CAIRNS at St. Andrews Episcopal Church

Early this morning the CAIRNS director traveled from our office in Lacreek District of Pine Ridge Reservation to St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Rapid City, which is located within the lands of what was originally the Rapid City Indian School and then later Sioux Sanitorium. The church was one of a number of churches that benefited from a 1948 Act by the U.S. Congress. That Act enabled the Secretary of the Interior to “convey without compensation” any of the Sioux Sanatorium lands "to the city of Rapid City for municipal purposes, or to any public-school district for educational purposes, or to the State of South Dakota for use by the South Dakota National Guard.” In addition, the Act stipulated that the “Secretary may also in his descretion convey to any church organization for religious purposes, upon receipt of the reasonable value of such lands, any of such lands not conveyed for any of the purposes above named.” These four named entities—Rapid City, the city’s public school district, the State of South Dakota, and church organizations—were and continue to be beneficiaries of this Act. A fifth named “entity” did not benefit from this Act. That entity was “needy Indians.” This morning’s discussion touched on this Act as well as the current Remember the Children art project that seeks to commemorate American Indian children who attended the school. The mostly secret project is privately funded and the commissioned sculptor is the South Dakota Artist Laureate, a non-tribal citizen. No other artists, American Indian or non-Indian, were allowed to compete for the project. Again, even today, the only people not benefiting from the Sioux Indian lands are American Indians.