An Inconvenient Truth: 
The Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands

Today, the facility known as Sioux San IHS Hospital rests on a vista overlooking Rapid City. That campus rests on part of a 1,200-acre parcel of land that belonged to the Rapid City Indian Boarding School. Here, you will find articles about the research that has been done so far about the history of these lands, the affect that history has on our community, and updates on new research and developments as they unfold. Please share this link with your friends and family as we continue to educate ourselves about our important history.

The Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands: Where Did It All Go?

by Heather Dawn Thompson

The original Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands spanned 1,200 acres from what is now Mt View Rd to Canyon Lake Park. This article explains how ownership of this land changed hands piece by piece, over the years, in a series of special legislations.

Rapid City Churches: Nearly 200 Acres Purchased “For Religious Purposes”

This article delves into the details of the portions of the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands that were purchased by churches: how much they bought the land for and who owns the land today. It also provides a market analysis that gives some insight into the value of the land then, and now.

The History of Sioux Sanitarium as a Segregated Tuberculosis Clinic

After the closure of Rapid City Indian Boarding School, the building was converted into a segregated tuberculosis sanitarium for Native Americans that operated from 1939-1960. Read this article to learn more about the experiences and isolation of the patients treated there.

 

West Middle School & Sioux Addition Housing

This article describes the history of the relationship between Native American people and this area (Rapid City and Black Hills), some of the various reasons why Native American families originally moved to Rapid City, and why the housing available to them here up until the early 1950’s was largely unacceptable. Learn about the solution crafted to address that housing issue by Rapid City’s government at the time, which resulted in the building of West Middle School and creation of the Sioux Addition housing subdivision. Read this article to learn how confusion over the structure of that particular land deal still affects our community to this day.

 

Children Who Passed Away at the Rapid City Indian Boarding School

Dozens of children passed away after being removed from their homes to attend the Rapid City Indian Boarding School. Many died while at school. Most died from diseases to which they had little immunity, others froze to death while attempting to escape the school in the harsh South Dakota winter.

The school did not keep complete records of the deceased, and many of the records were rendered illegible by the passage of time. This list is far from complete or fully accurate. 

Winyan – The Women: Decades of Rejected Efforts by the Native American Community to Utilize the RCIS Lands

This article describes decades of efforts by Native American community leaders and organizations to gain access and use the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands for one of the original purposes outlined in the Act of 1948: providing services to “needy Indians.” All their requests were denied, which has contributed to a deep sense of frustration in members of Rapid City’s Native American community that is as yet unresolved.

Exclusive Video from Rapid City Indian Board Schools Forum

We are grateful to KOLC-TV for posting the full video from our forum on the Rapid City Indian Boarding School and how the history of the land in west Rapid City helped shape our community as we know it today.

Life at the Rapid City Indian Boarding School

Find out how the Rapid City Indian Boarding School came to be and how it changed throughout the decades it was open. This article also details the U.S. government’s motivation behind creating boarding schools like this one. Find out who the students were, where they came from, and the story of what life was like for the children who lived there.