Sioux Falls, SD – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe will receive a $6.8 million grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish the Sicangu Akicita Owicahe Veterans Cemetery in Mellete County. This will be the first cemetery in the nation established jointly by the VA and a federally recognized tribe.
“The VA has never before provided a tribe with funding to establish a cemetery for Native veterans,” said Johnson. “I’m glad that this first-in-the-nation cemetery will be built right here in South Dakota. This joint effort between the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the VA should serve as a model for similar cemeteries in our state and across the nation.”
According to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the cemetery will be built upon 80 acres located approximately 10 miles from the junction of Highway 18 and 83 Highway. When completed, the cemetery will include a public information center, offices and maintenance yard. Rosebud Sioux Tribe enrolled veterans, eligible spouses, and dependants will be eligible for burial in the cemetery.
The grant will fund all standard cemetery construction, with the tribe responsible for the operations thereafter. Native Americans have the highest per-capita rate of military service of any ethnic group in the nation.