Memorial Walk honors those who fought to practice religion insid - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Memorial Walk honors those who fought to practice religion inside prison walls

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A memorial walk was held in Sioux Falls Saturday morning, starting at the South Dakota State Penitentiary with prayer for all the inmates and their families.

The next two stops on the walk to Falls Park included prayer for Madison Wallace and Lyle Eagle Tail, who died rescuing Madison's six-year-old brother from the Falls last year.

The final stop honored Kimberly Rose Means, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1981 on her way to the annual freedom run at Pine Ridge Reservation. Means was working with many others for the rights of native american inmates to practice their beliefs inside the prison walls.

"I'm a former inmate, I went to prison in 1972. back then, we couldn't practice our culture. we couldn't practice our beliefs. it took a law suit called Crowe vs. Erickson to get the ball rolling, to get our culture, our beliefs inside this prison in the state of South Dakota," said former inmate Buck Scouts Enemy.

Thanks to years of lobbying, Native Americans are now able to participate in many cultural and religious ceremonies while in prison.

"We have quite a few activities actually...we have sweat lodge ceremonies...we have pipe ceremonies, we have native american church, we have pow wows and then we have drum practice for them to learn new songs," said Mary Montoya, a volunteer with Native American Inmates.

For some inmates, these ceremonies are their first exposure to their cultural practices.

"We have quite a few younger inmates who come in here who have not taken part of their cultural activities on the outside, so they first start doing it here, it makes a big difference in their lives," said Montoya.

A difference man hope will continue outside the prison walls.

"To our brothers and sisters inside the walls of the SD state prisons, practice our way of life. Many people sacrificed years and years in solitary confinement to do this, to get these beliefs recognized. Carry on our way of life when you get out of this prison, don't play with it. Carry it on and take it back to the people so our people may live forever," said Scouts Enemy.
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