Should sacred sites be given back to Native Americans?

Share story

Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota.
Dean Franklin | Creative Commons 2009

In June, leaders of the Newport United Methodist Church in Minnesota agreed to return a sacred rock to the Dakota people.

The large red rock was moved from its natural site along the banks of the Mississippi River in the late 1800s by a church missionary. This incident raises the issue of other sacred sites — including those that have been taken over by national parks.

The Black Hills, home to Mount Rushmore, are public land but considered sacred by Sioux tribes.

Co-hosts Tom Weber and Doualy Xaykaothao spoke with two guests about the barriers to returning sacred sites: Graci Horne, of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota and Hunkpapa Dakota, and Tamara St. John, an archivist at the Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

To hear the full conversation use the audio player above.