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The impact the Rapid City Indian Boarding School still leaves on Native Americans nowadays

A volunteer of the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Research team brings books to the meeting...
A volunteer of the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Research team brings books to the meeting at Joy Center in Spearfish. (KOTA TV) (KOTA)
Published: Oct. 18, 2019 at 10:18 PM CDT
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Rapid City Indian Boarding School left an impact on Native Americans for generations and explains some of the issues that affect the community now.

Volunteers from the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Research team visited Black Hills State University to explain the hardships Native Americans face from the past. Specifically, the Rapid City Indian Boarding School which is now present day the Sioux San Hospital.

Groups like the National Guard, schools, city agencies and religious organizations gained access to the 1,200 acres of boarding school land and used it to their advantage.

A researcher points out the difference of what land was left to the Native Americans.

Heather Dawn Thompson said many city entities ended up taking West Rapid land for free, what she calls the more "beautiful" land.

Meanwhile, Native Americans were pushed further away to land that lacked water and other resources.

She said bringing up this history again helps the young generation understand why Natives struggle with low self-esteem and alcohol abuse.

"I think the thing that surprises us as a team is the young people's interest. Not only because they want to prevent something like this from happening. But they also see the negative repercussions of the boarding school era. But didn't know what had caused it," Thompson said.

Thompson noticed that students in this day and age feel they have some control in bridging relations now and in the future.