Even though summer officially began on Monday, temperatures are and have been very high around here for a few weeks. I hope everyone is making sure to stay cool and hydrated.
Last week, I was able to attend the ordination for two new priests for the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana. During the 1st Mass of the newly ordained priest that I had baptized 25 years ago in Houston, Texas, the pastor mentioned that the parish has had 18 priests ordained in the last 11 years and will have another next year. The parish has also been supportive of those who have entered the Brotherhood or convent. May we keep the need for more vocations in our prayers.
We hosted our yearly Scranton Prep students from Scranton, Pennsylvania last week. They raise funds every year to bring their upcoming senior class to South Dakota. During their time in-state, they do some sightseeing in the Black Hills and visit several reservations prior to working as counselors for our summer camp. Several of the students mentioned how helping out at St. Joseph’s has really educated them of the Native American Culture. They appreciated the opportunity to bond with the young people at camp.
Today is the last day of the 2016 Rising Eagle Day Camp. We’ve had a great time getting to know over 200 children from the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations and look forward to some of them returning to campus for school this fall!
Hello! My name is LaRayne. I teach Native American Studies alongside my co-teacher, Allen.
I want to take a minute to tell you all about our recent language challenges!
We had two Lakota/Dakota language challenges during the month of February. They were both fun, rewarding and confidence-building for all the students involved.
We had rendezvous challenges with the reservation school that borders our community, Crow Creek Elementary. We traveled there once, and they visited us once. Teachers from each school worked together to prepare the students in specific areas of food, family, days of the week, seasons, numbers, colors, school terms, animals and stages of life.
Each school came up with two questions from each category and the students went to work studying.
Both challenge meetings came down to the wire, and we had to use a tie-breaker question at the end to decide the winner. It was a split on wins. We won at home, and they also won on their own turf!
We have finally had some time to reflect on our 39th Annual Powwow.
What a wonderful few days we had! The festivities began with a bus trip to the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations. I had a chance to meet with donors taking part in the tour to offer a prayer for safe travel before they hit the road. It seems that they all had a great time!
On Thursday evening, St. Joseph’s Indian School had a Meet & Greet. Several staff members and students met with guests to explain the programs offered at St. Joseph’s and answer any questions our visitors had. We had two of our high school seniors and an alumnae who is currently working at St. Joseph’s share the impact our school has had on their lives.
Friday morning began with the announcement of our powwow royalty–Eagle Staff bearer Treshawn; Junior Miss St. Joseph’s Aurelia; and Miss St. Joseph’s Frederika. As our students headed off to class, our guests enjoyed breakfast and tours of the Nagel Business Office to see how our mailings are prepared and how envelopes with donations are handled.
From there, our donors and friends went to the Rec Center to make their own dreamcatcher and attend a demonstration of Native American children’s games.
On Friday afternoon, guests were able to tour the school with some of our students as their tour guides. A great time was had by all; students really enjoyed getting to talk with people from all over the country.
Over 400 guests and friends attended our Tiyospaye Banquet Friday evening. The highlight of the evening– besides the drawing for a star quilt– was the show of hands as to how many were attending their very first powwow. It seemed that 75-80% of the hands went up! We were so honored that they chose St. Joseph’s as the place to experience their first powwow.
Though Friday was rainy and cool, Saturday dawned clear and pleasant. Early risers had the chance to visit several of the
homes on campus to see where our students live. Prior to the Grand Entry, several of our grass dancers came out to bless the powwow grounds. The Grand Entry began with a presentation of the colors, which all veterans present were invited to take part in. The veterans in attendance were followed by the royalty from other Native American tribes and entities in the area and the many dancers who had come to take part in the powwow.
It is interesting to note that 102 St. Joseph’s students took part in the various dance categories, which enabled them to win some categories and place in others. The weather was wonderful, the colors magnificent and the dance moves intricate. Returning alumni were honored. Guests were invited to take part in tribal dances which are open to anyone in attendance.
We culminated the day with Mass at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel and a complimentary meal prior to announcing the winners of the dance contests and drum competition. As things wound down, there were many compliments and ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ over what had taken place that afternoon.
We were honored to have so many guests, dancers, drum groups and staff all interacting in an enjoyable manner to make this one of the best powwows yet! If you would like to see some of what happened, you can take a look at the video one of our staff members put together.
We were blessed to have great weather on Saturday and we thank you for your prayers to help make that possible. I’m sure that many of those attending this year are already looking ahead to 2016. As a quick reminder, St. Joseph’s annual powwow always takes place the third weekend in September. We look forward to many powwows in the future and hope you can join us!
The weather has continued to make for an interesting summer in central South Dakota. Last Sunday, several areas around us hit 100+ degrees. Added to the heat was smog from the fires burning in Canada. Though it has been hot, the landscape looks beautiful from all the rain we have been blessed with. Green is still the predominate color. Hopefully, we’ll continue to receive rain so the crops and grass flourish.
The campus is quiet now as the summer programs for our Lakota (Sioux) students are coming to an end. The younger students’ home finished this past Wednesday, and the high school home will end on Friday.
Next on the agenda will be orientation for St. Joseph’s new staff starting July 27. All staff will gather the week of August 3 for various meetings. The students will return August 9 and classes begin on August 10! Where has the summer gone?
Last weekend was special for some of those working in extended ministries supported by St. Joseph’s.
On Sunday, there was a special Mass in Marty, South Dakota to honor the Native American ministry in the Sioux Falls Diocese (which is celebrating its 125th anniversary). At the Mass, Deacon Steven McLaughlin gave an address. St. Joseph’s provided some transportation for parishioners from St. Joseph’s parish in Fort Thompson, South Dakota, which is staffed by members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. That is the parish Deacon Steven is assigned to, but he also works at the other six parishes on the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations.
On Monday I was at a board meeting in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, where we have the women’s shelter and the youth residence. At the end of the meeting, Mr. John Lemke was honored for his 21 years of service as a board member. He is still active in the ministry as the treasurer.
I’ll be heading out this week to take part in my niece’s wedding in Colorado Springs this coming weekend. Sounds like most of my brothers and sisters are going to make it with their families, so it will be a mini-family reunion as well.
I hope you all have a great week. As a way of saying thanks for your generosity and many kindnesses, you will be remembered in our Monthly Novena of Masses, the 11th through the 19th.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
After all the wild weather last weekend, things have calmed down a bit. Branches keep coming down here and there around campus, but the majority of damage has been cleaned up by our grounds crew along with help of other St. Joseph’s maintenance staff. It was really a team effort as electric saws, manual trimmers and hand-powered rakes were used to repair what Mother Nature tore apart. There was some minor structural damage, but nothing of a serious nature. We are grateful, but it is a shame that so many trees were damaged or lost completely. Several tree stumps still need to be removed and there will be
a lot of replanting to come. We received word from our fellow SCJs (Priests of the Sacred Heart) on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation that they too had high winds which brought down some trees. Thankfully, no buildings or cars were hit and everyone is safe.
You can tell the travel season is well underway by looking at the number of cars, tour buses, campers and RV’s in the parking lot at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. I can see the parking lot from my office window and it is interesting to see visitors from all over the country stopping in to learn about the Lakota (Sioux) culture and walk through the new alumni and historical center that gives a brief overlook of St. Joseph’s history. If you would like to about others’ experiences to help you decide if your travel plans include a visit to St. Joseph’s Indian School, you can check us out on TripAdvisor.
The pool in our rec center is undergoing some repair. It is such a blessing and provides so many good things for our students. It is good exercise during the long South Dakota winter, helps fight childhood obesity, enables water safety and swimming lessons
to be conducted; and provides the opportunity for laughter, fun, friendships and fond memories to be established. The pool is also a benefit we can share with our staff and their families, as well as the local community. Stay tuned for details and updates!
A few weeks ago, the Chamberlain Junior Achievement program held its annual golf tournament hosting 16 teams. Participants helped raise over $3,000 which will go toward the various programs sponsored by Junior Achievement. I’m happy to announce the St. Joseph’s team won the event with an 18 under par score of 54 over 18 holes. Congratulations!!
Hope everyone has a wonderful Independence Day weekend. If you are using fireworks, please stay safe and enjoy your local festivities.
boys at St Joseph’s Indian School. This summer I am working on St. Joseph’s bookmobile for the third time. We have spent two weeks traveling to Indian reservations around South Dakota delivering books in our bookmobile for children and adults. This year I am working with a Seth, a volunteer from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
Sometimes working the bookmobile you have time to set up your table before the kids get to the van and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes, kids are lined up waiting for us!
And it’s not as simple as just letting kids choose a book. You have to have all kinds of skills, like working on the children’s bikes while they are looking for a Captain Underpants book. This happened to us in Parmelee when Seth had to do some impromptu bike repair for a boy. I was happy Seth was good at that kind of thing.
He was also good at making peace with the local dogs in the
communities we visited. We brought along some dog treats, which just lasted a couple stops as the kids started passing them out to the dogs as well.
The most popular author with the men who come looking for something to read is Louis L’Amour. They really enjoy any western. We were grateful to have grandmothers pick up books for grandkids. We could really tell by the amount of time a parent or guardian looked for that “perfect book” how well they knew their child’s reading habits.
Thank you to all the donors who send books each year! I want you to know we treat your gently used books with care. There are many people on the reservations here in
South Dakota who love your books and do not have access to a bookstore or library, so the books you so generously send are much appreciated. Thank you!
It’s great to be home from my trip east to attend a graduation and ordination. I also enjoyed time visiting family.
The big excitement that happened here in the Chamberlain community, was the opening of the new pool. The pool re-opened on May 30 and raffle tickets were sold to see who would be first down the slide. It was nice to see the work of the Explorers recognized due to their fundraising help.
St. Joseph’s summer home students have visited the pool several times and have really enjoyed themselves. I asked this past Sunday at Mass how the students had enjoyed the new pool. A second grader said it was great except for the “caffeine” in the water that hurt his eyes. We all looked at him for a moment and then it dawned on us he meant to say ‘chlorine.’
Later, I came across the bookmobile group busily re-stocking the bookmobile to head out to the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Reservations. The bookmobile had just returned from visiting the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. Later this month the bookmobile will be making trips to other reservations to the north and east of St. Joseph’s.
This week, children from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation began their two weeks at St. Joseph’s Rising Eagle Day Camp. For the first two weeks of camp, our bus goes to the Crow Creek Reservation to pick up camp participants.
Each day of camp, there were at least 50 younger students and about 20 or so for grades five and higher. Kids spend the day with activities like Lakota studies, arts & crafts and swimming.
We are happy to have Kat, an upcoming sophomore at Notre Dame University as part of the day camp team. She is taking part in a Summer Service Project Internship through her university. During her time at St. Joseph’s, she’ll work with day camp, travel with St. Joseph’s Family Service Counselors as they visit our students and families, help out with the bookmobile trips as well as the first through eighth grade summer home.
The program gives firsthand experience to help Notre Dame graduates have ‘a disciplined sensibility to the poverty and oppression that burdens the lives of many.’ Those who have taken part in this program have completed their time by working in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in various programs offered through the Sioux Falls Diocese or local civic programs helping those in need. We welcome Kat to St. Joseph’s and hope she has a wonderful experience.
Next week, we are excited to welcome visitors from other Catholic elementary schools affiliated with the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The program is called SCJ Schools in
Collaboration. Representatives from schools in Wisconsin, Texas and Mississippi will be coming to St. Joseph’s to discuss issues for the future and also to join in a prayer service with a SCJ high school program in Germany.
I hope everyone has a great week. May God’s blessings continue to be with all of you for your generosity to the Lakota boys and girls attending St. Joseph’s Indian School.
Hi, I’m Tim! My wife and I are houseparents in the Carola Home at
St. Joseph’s Indian School – we spend the school year with eight high school guys.
Earlier this spring, some of St. Joseph’s high school students went on a service trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It was a fantastic opportunity to give back to the community.
The opportunity we were provided was to assist Bob and his daughter with a project to better their family and the surrounding community. Bob’s wife passed away a few years ago, but had a dream for her land. She wished that a coffee shop and retreat center be built along the highway to serve the community and the passing travelers. Bob asked for help from the folks at the Outlaw Ranch in Custer, South Dakota. The staff at the ranch have had a long relationship with Bob and his family, and were glad that students from St. Joseph’s Indian School were willing to help.
We arrived at the ranch on a Friday night. We were welcomed by Mary, the assistant director and Larry, a former Lutheran minister and volunteer at the ranch. They had a delicious meal prepared for us as soon as we arrived. After dinner we played a game of spoons with the staff to break the ice and to get to know them. We then had devotional time and were taken to our cabins. The staff was very helpful and everything was provided for us.
The next morning, we ate a hearty breakfast and packed lunch for the day. It was about a 40-minute drive from the ranch to the work site. Upon arrival, we had a brief meeting with Bob and his family about what he had planned for us that day. We were divided into two groups. One would stay at the local church to paint a sign announcing the future sight of the coffee house, the other group would go with Bob to the coffee house sight to do some work.
At the coffee house sight, Bob needed us to move some old hay bales and to deconstruct an old shade pavilion that was in the way. The boys worked hard and removed the bales and the shade before lunch. Needless to say that Bob was very grateful and impressed at the boys’ hard work and how quickly it was completed. After lunch, the entire group went to the coffee house location to clear the land of the remaining debris. The guys all worked together and finished the work by 4 that afternoon.
We returned to the church for dinner. While that was being prepared, we worked with one of Bob’s daughters on an art project. She had buffalo hide and paint for the guys to make bracelets. They all worked diligently while Bob talked to them about faith, school, and life as a Native American. When dinner was ready we enjoyed soup, fry bread, and wojapi – a warm fruit sauce for dipping fry bread. We then said our goodbyes and headed back to the Ranch for our evening devotions and sharing time.
The next morning we cleaned up our cabins and enjoyed a breakfast with the staff. It was a great time and the guys all said that they would like to do it again!
Pilamaya – thank you – for making these opportunities possible for our students!
Last week Fr. Steve Huffstetter, current Provincial of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart and past Director at St. Joseph’s Indian School, was elected to our General Council in Rome!
Fr. Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, the German Provincial, was elected our new Superior General and Fr. Steve – along with the Provincials from Poland, the Congo/Cameroon and Venezuela – were elected to be members of his Council. This election means Fr. Steve will be part of the group leading the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart for the next six years. In late August, the American Province will have an election for a new Provincial and Council. Please keep Father Steve in your prayers as he answers this new call to service in our Congregation.
I am on the road, but in the process of returning to St. Joseph’s. This past weekend I had the chance to be in Lafayette and Carmel, Indiana to take part in the Deaconate Ordination of a young man I baptized nearly 25 years ago at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Houston, Texas. My introduction at the Sunday
Mass included that I was from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota. At the end of the Mass, several people came up and mentioned they have been benefactors for many years.
I am always happy to meet those whose generosity makes our school possible for the Native American youngsters. It is rare you find yourself someplace where no one has heard about our work on the plains of South Dakota. Thank you for your support!
This week and last, children from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation are on St. Joseph’s campus daily to take part in our two-week summer day camp. Several of our staff
and high school students help out. Activities include swimming, arts & crafts, Lakota Studies and more. The campers always enjoy the swimming pool. Starting next week, children from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation will have their turn.
St. Joseph’s kitchen staff is busy this month as they provide lunch and snacks for the campers. St. Joseph’s Indian School is also the site designated in the Chamberlain community for the hot lunch Program offered to any young people in the area. The kitchen crew will be preparing lunch daily for students for approximately six weeks. We enjoy the opportunity to serve and be involved in the local community.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and your summer is enjoyable and relaxing. I am anxious to get home and check in with the students staying on campus for our summer program. The City of Chamberlain renovated the local swimming pool and it’s just opened – I can’t wait to hear what they think about the new slides and swimming area!
Thanks again for all you do for the Lakota boys and girls! We keep you in our prayers.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
Happy New Year from all the students and staff at St. Joseph’s Indian School!
I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a great start. Our students and staff are in the process of working their way back to campus as the Christmas Break comes to an end. The weather is making it a bit interesting today – we have snow and 11 degrees outside, along with blistering winds lowering the wind chill to well below zero. Word has already come from the Rosebud Indian Reservation that their bus will not be able to make it to St. Joseph’s today due to the weather. South Dakota could get up to 6 inches of snow or more before tomorrow. Please keep all those traveling in your prayers for a safe journey.
Since things were quiet around campus this past week, I would like to bring you up-to-date on some things that happened just before Christmas.
Pope Francis has dedicated 2015 to be a Year of Consecrated Life —honoring Sisters, Priests and Brothers who have made the commitment to religious life. Our Provincial, Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ, sent out a memo encouraging our Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) communities to discern ways we could make ourselves visible to the people in our areas so as to give witness and invite them to know us better.
On December 14, 2014, Fr. Bernard Rosinski, SCJ and I, along with our housekeeper, Terri, took part in the annual Parade of Homes in the Chamberlain area. It is a fundraiser for our local Cozard Memorial Library. There were five homes and one local business that people could visit.
We hosted between 60-75 people and had a great time answering questions and showing off our home —beautiful, thanks to Terri’s wonderful sense of decorating.
Later that week, we invited St. Joseph’s staff to come up and see the decorations and enjoy some cookies and hot cider. About 40-50 staff accepted our invite during this busy season. It was a wonderful experience!
On the calendar for the week ahead is the start of the third quarter at school and our celebration of Christmas with the Lakota (Sioux) boys and girls. The students are looking forward to opening their gifts your generosity provided! I always enjoy visiting the homes and seeing the expressions of joy on the children’s faces as they open their gifts. We’ll be sure to take some pictures so you can see them in next week’s blog!
With 2015 upon us, I also wanted to remind you of the donor luncheons that will be coming up, giving you an opportunity to meet some of St. Joseph’s students and staff:
January 18-19, 2015: San Francisco, California
April 25-26, 2015 : Panama City, Florida
June 7-8, 2015: New York, New York
If you are able to attend and would like additional information, please call 1-800-584-9200. We look forward to spending some time with you!
Enjoy the week ahead. May God’s blessings continue to be with you as in the New Year. Thanks again for your support and encouragement of our Lakota students and all of us. Be assured of our prayers for you and your special intentions.