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Column: Sitting Bull gets respect he deserves

"Sitting Bull deserves better. With the help of Bryan Defender and Rhett Albers, he might finally get the respect he's owed.

Defender, who is from McLaughlin, grew up on the Standing Rock Reservation, only a few miles from the Sitting Bull Monument. But it was only a couple of years ago, as an adult, that he visited the place, on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River across from Mobridge.

"Nobody took care of it, and that was very disheartening," Defender said. "It should be a place of respect, at least kept up and maintained."

Defender joined with Albers of Mobridge, who also was concerned about the state of the monument. Together, they bought the 40 acres with $20,000. Now they've formed the Sitting Bull Monument Foundation.

They've known and worked with each other for years. Albers is an environmental consultant who created a solid waste management plan for the Standing Rock Reservation. Defender owns the Standing Rock Sanitation Service. One day, their concerns surfaced, and a plan developed.

"The intent of everything we're doing is to pay respect and provide a proper tribute to Sitting Bull," Albers said. "That site has been abused and neglected for so long, and we just got tired of seeing it.""

Get the Story:
Chuck Baldwin: Honoring a chief (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/26)
Where are the remains? It depends on who's telling the story (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/26)

Relevant Links:
National Register of Historic Places -

Related Stories:
Men want Sitting Bull gravesite on National Register (11/21)
Editorial: Don't turn Sitting Bull grave into tourist site (01/23)
Men hope to preserve Sitting Bull's burial site (05/17)
Land purchased to protect Sitting Bull site (12/20)