SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A 3-ton boulder believed to have been used by Native Americans to worship decades ago will not be moved from a Sioux Falls museum to the Crazy Horse Memorial in western South Dakota.
The Siouxland Heritage Museums board on Thursday rejected a request by local artist Richard Perkins to have the "prayer rock" moved from its spot outside the Pettigrew Museum.
Perkins believes the rock's spiritual significance gets overlooked at its current location and that it would be better appreciated at the memorial being built to the Oglala Lakota warrior in the Black Hills.
"It can be utilized in a more productive, spiritual and religious manner and be of more interest and draw more attention (from) people outside of South Dakota," he told KDLT-TV.
The museum governing board unanimously rejected the request to move the rock found by former U.S. Sen. Richard Pettigrew near the town of Evarts and moved to Sioux Falls in 1925.
To remove an artifact in its collection, the museum's board must determine that certain criteria are met, such as an item being damaged or no longer relevant to the museum's mission, according to the Argus Leader newspaper.
"There is no tangible reason to take (the rock) out of the collection," museum Director Bill Hoskins said.
Perkins said he hopes the debate will at least draw attention to the rock, which has impressions of hands and a child's feet.
"I don't think I've failed," he said. "I think this has made some people interested in an item that's been long lost in our town. Maybe now people will put their hands on it and won't just pass by."
Perkins said he will push the museum board to consider at least loaning the rock to Crazy Horse, an idea that Hoskins said might be considered.