Moved to tears

I went back to the Lower Brule Indian Reservation for the sad funeral of a 24-year-old man who died on the icy roads. Another car lost control and slid into the vehicle he was riding in. Besides knowing him from junior high when I was Lower Brule’s pastor, his mother was our parish secretary and dad very involved in the tribe and community. Austin was starting to make a name for himself in rodeo as a bronc rider, and had just started competing in the PRCA circuit. Sometimes people don’t picture Native American Indians as cowboys, but the Lakota were historically very good with horses. Many tribal people here ranch and rodeo and still spend  a good amount of time in the saddle. The community turned out in big numbers to support his family. I was in the middle of the procession of cars going to the burial site, and as I reached the top of a hill I could see two miles of cars ahead of me, and a mile of cars behind me. Such a sad day, but incredible support.

Takra, displaying Native American beauty.
The students did an excellent job of communicating the material and opening up about their struggles.

This evening the high school performed their one act play “We Wear The Mask”. It will be presented again Wednesday in Pierre, South Dakota at the regional competition. Tonight’s performance was for family and friends. The students themselves created the content from real life situations and journal entries, dealing with some of the most difficult issues teenagers face. They vividly made everyone more aware of the tough issues of drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, depression, and the whole angst which comes when you are trying so desperately to fit in and be loved for who you are.

Three of our St. Joseph Indian School students, Jatonne on guitar and Erica and Chris in acting roles, contributed to the show’s success. I was moved to tears of sadness a few times at the emotions and feelings expressed about their high school world. Appreciated is probably a better word than enjoyed, to measure my feelings and reaction at the performance. The students did an excellent job of communicating the material and opening up about their struggles.

Good luck at the next level!

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 89 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

7 thoughts on “Moved to tears”

  1. GOD BLESS THESE CHILDREN…; for coming forth to inform us of more struggles and hard times they have. It takes a Much bigger person to admit, or to inform others and us, than it does one that will not,…and or but continues to hide, and detour away from the reality of the world.
    You children are so Brave to do this, and we think so highly of each of you. Some of you will be a LEADER to others’…; that would have fallen into the wrong Path…;
    Keep Up The Good Work. and again’-
    GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU’- Children and Adults–Who have already been the Leader to so many, that would have fallen.
    GOD BLESS’-
    Cynthia MILLER’- skaggs
    Fort Worth, Texas 76103

  2. Hurray and GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU CHILDREN WHO HAVE COME FORTH, and shown the struggles and problems you have and do face, in your time. It takes a much bigger person to come forth,than it does to stand back, and say nothing.
    Each of you should shine, like the stars for you Honesty.
    The leaders of the children, should also have credit given, as YOU TOO have come forth with Honesty and are the Shining Star that these children, look up too, and being challenged to follow. Your challenges will make these children WINNERS’ !!
    GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU’-
    Cynthia MILLER’- skaggs
    Fort Worth, Texas 76103

  3. I would love to see this play! Is there any chance it has been or could be recorded or accessed on YouTube or anything?

    Suzanne Roth
    Medical Student, Sanford School of Medicine

  4. I wish these kids the best of everything. I only wish I was rich, I would give them more. Scholarships and the education that brings. Good Luck to you all! and my God bless you all.

  5. My tears and prayers join with yours,
    God bless and guide you, SJ students, and the Indian nations
    Paulette& Al
    DeSoto, MO

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