V.A. Cemetary

Headstones at the Black Hills National Cemetery while the new land that the cemetery will expand into lies behind them near Sturgis on Wednesday.

GOLD: The Black Hills National Cemetery is hallowed ground as the final resting place for more than 29,000 veterans, spouses and some family members. The grounds near Sturgis are immaculate and the visual impact of thousands of perfectly aligned headstones is moving.

The cemetery’s 105 acres were nearly filled, however, until earlier this month when it was announced that another 181 acres had been acquired by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration. The expansion means the cemetery should accommodate veterans for another 100 years.

GULLY: Last week thieves stole an inflatable BB-gun shooting range from a Black Hills Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America trailer. The group uses the item to teach gun safety and promote the nonprofit at events throughout the state. 

What possible use could these thieves have for such an item? To rob a nonprofit is bad enough, but to rob a nonprofit just for the heck of it, is downright despicable. 

“The sad part about this is I don’t think they (thieves) realized what they’re taking, and so if they try to inflate this thing, when it stands itself up, it says Boy Scouts of America and Daisy on it,” Ron Weider, senior district executive for the Black Hills Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America said.

Let's hope the thieves leave the shooting range inflated long enough for someone to spot it and get it returned to the rightful owner.

GOLD: Instilling a connection to ones cultural from an early age is vital to the perpetuation of those values. Making that connection while hiking in the Black Hills is like icing on a cake. 

The Lakota Waldorf School in Kyle did just that last week when it took it's students to the top of Black Elk Peak. The hike combines the school's values of hands-on learning and the importance of teaching Lakota culture.

Before the hike, the class first learned about the significance of Black Elk Peak for the Lakota people. At the top the students were able to pay respects to that culture by smudging sage and leaving food and prayer ties. 

Along the way, Teegin Livermont, a third-grader at the school, learned an important lesson. The hike is a "little hard," she said, but worth it since "nature is beautiful."

GOLD: It's good to see other states following South Dakota's lead. Last week Maine voted to honor Native Americans instead of Columbus Day. 

South Dakota was the first state to take the step of honoring indigenous people when the legislature passed a bill in 1989.

In South Dakota, we didn't see this as a step in erasing history but instead a way to recognize the history of all our people. Though we were decades ahead of them, we are glad to see other states coming to this same understanding. 

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