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Truth and Healing

Our Boarding School History

From its founding in 1888 until 1980, Maȟpíya Lúta (formerly Red Cloud Indian School and Holy Rosary Mission) was an Indian boarding school – one of over 350 institutions established in the nineteenth century created to eliminate Indigenous cultures, languages, and spiritual traditions through the assimilation of Native children. We recognize we can never authentically serve our community, or honor our own staff members, students and families, parishioners, and artists with whom we partner, if we do not first openly and humbly address the tragic injustices in our past.

GPR Final Report – Drexel Hall

The Office of Truth and Healing has received the final report from Marsha Small and her team at Ohio Valley Archeology, Inc. in regard to the excavation in Drexel Hall basement. We’re thankful to them and to the representatives from the FBI who were present during the excavation. Our deepest gratitude to the community members who brought forward their testimony in regard to the excavation site. Maȟpíya Lúta continues its commitment to pursuing all avenues of truth-seeking.


The report affirms that no evidence of graves existed in the soil and that there was no evidence of graves ever having been removed. Click Below for the Full Report.

Learn More

Share Your Student
Boarder Story

If you or a member of your family boarded at Holy Rosary Mission and would like to share some of your story from that time, please reach out to: Cecelia Fire Thunder at:
(605)867-5491 ext. 2212 or email Cecelia Fire Thunder at [email protected]


February Update 2024

First ever Mahpiya Luta summer research institute to the new Truth and Healing member and updates on recent Truth and Healing work.

March Update 2023
Results and report from Drexel Hall excavation, notification on upcoming media, and update on recent Truth and Healing work.

October Update 2023
Updates on collecting testimony from boarders, ground penetrating radar results, and an update on research from the archives at Marquette University.

August Update 2022
Updates on a trip to the Marquette Archives with former boarders, the results of our May 2022 Ground Penetrating Radar Scan and updates on our ongoing research efforts.

May Update 2022
This past month, GPR came to the campus through an important demonstration for our wider community as we invited Marsha Small (Northern Cheyenne) and her team at Ohio Valley Archeology, Inc to tell us about the instruments, what the results look like, and demonstrate the technology first hand.

March Update 2022
We are excited to announce a new initiative: the Maȟpíya Lúta Wówičakȟe na Wóasniye Radio Hour. The Radio Show will help inform the oyate about our work, include the community in ongoing efforts, and support the wider process of opening up the history of boarding schools across North America.

January Updates 2022
We held two meetings in December with elders who boarded at Holy Rosary; one in Pine Ridge and another gathering in Rapid City. The participants shared their experiences at Holy Rosary and provided feedback and wishes for Truth and Healing. If you or a relative boarded at Holy Rosary or Our Lady of Lourdes and would be interested in participating in this initiative, please reach out to us here.


Maȟpíya Lúta’s Truth and Healing Radio Hour seeks to inform people in the community about our work and support the wider process of opening up the history of boarding schools across North America. The show airs through KILI every week on Mondays alternating every week between 9am and 5pm.

Maka Black Elk On: Confronting The Role Of
The Catholic Church In Indian Boarding Schools

Additional Resources

The Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition:
The Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) was created to develop and implement a national strategy that increases public awareness and cultivates healing for the profound trauma experienced by individuals, families, communities, American Indian and Alaska Native Nations resulting from the U.S. adoption and implementation of the Boarding School Policy of 1869.

Resource List For Trauma Responses:
NABS has compiled a list of resources for both immediate assistance (call or text lines where someone can talk with you immediately) and more long-term care (resources for finding care providers who specialize in treating traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression).

Red Cloud Indian School Historical Records:
Held in Marquette University’s Special Collections and University Archives.

Findings In The Archive:
Webinar Conversation on Red Cloud Truth and Healing March 14, 2023

Red Cloud Statement on Federal Indian Boarding School Report From The U.S. Department Of The Interior 2022
The United States Department of the Interior issued its report on Indian Boarding Schools. The report is an official acknowledgment and accounting of Indian boarding schools by the department that oversaw them. issued an historic apology to a delegation of survivors, descendants, and other representatives from Indigenous communities in Canada for the harm caused by boarding schools.

Red Cloud Statement On Pope Francis’s Apology For Boarding Schools 2022
Pope Francis issued an historic apology to a delegation of survivors, descendants, and other representatives from Indigenous communities in Canada for the harm caused by boarding schools.

Indian Country Today 2022
Red Cloud Indian School is taking the lead among Christian-run schools in coming to terms with its assimilationist past. The Jesuits have given Red Cloud a $20,000 grant to help in the work, including conducting searches with ground-penetrating radar for unmarked graves, and have allocated $50,000 to hire an archivist for one year to examine the order’s boarding school history at its archives in St. Louis.