An invitation to the community of Rapid City

We invite you to learn about the history and the story of the Sioux San Lands, 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. This effort to share this compelling and well-researched history is putting the facts into the hands of our whole community as we work toward increased understanding and respect.

As a community of learners and as citizens, the Mnilizahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors (“Rapid City Circle of Friends” - MOA) and the Mayor of Rapid City have partnered to carefully unfold this valuable information.

We believe by bringing the history and the facts forward, it will provide common knowledge for us to create a well-informed dialogue for difficult conversations, offering a path toward healing, truth, and bringing out the very best in our community.

For the ambassadors of Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi, relationships matter. So too does history. From the very start of our work to bridge cultures between Native and non-Native people in the Black Hills region, we have stood together, on equal footing, to find understanding amidst a complex and storied history, discover commonalities within our differences, set a positive and productive tone for hard conversations, and celebrate who we are as a culturally rich community.

Ambassadors share amongst one another a desire—and personal responsibility—to live by example so that systemic change through leadership can take root in our community.

The history of our community didn’t end in 1868 or 1900 or 1940. We are creating history with our actions still today. MOA recognizes that there are travesties that have happened to Native American people in our community more than a century ago, and in recent years. We acknowledge that history is important and relevant to finding understanding.

Together with the Mayor, the Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors seek to set a tone in our community about how to establish and strengthen relationships in the Black Hills region. It is a tone of peace when working through conflicts, a tone of respectful curiosity when seeking understanding, and a tone of celebration for that which makes us different as people—and unlike any other community in the nation.

We are proud to call Rapid City, and the Black Hills, our home. Some of us grew up here, others chose to move here, and all of us live here today. Doing something—anything—to make our community better gives us energy.

By participating in broader conversations about the issues that impact our community we can get to the heart of understanding how we grow stronger together. Let us celebrate how history can help us think about how the past shapes the future.

Steve Allender, Mayor of Rapid City
Karen Mortimer, Director of the Mnluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors

Ted Stephens III