Pine Ridge School Maȟpíya Lúta prepares for a major expansion

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 12:11 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - At the end of July it was announced that Red Cloud Indian School would be renamed to Maȟpíya Lúta. On Thursday, the school’s Heritage Center is one step closer to its new vision after a ground blessing honoring an upcoming expansion.

The decision to change the name of Red Cloud Indian School was made as a way to reflect the Lakota culture as well as phase out outdated language. The new name Maȟpíya Lúta is Chief Red Cloud’s name in Lakota and more accurately reflects the Lakota people who use the school and Heritage Center. The name change isn’t just symbolic either, it marks the beginning of an expansion project for the school.

“This day is very historical in the sense that here is a building that’s been that was conceived for and by and with the community so that’s very interesting,” said Jhon Goes In Center, a local artist and organizer.

The upcoming expansion will include community and events areas, interactive language spaces, and a dedicated space for their annual art gallery. Goes In Center says having a dedicated space for art will help spotlight their program.

“As opposed to just makeshift now we got a full effort which I think is going to actually establish prominence in the world of art for native people, so that’s kinda what I see and feel about this,” said Goes In Center

He also says the expansion marks the beginning of a new vision for the Heritage Center.

“You know this is one of the institutions that sort of suppressed our culture but here it is they’re evolving into a place where they’re actually preserving culture and preserving languages,” said Goes In Center.

The building is set to start construction early next year and is scheduled to be completed in 2025.