Sicangu Akicita Owicahe Veteran’s Cemetery
By Angel Johnson
What once was just a dream, has now become reality for many Rosebud Sioux Tribal Veterans. On Memorial Day 2013, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Veterans will be honored at the opening of the first National Native American Cemetery located on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe just south of White River.
The cemetery was made possible by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Veterans Affairs, who applied for a $7 Million grant just one year ago. The grant was the first of its kind to be awarded to a sovereign tribal nation and is under the management of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
Construction of the grounds and facility are currently 90 percent complete, and contractors and coordinators say they are way ahead of schedule. The facility administration and visitors center spans 3,400 square feet, and has 3,000 square feet of maintenance space. Finishes, paint, tile work and windows are in their finishing stages at the facility and they say it will be mostly complete by the new year.
600 crypts have already been set in place at the new cemetery with room for more. The Cemetery is also designed with 32 columbariums to hold the ashes of those veterans who prefer to be cremated. An assembly area has also been set in place in the middle of the cemetery were the American Flag, RST Flag, and P.O.W. Flags will fly.
With Rosebud Sioux Tribe claiming more than 4,000 US Military Veterans and Native Americans serving as the highest per capita out of any ethnic group, veterans all over the reservation are please to finally be recognized and are honored to know their resting place was build specifically to honor and serve them as United States Veterans and Lakota Warriors all at once.
When complete, the cemetery will be in the shape of a turtle. The turtle is one of the most important symbols in Lakota culture, representing life longevity and fortitude. These traits are reflected in veterans in accordance to their service in the military and the lives they led post-service.
Fred Leader Charge, project inspector said, “This has been a good project. I am very proud of the effort put forth, this is a beautiful sight.”
The Veteran’s Cemetery will employ a manager, administrator, assistant, administrative assistant, maintenance supervisor, and grounds keeper, all on site. Volunteers will also be welcome to help with the upkeep of the landscaping, and other outdoor needs.
More information on costs and services will be provided in the near future as information becomes available. Read the Todd County Tribune for those updates and don’t forget to shake the hands of those Native American men and women and all who fought for our country.