Summer Day Camp at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Anpetu waste’! LaRayne imaciyapi ksto! Good Day, LaRayne is my name!

LaRayne is St. Joseph's Native American Studies teacher.
LaRayne, St. Joseph’s Native American Studies teacher

We are in our second week of my 14th day camp at St. Joseph’s Indian School! I remember those overwhelming, exciting feeling from the very first year because I still get them today.

Part of the overwhelming feeling comes from wanting to give the students who come for the Rising Eagle Day Camp a sense of who they are as members of their tribe or members of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (People of the Seven Council Fires). My purpose is to share my passion of being proud of who we are as Lakota/Dakota/Nakota persons. I try to do this in various ways.

This year I will be pulling from my co-teacher, Allen, for added wisdom and knowledge in traditional Lakota games. Allen brings a plethora of knowledge in this area. We will play the modified version of the moccasin, plum pit, bingo and hand games with our day students. We play with items they can find around the house so that when they are home with friends and family, they can recreate the games with pencils, pens, beads, rocks, sticks or anything their creative minds can find and use.

Medicinal plants like sage are also used in ceremonies.
Day camp students learn about medicinal and ceremonial plants like sage.

We are going to plan a two-day focus around the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and the life-sized tipi that is set up in front, welcoming visitors. The kids will take a tour of the museum as well as the alumni and historical center – Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi (We Stood Here in the Beginning) – in order to get a sense of why St. Joseph’s is important to so many people. A guest speaker will share some hands-on artifacts that are part of the tipi, so the day camp kids will grasp a sense of what it was like to live “back in the tipi days.”

Dancing has always been a part of every culture. We will also learn some dances that pertain to friendship and celebrating for fun rather than focusing on the powwow or other ceremonial dances.

We also try to tie in how our entire environment was a part of daily life. This year we will focus on making teas for medicinal use

Each Native American Studies class at day camp ends with a story.
With each day, LaRayne finds a story or a book that parallels the day’s lesson.

out of local plants and also how the how the stars tell us about each day, week, month and year. We will talk about how they mirror earth and our own aura.

With each day, I try to find a story or a book that parallels what we are discussing. This helps the kids to understand the importance of storytelling, reading books and how much fun it can be to share a book with someone of any age.

Lastly, we want to share a new movie that teaches our youth and communities about the Horse Nation. Many of our tribal leaders are working on bringing the “Horse Nation” back for healing reasons. We hope to be a catalyst in this process at St. Joseph’s Indian School Rising Eagle Day Camp.

Wopila tankamany thanks – for helping make day camp possible!

LaRayne,

Native American Studies Teacher

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.

2 thoughts on “Summer Day Camp at St. Joseph’s Indian School”

  1. I think it is wonderful what you are doing for these children. Thank you. For sharing with me. God be with you as you teach .

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