Group to hold ceremony at site of former BIA insane asylum

A healing and prayer ceremony will be held at the site of the Hiawatha Indian Insane Asylum in South Dakota on May 19.

The ceremony will honor the 121 people who died at the asylum and are buried in a cemetery that is now a part of the Hiawatha Golf Course. The Yankton Sioux Tribe is providing buffalo meat for a lunch during the event.

Congress created the facility in 1898, according to research by Ruth Hopkins. The Bureau of Indian Affairs committed tribal members with purported mental illnesses from 1902 to 1933, when the remaining patients were transferred elsewhere.

The Hiawatha Indian Insane Asylum Action Committee is working to preserve and improve the cemetery.

Get the Story:
A shameful past: Indian insane asylum (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 5/5)
Insane asylum: Place of solemnity is among preservation ideas (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 5/5)

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