Monday, October 14, St. Joseph’s Indian School – along with the rest of South Dakota – celebrated Native American Day. We, along with several other schools around our area, embraced the opportunity to have a “teachable moment” while having fun reliving a part of our rich Lakota/Dakota/Nakota culture.
The morning greeted us with a line of colored banners carried by students who read a brief description about the corresponding color and direction of the medicine wheel. Bridges were built between the Catholic and tribal spiritualities by centering ourselves with prayer and singing the hymn “There is a Well.” Our drum group offered up two prayer songs to honor the day and what it might mean to our people.
During the afternoon, classes circulated around eight game stations to compete against themselves, others and groups. Our stations included:
- Lakota bowling
- Hackie sack
- Regalia relay (switch dressing – the boys put on girls’ regalia and girls put on boys’ regalia)
- Leg wrestling
- Arrow toss
- Hand games
- Musical chairs (with drum songs)
- Cat’s cradle yarn art
Each game was explained with its historical significance and natural place in our world. A plethora of adults helped to make the day possible by guiding, encouraging, and even taking part with the group as the students scurried through the rain and mist between the recreation center, the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and the skating room.
I hope our St. Joseph’s students went home knowing why this day was set aside for our tribal people to be honored for our place on this North American Continent, rather than focusing on someone who thought they had found India. We love the land and the culture that respects our footprints upon it.
LaRayne, Native American Studies teacher