On May 25, Erica, Andrew, and I left on the trip of a lifetime! We have the honor of representing St. Joseph’s Indian School at the Lycee Ste Solange School, in Chateauroux,
France, on a trip to our sister school!
Similar to the exchange program with our sister school in Handrup, Germany, we hope this experience will broaden our students’ horizons. In turn, we will share the Lakota (Sioux) culture and St. Joseph’s mission.
We spent several months putting together a presentation for the school to share information about:
- The state of South Dakota
- Powwows and traditional regalia
- The Seven Sacred Lakota Rites
- St. Joseph’s programs
- Chamberlain High School
With the older students in France, we will make dreamcatchers and beaded bracelets using the colors of the Four Directions. The little ones will learn about the Lakota tipi, star quilt and drum. Erica will also demonstrate fancy dancing in her regalia.
The past several months have also been spent getting to know our hosts. I have been in touch with Blandine, who is the school secretary and the headmaster’s wife.
Before Easter, Stellie (from St. Joseph’s office in Paris), went to Chateauroux and gave a presentation about St. Joseph’s mission and the Lakota children who attend our school. After learning why children come to St. Joseph’s, Blandine and the students organized the “Bowl of Rice” operation.
This activity came in conjunction with the Easter season of Lent. After a talk about what sacrifice means, students at their school were given a choice about their regular lunch.
They proposed having the students pay the regular price of a school lunch and, instead of receiving what they would normally have (starter, main course, cheese and dessert), it would be substituted with a bowl of rice, apple, and piece of bread. The difference in cost would be donated to St. Joseph’s.
Two weeks ago, I received a very ecstatic email from Blandine – they had great success in Operation Bowl of Rice and raised 2,000 Euros (over $2,700)!
They never had so many participants, she added. She said everyone was so proud to be allowed to participate for Maija, Erica and Andrew’s school!
In thanks for their generosity, we’re showing our appreciation for the school children and staff at Chateauroux by offering a gift of an ironwood buffalo – a symbol of sacrifice.
The buffalo – tatanka – is considered a symbol of abundance. It is especially significant in the Lakota culture because it provided the people with everything they needed.
Thank you for helping St. Joseph’s provide amazing learning opportunities for the Native American children we serve and stay tuned for more details about our trip!