Pastor DeAnn Eidem, the leadership team, and members of Canyon Lake United Methodist Church (CLUMC) in Rapid City, South Dakota, spent months learning, discerning, and praying about how to help honor the children who died decades ago while attending the Rapid City Indian School (RCIS). CLUMC learned this past year that the land adjacent to the church marks the graves of 50 children who lost their lives at RCIS.
The Streams of Justice annual award calls attention to a United Methodist sponsored program or event which promotes justice in the DakotasAnnual Conference. Ministries on Native American reservations, local churches and outreach centers in communities (rural and urban), and state-wide and regional organizations which have programs that offer components of justice education, advocacy and empowerment in addition to material assistance and spiritual support.
The 2022 Streams of Justice Award was awarded to Rev. DeAnn Canyon Lake UMC in Rapid City, South Dakota. The recognition took place at the 2022 Dakotas Annual Conference held in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Pastor DeAnn stated, “It is hard to know the past and that we have been part of history that has caused pain, loss, and harm to people. This past year, our congregation has walked through a difficult, arduous process.”
Canyon Lake UMC is housed on the acres that once housed the RCIS. With the assistance of Heather Dawn Thompson, attorney and a researcher with Remembering Our Children and Rev. Bob Ruedebusch, Southwest District Superintendent for the Dakotas Conference, the CLUMC Leadership Team and the congregation voted to provide the necessary access to the land for the Remembering the Children Memorial.
The memorial will give people a space to honor the children year-round, not just during the annual walks. It will be located on flat land and a hillside just west of Canyon Lake United Methodist Church.
The memorial is designed to approach from the east on a boulevard and an allée of trees, or windbreak of trees. The boulevard will lead to a circle or a roundabout. In the middle of the circle or the roundabout will be the sculpture created by Dale Lamphere. There will be parking lots on each side of the boulevard. Behind the sculpture will be a color wheel plaza honoring the four directions.
Currently, solar lights shine each evening, representing the 50 children known to have lost their lives at the Rapid City Boarding School. The memorial will feature a series of paths that will have a boulder or rock with the name of each child inscribed on the rock. In addition, a scaffold and lights will be installed on the ridge of the hill.
Gratitude is extended to the members of Canyon Lake United Methodist Church and the leaders in the Rapid City community for their efforts to heal a broken world.
This link will play the video of Rev. Gail Arnold presenting the Streams of Justice Award.
Here is a news article about the 2021 Memorial Walk honoring the children who died at the Rapid City Indian School.