed at the memorial, of a Tiwahe (the family), each facing the opposite direction.

“In the center is a domed area that will be perforated with a star for each child lost and within is a light that will emanate through the stars and lift the spirits back up to the stars. It’s believed that when children are born they come from the stars so it seems like a very appropriate thing to do,” said Dale Lamphere, the sculptor of ‘Remembering the Children’.

The prototype of the sculpture was exhibited after the walk, where people paid their respects and prayed for the children. Many of those speakers are boarding school survivors and descendants.

“When we find families, it’s important to know that their family members are not forgotten and that we’ll always remember them. We know it’s painful for them to share their stories so we’re really grateful when they do, and it’s really an honor for us to be in the presence as we’re all descendants of boarding school survivors,” said Janis.

This was the fourth annual Remembering The Children Memorial Walk.

Copyright 2021 KEVN. All rights reserved.