The Rosebud Sioux Tribe claims more than 4,000 U.S. military veterans among its current membership and they will soon have their own cemetery on the Rosebud reservation.
A $6.8 million grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay to build the cemetery north of Mission that is the first joint project between the VA and a tribal government in the United States.
The Sicangu Akicita Owicahe, or Rosebud Sioux Tribe Veterans Cemetery, will be located on 80 acres of tribal land about 10 miles north of Mission. Construction bids for the cemetery have been awarded to J. Scull Construction of Rapid City. It is expected to open for burials in 2012 or later.
“The VA has never before provided a tribe with funding to establish a cemetery for Native veterans,” Sen. Tim Johnson said in a news release Wednesday. “I’m glad that this first-in-the-nation cemetery will be built right here in South Dakota. This joint effort between the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the VA should serve as a model for similar cemeteries in our state and across the nation.”
Orlando Morrison, Sr., a Vietnam veteran and RST veteran services officer, said the cemetery, which is open to tribally enrolled veterans and their eligible spouses and dependents, will incorporate Lakota symbols in its design. Having a veteran cemetery on the reservation will alleviate the financial and travel hardships on families of deceased veterans who find it difficult to make the three-and-a-half hour trip to the nearest veterans’ cemetery, which is the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, Morrison said.
Contact Mary Garrigan at 394-8424 or email@example.com.