Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Briefs. Discussion »
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION The Oglala Sioux Tribe announced on Saturday the Tribe has received a grant for $6,510,800 to establish a Tribal Veterans Cemetery.
Oglala Sioux Tribe - Wounded Knee Cemetery
The location for the new cemetery will be almost eight miles east of Kyle, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Some 63 acres of land adjacent to BIA Route #2, along the Big Foot Trail, have been designated to be developed.
The grant award funds will include construction of a main entrance, a combined administration/maintenance building, roads, an assembly area, committal shelter, preplaced crypts, cremation burial areas, landscaping a memorial walkway, and supporting infrastructure. The project will develop approximately 15.2 acres. The construction will include 260 pre-placed crypts and 40 cremation gravesites.
This project has been carefully nurtured and guided by the Office of the Fifth Member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, with Myron Pourier at the helm as the Tribal Fifth Member, with solid support from the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council and Executive Board.
According to the Memorandum of Agreement signed on July 31, by and between the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Tribe agreed to enter into a contract within 90 days of the date on which both parties have signed the agreement.
US Attorney General Holder at the
Wounded Knee Memorial
The Tribe has agreed that, upon completion, it will use the cemetery principally to furnish burial services only to veterans, spouses and eligible dependents, in accordance with the Veterans Administration's National Cemetery Administration standards and eligibility requirements.
“As a veteran myself, I am greatly pleased with the Tribe on the positive outcome of this project and it is finally a reality! I know many of my fellow veterans will be happy,”
commented Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele.
On behalf of the Tribe, I thank the Office of the Fifth Member for their commitment and dedication to keeping this project on track for these past two administrations. We thank everyone who helped in one way or another in their work to get this done, especially to Jackie Big Crow. She was the pivotal point in keeping us focused on the importance of this project and her involvement in doing so has helped make this project a reality. We thank the Department of Veterans Affairs for the awarding of this grant because without their support, we wouldn't be able to establish this final resting place befitting our tribal veterans who gave so much.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe is planning two significant events in preparation for the establishment of this site. First, a special blessing of the site is planned for Wednesday, September 26. Second, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the site on Thursday, October 4, during which time dignitaries from the Washington, DC Veterans Services Program will conduct a
Big Check presentation of the grant award to the Oglala Sioux Tribe. All tribal veterans, families and the public are invited to attend these very important events.
posted September 24, 2012 9:50 am edt