Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 23, 2022

Red Cloud Indian School will search beneath concrete for graves at school with history of abuse

The Holy Rosary Mission, now Red Cloud Indian School on Pine Ridge, opened in 1888. Before he passed to the Spirit World this year, Lakota publisher Tim Giago described the beatings and rapes at the school.

Red Cloud School will search beneath concrete for graves at the school with a history of abuse

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota -- Before he passed to the Spirit World, Lakota publisher Tim Giago wrote about the beatings and rapes at the Catholic school on Pine Ridge. Warning about the apparent guilt at the school, which now wants to hear their stories, Tim said, "I will never forgive them for what they did to us."

Now, there is a search for graves at Red Cloud Indian School.

Red Cloud Indian School said it will remove concrete and search for possible graves of children in October, according to a statement on its website. The school is a private school of the Catholic Church, which opened in 1888 with the name Holy Rosary Mission.

Ground penetrating radar was used in May to search for graves at the school on the Oglala Lakota Nation. Marsha Small, Northern Cheyenne, and Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc., carried out the search.

“Though definitive indications of graves are not present in the radar data, areas of small, distinct differences are visible in the slice maps from beneath the concrete. Removal of the concrete and careful excavation of the sediment below is recommended to test this area for indications of graves.”

Tim Giago: 'I'll never forgive them for what they did to us'

Before Lakota publisher Tim Giago passed to the Spirit World this year, Tim wrote about the cruelty at the school. 

"It seems that the former Holy Rosary Indian Mission boarding school is feeling pangs of guilt and is undertaking what it calls 'Truth and Healing.' The school now wants to hear the stories of former students and open its archives and face its past,'" Tim wrote in January of 2022.

Tim wrote about how a young Lakota boy was grieving for his father and brother, and the abuse he suffered during his grief at the school.

In the 1940s, Richard Brewer his brother Gabby with fishing with their father at White Clay Dam. Richard slipped into the icy water. Their father drowned trying to save him.

Still grieving, Gabby ran away from school and returned home to be with his family after the funerals. Gabby was forced to return to school and abused.

"All of the Mission boys were commanded to watch as Father Edwards approached Gabby and said, 'Assume the position.' All of the boys knew what that meant. Gabby dropped his pants and bent over to grab his ankles."

"Father Edwards took his big leather belt and whacked Gabby across his bottom. Gabby didn’t want to show any emotion, but after the belt smacked him across his behind for the third time, he let out a cry. That is all Father Edwards wanted and he stopped beating him."

Gabby's head was shaved and a sign hung around his neck, "I am a runaway."

Lakota girls were raped at the school.

"Goldie Walks Under the Ground and Shirley Giago held a terrible secret."

"They had both been raped by a Mission Groundskeeper who had a house on the Mission grounds. His name was Albert Roki. Goldie and Shirley were just two of the hundred or more girls Roki raped in the years he worked at the Mission."

Red Cloud Indian School

Red Cloud School said it is now seeking permission to scan the ground in the cemetery.

"We are currently reaching out to community members who have ancestors buried in our historic cemetery to seek guidance and permission for scanning the ground there. If you or anyone you know has ancestors buried in the Holy Rosary Mission historic cemetery, please email Maka Black Elk at

Ground Penetrating Radar

Red Cloud Indian School said, "Ground penetrating radar (GPR) has been used by multiple former residential and boarding schools in Canada to locate unmarked graves, graves whose markings have deteriorated over the course of the cemetery's existence. The use of GPR is helpful in the process of confronting the history of boarding schools; it is one tool among many that help a community reach a place of healing and restoration.

"While GPR has been used to determine the location of unmarked graves, it is important to note that it is not magic. GPR does not scan the ground for bones, but for shifts in the soil. It can detect soil shifts due to multiple reasons including, tree roots, water runoff, etc. This is why GPR experts encourage the use of multiple instruments to search for unmarked graves."

Statement from the Red Cloud School's website:

On May 18-23, 2022, Marsha Small (Northern Cheyenne) and Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc. (OVAI) carried out Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) on the campus of Red Cloud Indian School. The scan served to demonstrate the GPR technology to the Pine Ridge community on the front lawn as well as scan one testimonial site of a possible grave.


The report indicated two major findings: 1) The area front lawn shows no signs of grave-like anomalies. 2) The testimonial site in Drexel Hall does indicate two anomalies that cannot be definitively identified and recommends further investigation. The full report from Marsha Small and OVAI is available below.

Read more at the school's website:

No comments: