Coaching and learning from St. Joseph’s youth

Hey! Have you heard that St. Joseph’s Indian School’s sixth-grade girls are having a great basketball season?
My name is Jona. If you’ve visited St. Joseph’s Indian School and had a tour of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus, chances are you’ve had a conversation with me!

In addition to my office duties, like providing tours for visitors, writing stories for our website and organizing special projects, I also take time each fall to coach basketball for the sixth grade girls.

My dad, Jon, is an electrician on the maintenance crew here at St. Joseph’s Indian School, and I am assistant coach to his head coach. We have a great time getting to know the Native American students a little better and, of course, I have a lot of fun spending this time with my dad!

My dad, Jon and I enjoy learning wonderful things from these young ladies every day.
My dad, Jon and I enjoy learning wonderful things from these young ladies every day.

Our team this year is a talented group, but what’s even better is the encouragement they show one another on the court and during practice. As St. Joseph’s motto says, We Serve and Teach, We Receive and Learn. I am learning wonderful things from these young ladies every day!

Preparing the Native American youth

It is remarkable to see the Lakota (Sioux) students mature and grow in their love of Jesus.
It is remarkable to see the Lakota (Sioux) students mature and grow in their love of Jesus.

We have begun the RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children) this month. This is a program to teach the youth at St. Joseph’s Indian School about becoming a Catholic and preparing them to receive the Sacraments in May. I enjoy teaching this program and seeing the children develop their faith issues and become excited about the day they are Baptized and receive their First Holy Communion. It is an extraordinary journey we take and I am so honored that I am accompany them on their exploration of their new faith. It is remarkable to work here at St. Joseph’s Indian School and not just see the students mature physically and mentally but also grow in their love of Jesus.



This year we have twenty-one students enrolled in the RCIC program; there are five second graders, six third graders, two fourth graders, four fifth graders, two sixth graders and two seventh graders. Please keep the students in your prayers as they take the first steps in their faith journey and also for me that I may have the wisdom and insight to be the best mentor for them that I can be. Next time I write, I will discuss the different themes we are touching. May I offer to each one of you a blessed and sacred Thanksgiving.

Harsh reality of Native American health

St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Personal Living Skills (PLS) class is taking it up a notch!

The class has been exploring the relationship between diet and exercise.  PLS class promotes good health, emphasizing ways to reduce sugar, salt and fat in the diet.  Our Lakota (Sioux) students learn healthy snack options and how to make healthy choices when eating out.  They also learn why fitness is important and what they can to do maintain a healthy weight in order to live a healthy and productive life.

Health Facts

Chronic diseases, such as obesity and type II diabetes persist in Native Americans at rates that are significantly higher than those in other ethnic minority populations.  A primary cause of this epidemic outbreak can be linked to the shift of tribal traditions.   With a culture that once solely survived off of the crops they harvested, Native American’s diets are now filled with processed foods high in fat and sodium with limited intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  In addition, the average physical activity level is significantly lower than the recommended amount.  The poor quality of the current diet and lifestyle of Native Americans is endangering their quality of life.

Type II diabetes is one of the most serious health problems for Native Americans in the United States.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Indian Health Service, Native Americans are 2.2 times more likely to have diabetes compared with non-Hispanic whites.

95% of Native Americans with diabetes are diagnosed with type II diabetes.

Just as type II diabetes can be the result of  inadequate diet and insufficient physical activity, it can also be managed and potentially cured by diet and lifestyle modifications.

Another health condition that is seriously affecting the American Indian population is obesity. Native American obesity is a major risk factor for both type II diabetes and heart disease.

On average, 30% of all Native Americans are obese.

Both males and females are consistently more overweight and obese than the total U.S. population.  The primary contributors to obesity also include poor diet and insufficient exercise.

Native Americans face a surplus of unfavorable socioeconomic factors which contribute to the rise of obesity and type II diabetes.  Among the list are economic stresses, reduced access to affordable healthful foods, opportunities for safe and varied physical activity, overexposure to targeted advertising and marketing of calorie-dense foods.  Despite these inopportune circumstances it has become critical that Native Americans make significant alterations to their current diet and lifestyles in order to protect their past, present and future legacy.

Greetings from the lab

Hello to all!  My name is Sarah and I work at St. Joseph’s Indian School as a 6th-8th grade Science teacher.  I started here at St. Joseph’s as a 4th grade teacher and spent 4 years at that level, then moved to my current position and have been in this age group for the past 6 years.  I have been at St. Joseph’s Indian School since I graduated from college.  Every year has been fun-filled and full of learning for me.

Working with 6th-8th grade students is a wonderful opportunity.  With this position, I am able to see a phenomenal amount of growth in students: academically, physically, mentally and socially.

I love that I am allowed to witness these tremendous changes.

As a Science teacher, I am given a 45 minute class period, each school day with every single 6th-8th grade student.  We cover all areas of science including: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth/Space Science and how Science impacts such areas as technology, the environment and society.

Consider yourselves to have a hand in forming the future.
Consider yourselves to have a hand in forming the future.

Being in the Science arena, also allows me to choose different methods of delivery for instruction.  In my class we cover Science objectives in a variety of ways, whether it is through lecture, laboratory activities, digital lessons or virtual labs.  The latter two listed are new to me this year as we were able to purchase a new curriculum that is available in a print workbook and also entirely online.  It has been very effective thus far with my students.  They certainly enjoy the opportunity to use the computer as a tool for learning.

I try to do lab work as much as possible as the hands-on experience is valuable for many students and also tends to be more exciting.  Our Science Department can always use donations of equipment.  They do not need to be elaborate items, only things, such as everyday household items. For instance, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, white corn syrup, vinegar, baby oil, vegetable oil and food coloring.  These items can be used in a variety of ways to address topics such as density, chemical changes, and classifying things.

With your generous and heartfelt contributions to St. Joseph’s Indian School, I am able to give our Lakota (Sioux) youth enhanced learning opportunities.  We greatly appreciate you and you are in our prayers.  Thank you to all who donate to St. Joseph’s Indian School.  Consider yourselves to have a hand in forming the future. Pilamayathank you!