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VA to pay for veterans cemetery at Pine Ridge

John Yellow Bird Steele

PINE RIDGE (AP) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the creation of a new tribal veterans' cemetery on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with a multimillion grant, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has announced.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is awarding a $6.5 million grant for the cemetery, which will be located on 63 acres of land about 8 miles east of Kyle, the tribe announced in a news release over the weekend.

The grant money will go toward establishing a cemetery entrance, roads, administration building, memorial walkway and burial areas. The construction will include 260 pre-placed crypts and 40 gravesites.

"As a veteran myself, I am greatly pleased with the Tribe on the positive outcome of this project and it is finally a reality," Oglala Sioux President John Yellow Bird Steele said. "I know many of my fellow veterans will be happy." Veterans, their spouses and children will be allowed to be buried at the cemetery. The tribe will bless the land during a ceremony today. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 4.