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Rapid City to study funding for American Indian sculptures

RAPID CITY (AP) -- Rapid City Council members are skeptical about providing money for sculptures of famous Sioux Indians in a public park, a project that American Indian organizers say would help them tell their story.

RAPID CITY (AP) - Rapid City Council members are skeptical about providing money for sculptures of famous Sioux Indians in a public park, a project that American Indian organizers say would help them tell their story.

Organizers of the First Nations Sculpture Garden are asking the city for $150,000 to finish the $450,000 project, after initially seeking only space in a city park and maintenance of the site.

"All we are asking is the right to tell you our story in the midst of our homeland," project President Elizabeth Cook-Lynn told the council on Monday.

"This project is based on the notion that history matters," she said.

The garden is to have busts of Santee Sioux physician Charles Eastman, Oglala Sioux holy man Nicolas Black Elk, Yankton Sioux artist Oscar Howe and Hunkpapa Sioux lawyer Vine Deloria Jr.

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Council members on Monday stopped short of rejecting the request, but didn't approve it and appeared skeptical, The Rapid City Journal reported.

"Tonight, I don't have the appetite to commit $150,000 to this project," Alderman Brad Estes said, citing a lack of information about private funding for the project.

Alderman Ron Weifenbach said using city funds for the sculptures might appear to be a political statement.

Alderman Jerry Wright was tasked with looking further into the matter and reporting back to the council on April 4.

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