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!
Last week in the school library, we celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. I started out each class by asking the students what they already knew about MLK. Some of them knew quite a lot, and others (depending on their age) not so much. They were quick to volunteer what they did know: He was shot! He worked to make whites and blacks get along! He had a dream!
I talked to them about what King’s dream was—that his children would not be judged by their skin color, but by their insides… “the content of their character.” Then I asked the students to write down what their dream for the future was: two sentences, please, or one sentence plus a picture for the younger students. I let them know that the dreams would be posted in the library and in the hallway.
Asking kids about their dreams is exciting because you never know what you’re going to get. Some students were confused because they “could never remember their dreams when they woke up.” This led to some discussion about the difference between your dreams at night, and the things that you hope about for the future.
Dreams ran the gamut from immediate (Claire will give me some candy) to long term (I want to go to college, get a job and take care of my family). There were a lot of future NBA/ NFL hopefuls, as well as potential nurses, teachers and doctors. Some students wanted to meet (or beat) their icons, like Stephen Curry and Adele. Others wanted to vote for a Native American presidential candidate. And one kid wanted to go the evil genius route and rule the world. Bwa ha ha.
Many students had dreams of seeing better things in the world, like no war, bullying or ISIS. They would like people to stop fighting and doing drugs. They dreamt of having their Lakota (Sioux) culture and language preserved, and of going to powwows and sewing regalia. One student wished that single moms didn’t have to work so much that they couldn’t spend time with their kids. Another dreamed of having lots of money so they could help out their family.
Some students were quite adamant that they had “no dreams.” I wasn’t quite sure whether they meant that they were in full-on despair, or that their “dream” was to avoid having to write two sentences. Maybe both?
It is risky to talk about dreams, because maybe they won’t come true. Or maybe people will laugh. Or maybe their dreams have been stomped on enough that they aren’t worth having. I don’t know. I just dared them to dream anyway—even if it was just that we would have candy for lunch.
What I do know is this: being at St. Joseph’s helps these students reach for their dreams. They are able to be connected to their culture, get an education and give back to their communities. Maybe playing for the St. Joseph’s Braves or the Chamberlain Cubs is their first step towards playing for the Golden State Warriors, and maybe graduating middle school/high school is their first step towards a teaching degree.
Thank you for supporting our students and staff as we reach for the future.
What a week here at St. Joseph’s! You may recall we were hit with over six inches of snow a week ago Monday and now we are wondering where it all went! The snow was on the ground for several days, but when area temperatures began to rise, it melted quickly. However, do not fear… the students were able to get some sledding in, snowballs thrown and snow forts built!
To help those in Dancing Dolls and Dudes have enough time to get ready for their big recital debut on Sunday, we moved our normal Sunday morning Mass to Saturday afternoon. At the end of Mass, St. Nicholas, St. Joseph’s own President, Mike, stopped by to visit with the children and pass out goodies to those who could answer some questions he had. Everyone was excited seeing Saint Nick, knowing he’ll soon be making his rounds on Christmas Eve.
The Dancing Dolls and Dudes recital went well! The Dolls were divided by age and each group performed two or three dance numbers. The young men taking part all danced together. A few days later, at the end of the Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we had our dancers stand and took a moment to congratulate them on their performance with a round of applause.
The Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center was recently honored by the South Dakota Department of Tourism with the South Dakota Great Service Star for 2015. This is an award given to tourist spots within the state that give exceptional customer service. We want to extend our congratulations to Dixie and her team at the museum for their efforts! They truly do a fantastic job.
Some of our sixth, seventh and eighth grade boys participate in the local Explorers group with young men their age from the local public school. Every year, the young men ‘take to the town’ and perform odd jobs as a way to raise funds for a worthy cause. This year, they began their quest to raise money to assist in purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED) for the Chamberlain Middle School. After they began saving their money, they became aware of someone many of the boys knew who had just been diagnosed with cancer and decided to make that person the main focus of their money raising efforts! They will still be making a donation for the AED, but the boys are all excited to give back to someone who means a lot to them!
With Christmas getting closer, various decorations are going up around campus. The nativity scene was put up where the tipi stands just outside the Akta Lakota Museum. Several of the Homes have also gotten into the holiday spirit and the rest will get busy this weekend so they’ll all have everything in place by the time Christmas break arrives.
I hope your time of preparation for Christmas is moving along smoothly. While it is nice to get all the externals—baking, cards, gifts and decorations—going, may we take a moment to get ourselves ready so there will be room in our hearts when the Prince of Peace comes. Have a great week.
It’s another lovely day in the neighborhood… although the evil word SNOW has been mentioned on the weather reports! We have yet to see any and are thankful for mild fall weather.
Since the Lakota (Sioux) youth have begun second quarter, we recently held an awards ceremony for quarter one. The rewards for A and B honor rolls and perfect attendance are a certificate and a WalMart gift card. If a student is on the honor roll with perfect attendance next quarter, the award may increase in value! We also have a contest between age groups to see which class can achieve the highest GPA (Grade Point Average). The one with the highest average gets a pizza party and hangs the award plaque in their classroom.
We honored all veterans and those actively serving our country during Sunday Mass at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. THANK YOU just isn’t enough for their sacrifices.
Last Saturday, the Chamberlain Science Club hosted the 1st Annual Hot Chocolate 5K Walk/Run, and it began here on St. Joseph’s campus. It was a way to celebrate Native American Month and learn about the importance of exercise all year long. Sanford Hospital set up an informational booth and there were baked goodies and warm drinks for all those taking part.
Students are in the process of learning to sing two Christmas carols in the Lakota language — Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Aside from what they are learning in class, singing songs is a nice way to keep developing the Lakota language skills of our students.
This week, St. Joseph’s is honored to welcome Mr. Lawrence Diggs, our current Artist in Residence. He is helping our students express themselves through poetry!
St. Joseph’s was honored to have one of our Native American Studies teachers, Allen, give a presentation on historical trauma in American Indian History to a college class at Dakota Wesleyan University. He shared how early boarding schools tried to negate Native American culture and heritage and ‘mold’ them into the white culture by cutting their hair and not letting them speak their native languages. He also spoke about high rates of unemployment, suicide and sexual assaults currently present on the reservations.
He also shared positive notes about how the reservations are working hard to combat suicides and offer resources to those who are struggling. Change will not happen overnight, but he is happy that steps are being taken to get things headed in the right direction and he is proud to be part of that process. Read more in the article that appeared in the Mitchell Daily Republic!
We hope you have a wonderful week. Say pilamaya – thank you – to a veteran and let them know you are grateful for their service to our country.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
PS: The picture shows our tree of remembrance in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel with the names of our Beloved Dead whom we are keeping in prayer this month.
Nearly 40 girls in grades 1-6 recently finished this year’s gymnastics program at St.
Joseph’s Indian School!
We don’t have any competitions during our season. Instead, we focus on helping the girls have fun while they are being active, learning coordination, body awareness and image, plus persistence and perseverance! After two months of practice I saw lots of improvement and, of course, lots of laughs.
Our gymnastics time concluded with a performance at the Rec Center for the entire community and family members. The girls showcased their skills in tumbling, dance, vault, bar and beam. This was the second
year we held a performance for the community. We were very excited to be able to expand the performance this year, thanks to donations of different equipment.
Part of the goal of the program is to prepare the elementary girls to participate in high school gymnastics if they wish.
This week, the girls started a two-week gymnastic
camp held by the local high school gymnastics team. I have been working directly with the high school coaches to coordinate programs so St. Joseph’s students get the most benefit possible from the camp. In the future, we hope to provide our students more choices for athletics as they progress through middle and high school.
Thank you for your support of these great opportunities for the Lakota children!
My name is Chelsey and this is my first “official” year at St. Joseph’s Indian School. While finishing up my Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Resource Development
last year, I was an intern here. I grew up right here in Chamberlain, South Dakota, however, and have been familiar with the school my entire life.
I have always enjoyed participating in activities on campus and a trip to the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center is still one of my favorite ways to spend a day. I’ve always had an interest in the Native American culture, and now I have the privilege of working with the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families on a daily basis.
When I first considered going into the counseling field, I asked to shadow a few of the counselors at St. Joseph’s. As I was asking many questions about the field and how things are done at St. Joseph’s, I remember one counselor telling me he could sum it up in one word…relationships.
After being at St. Joseph’s for a little over a year, I could not agree more. There are so many relationships that impact my job and daily responsibilities.
The most important relationship in my life is that with God. I feel so blessed to work at a place where I can openly share my faith while participating in mass, prayer services, and home prayers.
Relationships with the students are next, especially in my position as a Family Service Counselor. My favorite times during the week are spent in sessions with the students and after school in their homes.
Closely following the relationships with the students, is the relationships I have with their parents/guardians. One of my main responsibilities as a Family Service Counselor is to be the main contact person with the families. This allows me work through the struggles of each student with their parent or guardian, and also join in celebrating their successes.
Working at St. Joseph’s also gives me relationships with my co-workers and other staff who are all working toward the same mission: to educate the Native American youth for life – mind, body, heart and spirit.
St. Joseph’s Indian School is truly a family of its own and I am so honored to work for this organization.
Each day, I see examples of the staff coming together with different ideas, activities and projects to further the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School and serve those around us.
With the years to come, I look forward to strengthening my relationship with God, building long-lasting relationships with the students and their families, and continue to fulfill the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School with the wonderful staff that surround me.
There was a nip in the air this morning that gave a hint that fall is on the way. We had several warm days last week and got some much needed rain. The rain has helped bring back some color to our grass. A few local cattle seemed to believe the old saying, ‘the grass is greener on the other side.’ Saturday morning, we discovered about a dozen had broken through the fence and were grazing on St. Joseph’s football field!
Last week, students and staff gathered in front of the school building to have a group photo taken in the design of the Morning Star, also found in the Lakota Star Quilt.
St. Joseph’s sports teams are getting ready for the opening of their seasons. Our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students started volleyball, football and cross country practices this week.
Speaking of the cross country team… The other night I heard voices up at the SCJ Community House where Fr. Bernie and I live. All of a sudden, 15-20 youngsters and several adults came around the corner of the house. It was a bit of a shock since we don’t usually have many visitors!
I found out later that our rec center staff had plotted out a new cross country path that led them up the hill where the house is. The team members not only run around campus but also up and down hills for better training. Some of them stopped for a break at the top of our hill before finishing the practice for the day.
Some of our runners got in some extra practice over the weekend as they took part in the Chamberlain Youth Triathlon. They were able to compete on teams or individually. Two of our teams won first place in their divisions and several individuals also won medals!
Everyone is getting excited as our 38th Annual Powwow draws closer. Our students have been practicing their dancing and the staff has been going over their notes to see where adjustments can be made to improve the experience for our guests. Today, some of the student tour guides are having a practice run for the school tours they will provide.
The final touches are being put on the new playground and will be dedicated on the morning of the powwow. I hope you can come and enjoy the weekend with us September 12-13! If you still need information, call 1-800-584-9200 or visit stjo.org/powwow.
If you cannot attend, please keep us in your prayers that we’ll have nice weather – just like Goldilocks said, ‘not too hot, not too cold, but just right.’
Have a great week! May everyone have a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. If you are traveling, please drive safely.
Earlier in June, St. Joseph’s held its first annual Alumni & Staff Reunion!
Both former students and staff enjoyed the day as we visited and renewed friendships. We talked about our time at St. Joseph’s Indian School and shared what we are doing today. It was wonderful to catch up!
Other activities included lunch, campus tours and going through hundreds of old pictures! We had a total of 19 alumni along with some members of their families and 15 staff members, past and present. The day went by fast.
We had students scattered throughout six different decades:
Jerry came from Elk River, Minnesota. He remembered weeding the gardens and gathering the crops! He graduated from St. Joseph’s in 1959.
Ron came from Eagle Butte, South Dakota and attended St. Joseph’s in 1963-64. He is currently a maintenance mechanic. Ron’s three sons also attended St. Joseph’s in the 1990’s.
o Crystal graduated from St. Joseph’s in 1979. She works in customer service in Mitchell, South Dakota. Crystal visits campus frequently.
o Madeline works with students in the recreation department at Crow Creek Tribal School north of Chamberlain. She returns to campus at least twice a year.
o Rose is from Pierre and works at Walmart. Rose visits campus on a regular basis.
o LeeAnn is from Rapid City. She is self-employed, running her own house cleaning service. She returns every year for St. Joseph’s annual powwow.
o Terri is from Mission, South Dakota and is a self-employed domestic engineer. Terri came with her husband and their son. Terri has been back to St. Joseph’s, but not for over 10 years.
o Stanley attended with his two sisters, Madeline and Janice.
Muffy lives in Stephan, South Dakota, north of Chamberlain. She works in the recreation program at Crow Creek Tribal School. She returns to campus several times during the school year. Muffy graduated from Chamberlain High School through St. Joseph’s High School program.
Nancy lives in Chamberlain, South Dakota and is the manager at Subway. She comes back to campus for various events and has taken part in our career day program.
Janice lives in Rapid City, South Dakota and is a full time student. She has received awards through St. Joseph’s scholarship program. She plans to obtain her two year degree this spring and go on to law school.
Claudia lives in Reliance, South Dakota. She is a youth counselor and also takes online classes. She also receives scholarships through St. Joseph’s program.
Terry lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He works in a warehouse and is a delivery driver. This was his first visit back to St. Joseph’s Indian School after graduating in 1988.
o Glenn lives in Chamberlain, South Dakota and is a custodian at St. Joseph’s. His two daughters currently attend St. Joseph’s.
o Destiny is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is a homemaker. She has returned to campus on several occasions to visit with our junior high and high school students. She was part of our high school program.
o L’Jay is from Ridgeview, South Dakota. He works in Eagle Butte as a supply technician.
o Chad is from Dupree, South Dakota. He works as a construction foreman in the Eagle Butte area.
Students from the 2000’s:
o Tyler lives in Chamberlain, South Dakota and works at McDonald’s.
o Katrina lives in Chamberlain, South Dakota and is a full time mother.
At the end of the day, everyone expressed how glad they were to have come, vowing to bring other friends and alumni back to campus for the next reunion!
You should be able to give away your most cherished possession without your heart beating faster.
This defines the value of generosity in the Circle of Courage. In helping others, youth create their own proof of worthiness and make a positive contribution to another human life.
Six young ladies from St. Joseph’s Indian School set out to do just that before school ended. To put generosity in action, they spent a Saturday serving at The Banquet in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Several weeks earlier, I tentatively asked the girls about an outing that would focus on volunteering. Since their ideal outing generally involves shopping and eating at a fast food restaurant, I was surprised when I received a resounding “yes!”
The Banquet’s mission is to provide food and fellowship through their ministry. They provide a safe place where people can gather, receive nourishment and experience love in action.
The day of our visit, the girls participating woke up early and were outside at 8:25 for the ride to Sioux Falls. Once they settled on who was going to sit where and seat belts were on, we took off. The other houseparent and I knew that music and volume were going to be the central issue for the next two hours.
Arriving exactly on time, we went in and put on nametags. All the volunteers sat at tables while the manager announced the groups volunteering. In all, there were about 40 volunteers. When it was announced that students from St. Joseph’s were present, everyone turned to look at these young Native American women who had given up part of their Saturday. Several of them hid behind their hands, sheepish at the attention. They were the youngest volunteers in attendance.
Everyone was encouraged to talk with visitors at The Banquet. Additional instructions were given for our safety, such as not sharing our last names, not giving out money and not offering transportation. A volunteer offered up a prayer and then we went to our different areas.
In the next hour, approximately 290 people came through the doors. Of these, 48 were children. The girls poured 17 gallons of milk, plus coffee and water. They made
conversation where possible and at the end of the hour, they helped sweep and put up chairs.
Everyone met for the closing prayer. The manager made a point of saying the “St. Joseph’s girls rocked” and everyone applauded them. We were certainly invited back to help again sometime.
What I really wanted to know was what the students thought. And would they do it again? Again, I received a resounding “yes!”
Here is how they described their day of generosity:
Cool – I really liked it a lot.
It felt cool to help others.
It felt good to give back.
I liked it because I got to do something positive.
One of The Banquet’s visitors told the girls to stay in school and get as much education as she could because that’s the best way to get what she wanted.
Thank you for providing opportunities for the Lakota boys and girls to serve others! Without your generosity, these life lessons would not be possible.
Things are kind of quiet right now as our elementary school students (grades 1-8) are on spring break. St. Joseph’s high school students attend Chamberlain
High School, and they are still in session.
When classes let out on Friday and spring break officially kicked off, I rode along to the Pine Ridge area in southwestern South Dakota to take some of the Lakota students home. We try to send two staff members in each van or mini bus, and it was very helpful to have an extra staff person this time! One of the student’s relatives was late getting to the pick-up spot in Martin, South Dakota. I was able to wait with her while the others continued on to Pine Ridge. As we drove back through the Rosebud Indian Reservation, it was nice to see some of the towns our students come from.
Three of our high school girls recently made a trip to the University of Minnesota in Morris (UM-M). Ashley is already accepted to the college and will take pre-veterinary classes; Amber and Michelle went along to support Ashley and check out the campus. The nice thing about UM-M is that, once a Native American student is accepted, tuition is paid in full. Of course, some expenses still remain, like books, room and board and incidentals, but tuition is a huge help.
Pam, who chaperoned the trip, works with the juniors and seniors to help them find college programs they might consider entering. She makes several of these trips with our students at this time of year.
We are disappointed to report the Chamberlain Cubs’ basketball season is over.
The Lady Cubs went up against the team from Winner last week … the team lived up to their town’s name and defeated the Lady Cubs to knock them out of further contention.
On Monday night, the boys took on Cheyenne-Eagle Butte to see who would be punching their ticket to the Boys’ State Basketball Championship. Chamberlain held its own until the third quarter and then ran into trouble with turnovers, fouls and poor shooting. The Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves were able to win the game at the free throw line and will move on to Sioux Falls for the State A tournament.
Though we’ll be losing some good senior players, we are excited about next year. Those lost will be replaced by Junior Varsity players, and the Cubs’ JV squad has not lost a game in two years!
On Monday, I attended the Board Meeting at Cheyenne River Indian Outreach (CRIO) in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. St. Joseph’s and CRIO are both operated by the Priests of the Sacred Heart and work together in a variety of ways. CRIO operates a shelter on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation for those suffering from domestic violence (the only one of its kind for 100 miles in any direction), a thrift store and a residence for at-risk youth ages 10-17.
Just a few days ago, St. Joseph’s received a call for help from CRIO – their thrift store shelves were nearly bare. They would soon be unable to help meet the needs of the community in terms of clothing and household items.
Thanks to you, St. Joseph’s was able to send a load of clothing and other needed items to help re-stock the shelves.
Your faithful support makes a real difference to so many people in need. Pilamaya – thank you!
May God continue to bless and help you have a reflective and beneficial Lent. You are remembered in our prayers.