Native American Reburial Restoration Committee
The Native American Reburial Restoration Committee has had the Hiawatha Insane Asylum Cemetery, located in Canton, South Dakota, designated as a National Historic Site.

It has been a long and arduous journey to receive this designation. The Committee is pleased to have completed this goal. However, the work is not over. The next goal is to have the cemetery designated a National Historic Landmark and to have National Historic markers erected near the cemetery at the cost of $3400.00. See the "Call for Action" page if you'd like to write a letter in support of the new designation and/or to make a donation to the Markers Fund to help the Committee raise the necessary money to accomplish the purchase of the markers.


In 1902 the U.S. Government opened the Hiawatha Insane Asylum for American Indians. The purpose was to care for those members of tribes who were allegedly insane. The asylum was operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Indians who made up [most of] the population of the asylum were Indians seen by the Government as "trouble makers"-- spiritual leaders, medicine men, vision quest seekers, those who resisted reservation boundaries, and boarding school students who did not conform to school policies.

These individuals were termed "idiotic indians" for what they believed and continued to believe. During the years that the asylum was in existence, tribes or tribal members were clearly a relatively powerless political group who were unable to demand anything of their interest.

The young women from the boarding schools were raped by white male workers and to this date no charges were ever brought against these predators.

Today, many of the family members still are living in pain and grief over this unjust situation.

Harold Iron Shield
Native American Reburial Restoration Committee


To make locating information easier, the NARRC website pages have been organized into the index below. Click on the subject you are interested in to go to that page.


Protecting Sacred Sites and Our Relatives

For more information, email Harold Iron Shield at or Lee Bruce at

Graphics provided by Bareback's Native American Graphics and Peter M. Figueroa

eagle feathers, last revised 04/26/98