Every Tuesday for the next few months, we will be highlighting one of our 20 homes on St. Joseph’s campus.
Here at St. Joseph’s, we provide nationally-accredited home-away-from-homes for Native American children in grades one through twelve.
There are no dorms at St. Joseph’s. Children live in one of our campus homes with two specially-trained houseparents. They live and play together as any family would. The boys and girls learn life skills and enjoy spending time with their ‘St. Joseph’s family’.
In 2015, St. Joseph’s began our High School Senior Home program. Hogebach, our senior home, provides opportunities for current high school seniors to learn the skills and responsibilities they will need to be successful after graduation.
Nancy, Al, Melissa and Aaron are St. Joseph’s Senior Advisors.
Nancy and Al have been houseparents at St. Joseph’s for four years. This year is extra special since they have been with the four senior girls since their freshman year! They have enjoyed getting to know both the girls and boys even more this year.
Our high school Lakota Nation Invitational Knowledge Bowl Team travelled to Rapid City, South Dakota on December 14th to compete in the 40th Anniversary of the Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI).
With the expectation of a snow storm and below zero temperatures, we decided to head to the competition a day early and were able to beat the storm. The next day, the storm worsened and halted travel for our Archery and Hand Games Team, who were still on campus at St. Joseph’s Indian School. This left our Knowledge Bowl Team as the sole representative of St. Joseph’s.
St. Joseph’s team- consisting of Lily, Justin, Danielle, Alyssa and Taelonna- began the competition with a ‘victory’ over Pierre Riggs High School on a forfeit, due to the declining weather conditions and their inability to make it to Rapid City.
Our next match was with Pine Ridge, which we won convincingly. We started out tentative, but in the end won by a score of 9-2.
We have been waiting to allow our Native American students to take part in what used to be a very common, easily created ceremony. With a burn ban in effect since the summer here in South Dakota, and without a staff person to be able to pour water for the sacred ceremony, Inipi – the Lakota rite of purification – was a rare occurrence at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
We now have a Cultural Specialist on staff to help our students, families and staff learn more about the culture of our Oceti Sakowin people.
Dave came to us in September. In the classroom, he has taught us to play the old hand games and has also worked with the boys and girls on the drum. He shares as much as he can to help staff learn too.
In addition to spending time in classrooms, Dave pours water for the Inipi ceremony. He was able to do this for our older boys (sixth grade through high school) just days after the burn ban was lifted. It is a ceremony of prayer. All areas of living beings are a part: rocks, people, four legged and winged. It is a gateway to learning more language and culture for our students.
We will take Dave’s expertise to the Lakota Nation Invitational in the hand games competition on December 21. A group of students who have grasped the hand game songs and way of playing will travel to Rapid City, South Dakota for the day and then off for a long Christmas break. We’ll let you know how they fair at the games!
Our new Cultural Specialists brings Hand Games to St. Joseph’s Indian School.
David Z. is bringing knowledge, fun and more culture to St. Joseph’s Indian School! Dave is an elder who carries knowledge from a variety of areas. One of the areas is in the songs of the Lakota (Sioux). He sings at the drum for ceremonies, wacipis – powwows – and also knows hand games.
We plan on taking a team of students to the Lakota Nation Invitational in December for hand games; the students are very excited about this opportunity! On Monday, October 8, we celebrated Native American Day in South Dakota. At St. Joseph’s, we played hand games during our Native American Studies classes. This day also served as a try out for the traveling hand game team. Students are asked to learn a hand game song and the rules that apply to the game.
On a broader scale, Dave will be helping spread culture, knowledge and curriculum to the organization as a whole. We look forward to the opportunity for Dave, the students, our organization and communities near and far.