At Sioux-Preme Wood Products, Rocky Thunderhawk (left) and Jesse Littlemoon sand pine boxes.
At Sioux-Preme Wood Products, Rocky Thunderhawk (left) and Jesse Littlemoon sand pine boxes.

MANDERSON, SD -Sioux-Preme Wood Products, a wood milling company, has been launched on land owned by the Wounded Knee Community Development Corp. (WKCDC) near Manderson, SD.

The first products manufactured by the 10 woodworkers employed there are solid pine or cedar burial caskets. The project was launched by investors, including Charley Rooks, a tribal member and a funeral director in Rapid City, SD. A Federal grant of $99,000 was also directed to the project, reports the Rapid City Journal.

“I have long had a dream that we could be building our own high quality burial caskets here with our own labor force, creating real and permanent jobs on the reservation," Rooks said in a news announcement by the development corp. 

A local charitable group,  RE-member, gutted two adandoned school buildings so they could be remodeled into a millwork shop.  A third building is planned for the finishing of wood products. 

“Having a manufacturing plant here, that originated from within the reservation and has the potential to create jobs by making something used inside the reservation while building to an export stage, is making real history!” said Wounded Knee CEO Mark St. Pierre.  

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