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Memorial Walk For Children

Chynna Lockett

In The Moment ... October 3. 2018 Show 435 Hour 1

The Mayor of Rapid City has proclaimed this year’s Native American day as “The Day of the Grandmothers.” MOA is helping host the Memorial Walk on Monday, October 8 at 9 a.m.

Karen Mortimer and Heather Dawn Thompson joined In The Moment for a preview of the Memorial Walk for the children of the Rapid City Indian Boarding School.

This coming Monday a Memorial Walk to Honor 45 children who died at the Rapid City Indian Boarding School will take place on the city’s west side.

All are welcome to honor the children who attended and who passed away at the facility.

The Rapid City Indian Boarding School was open from 1898 to 1933, and part of a federal government policy of forced assimilation for native children.

The building is now an Indian Health Service hospital.

Heather Dawn Thompson is with the Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassador’s group. Thompson’s working on identifying those who died at the school. So far, about 45 have been identified, two of which were infants.

She says children who passed away at the school were noted as “no longer being enrolled.”

“Many families were never notified, their children simply never came back,” Thompson says. “There are a handful of graves that are market at the Mountain View Cemetery here in Rapid City, but that’s only nine of the children. We know that some of the children did make it home, their families were notified on time and they are buried back at home. But there’s a pretty significant portion that are most likely buried in unmarked graves near the school.”

Thompson says more than the 45 being honored died at the school.

She the frustrating part about documenting the children who died is how unimportant it was to the federal government.

In addition to the Memorial Walk, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender has proclaimed this year’s Native American day as “The Day of the Grandmothers.”

The walk takes place Monday morning at 9 a.m. The walk starts at Sioux Park and makes its way to the Sioux San hospital.

Chris is a producer for In the Moment.