Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota

The band is taking steps to prevent teen-agers from getting into the abandoned San Haven institute after a 17-year-old boy died there early Oct. 13 after plunging 40 feet down the elevator shaft. The main building on the 600-acre complex was cordoned off with police tape, the elevator shaft in which the boy fell was blocked off and round-the-clock security was hired, said Kade Ferris, the tribe’s historic preservation officer. A 16-year-old boy also was injured. Rolette County Sheriff Tony Sims said earlier the building is an attraction for area children who believe it is haunted, and as many as a dozen were in the building that night. San Haven was a tuberculosis sanitarium in the early and mid-1900s. In the 1970s, it was turned into a state school for the mentally handicapped. It closed in 1987, after a federal judge ordered hundreds of North Dakotans in mental institutions moved into community environments. Ferris said the tribe designated the San Haven site, it bought in 1992, as a historic district because of ancient archaeological sites in the region, and the history of the sanitarium. Some sort of a museum is a possibility, Ferris said. “Something that would be functional for preserving that time period of the United States.”

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