Snow, Basketball and Good News from St. Joseph’s Indian School Alumni

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

The weather is in the news again.  It snowed heavily Monday afternoon and is supposed to be cold the rest of the week.  Some of the local school districts shut down early

Cody, one of St. Joseph’s seniors, is on the basketball team.
Earlier in the year, the Chamberlain boys varsity team came to St. Joseph’s for a “Red & White” Scrimmage. Coach Allan and Bryan, St. Joseph’s Rec Director, talked to the Lakota boys and girls about what it takes to be a good player and a good student.

to get students home safely, and started late this morning.

The basketball season for the students at St. Joseph’s and Chamberlain High School is winding down.

Our sixth, seventh and eighth grade teams have their final games Thursday at Todd County. St. Joseph’s Inter-city league will end Sunday.

Play-off games for the boys’ and girls’ state basketball tournament are about to begin for our high school players.

Allan, coach of the Chamberlain Cubs varsity boys, invited St. Joseph’s fourth and fifth grade teams to come into the locker room Friday to experience pre-game preparation and the coach’s pep talk to the team. Allan’s wife Shelby is a teacher at St. Joseph’s; we’re grateful for the connection and his efforts to encourage the Lakota students to be part of the high school team.

Friday night was also parents’ night! St. Joseph’s players presented flowers to their houseparents if their own families were unable to attend.

Our Alumni Liaison, Mary Jane, has recently been reviewing scholarship applications and had some great news to share about former St. Joseph’s students and scholarship recipients:

  • Andrea is working towards her LPN in Lake Andes, South Dakota.
  • Nicole is studying to be a Paramedic in Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Elijah is taking athletic training at SDSU in Brookings, South Dakota.
  • Keenan is taking Liberal Arts at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, where Sheena is also studying Business.

    Cody, a St. Joseph’s senior, is a great example of a player and student.
    Cody, one of St. Joseph’s seniors, is on the basketball team.
  • Savanna is working on a BSN in nursing at the Kramer School of Nursing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
  • Jeannine is taking nursing at Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, South Dakota, along with Michelle who is working on an AA in nursing.
  • Erika is taking Digital Film & Video Production at The Art Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Marilyn (Health Information Management) and Weylin (Transportation Tech/Heavy Duty) are both looking forward to graduation in May from Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Claudia is taking online courses working on becoming a Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York while she works for the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe as a Youth Care Manager.

Pilamayathank you – for your generosity! The gifts you give help these Native American students prepare for their futures and develop skills they can bring back to their tribes and communities. You are making a real difference!

May God continue to bless and reward you for your generosity for the ongoing needs of the Lakota boys and girls. Have a great week!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Lakota boys hit the basketball court

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we work to give our Lakota (Sioux) students the same opportunities enjoyed by children in any

St. Joseph’s boys basketball season is in full swing.
St. Joseph’s Braves took on Crow Creek, a school on a nearby Indian reservation.

school. Basketball, volleyball, football and track are a few of the sports teams they can join during the school year.

Our girls’ basketball season wrapped up just before Christmas break. Now, the boys are in full swing and St. Joseph’s Braves have had a busy schedule!

Basketball News from JoeThe seventh and eighth grade boys traveled to Lower Brule, South Dakota, on Tuesday and played two hard fought games. The boys had fun and split the pair.

The seventh grade displayed toughness on defense and won by a score of 43-26.  Joe, Wankiya, Ben and Cameron all played hard on the defensive end.  On offense, Louie, Alan, Jered, Pat and Ben all contributed to our scoring. It should be noted that Louie scored 29 points! A hard effort overall was displayed by Nathaniel and Duran.   

The eighth grade Braves played a hard fought contest but came out on the losing end with a score of 41-30.  Jay and Trenton led our scoring with 7 points each.  Keayton also scored three baskets. 

Opposing teams jump for the ball at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
Team sports teach the Lakota children important leadership and teamwork skills.

Defensively is where these eighth grade Braves excelled.  Ethan and Caden led the defensive attack, which kept us in the game for three quarters. 

We look forward to Thursday and our game against Pierre Indian Learning Center!

Basketball News from BryanThe fourth and fifth grade basketball teams tipped off their 2014 season this past week.  On January 20, both teams were in action against Chamberlain. 

The fourth grade boys came out in their first game very excited and that showed on the floor. They jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.  The defensive effort was great and the boys showed great presence on the offensive side as well as they won 36-4.  All of the boys contributed in the win and they were proud of their first victory. 

The fifth grade boys also took on the Cubs that day.  They played hard against a good Cubs team, but came up on the short end losing 31-20.  The boys all played well and it was a good learning experience for their first game of the year. 

The fifth grade team was back in action Monday night against Lower Brule and got things rolling early.  The boys jumped up by 4 points right away and held that lead all through the game, winning 20-14. 

St. Joseph’s Braves had several nice assists to contribute to their win.
Looking to pass.

On Tuesday, the fourth and fifth grade teams hosted Crow Creek.  It was the second time the fourth grade took the floor. Once again, they came out pumped up and took care of business, taking control from the tip. The Braves showed great teamwork as several nice assists lead to most of our points. They stayed strong to win 29-6. 

The fifth grade boys were up next and came out a little flat.  Some of the shots weren’t falling that normally do, but the boys hung in there and kept shooting. They came to life in the second half, playing much harder and with great confidence.  Crow Creek was just a little too much, however, and the Braves were on the short end of the score, 38-20.

Overall, the boys have showed steady improvement throughout the season.  They all show up to practice excited and ready to learn.  Great attitudes and cooperation have made the season a success so far!

Thanks to you, Native American youth are learning valuable lessons about leadership, teamwork and healthy lifestyles. Wopila tankamany thanks – for your support!

Traditional Lakota Values Meet Bullying Prevention

Hello from St. Joseph’s sixth, seventh and eighth-grade homes, where we are working on our Olweus program.  We kicked off our anti-bullying campaign back in

Claire is a houseparent at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

September, and we are currently in full swing.

Once a week, our Lakota (Sioux) students go to their homerooms for a class meeting on bullying prevention.   They have similar meetings in their homes as well. They start off by going over the four rules:

We will not bully.

We will try to help students who are being bullied.

We will try to include students who are left out.

If we know someone is being bullied, we will tell and adult at school and at home.

These simple rules are posted in homes and classrooms as steady reminders of our commitment to making St. Joseph’s Indian School a safe, bully-free zone. Meetings are used to talk about how things are going in the community and to deal with issues as they come up.  They are also times to build skills like recognizing bullying situations and intervening.

I wish I could say that we don’t have bullying at St. Joseph’s, but we do.  Here, as in other schools across the country, we face the challenge of kids with more power antagonizing kids with less power (“power” can mean size, age, status, ability or social skill).  Bullying is a result of our Circle of Courage values getting out of balance.

The Circle of Courage is based on the traditional Lakota values of Belonging, Mastery, Independence and Generosity.  These are the core values we focus on with our students:

  • Beloging – I am loved, I have a place, I am a part of the community.
  • Mastery – I can do things well, I can complete tasks.
  • Independence – I can think on my own, I am reliable.
  • Generosity – I have something to offer, I can share my gifts and talents.

The value of Generosity can become skewed so that one person takes advantage of another.  When the value of Independence gets off kilter, we forget that we need other people and that other people are as valuable as we are.  If we lose sight of Mastery, we don’t work on the skills we need to manage our relationships in a healthy, fair way.   Bullying mostly tears a hole in the fabric of Belonging, where we feel like we are part of something greater than ourselves.

Fostering these values is what will lead us back into right relationships with others.  In home and class meetings, we talk about the subtle signs of bullying and how to tell if another student is having trouble Belonging.

We encourage students to be Independent and stand up for a student who is being bullied.  It takes a lot of courage to do this, especially if the situation is ambiguous or if peers seem to approve of the behavior by laughing or minimizing.   It also takes some skill (Mastery) to know what to do or say when something isn’t right.  Something as simple as saying, “[That behavior] is not ok and it needs to stop!” is hard at first.  It takes a lot of practice before it becomes comfortable.  Role-playing in meetings gives kids a chance to try out skills and get ideas from each other.

Finally, we encourage Generosity, so our students can reach out to each other and include everyone.  “Put yourself in his or her shoes… what would you want someone else to do for you?”

This week’s topic is cyber bullying.  Our junior high students do not have regular, easy access to the internet and cell phones while they are at St. Joseph’s.  However, many of them have access to Facebook and other social media sites when they are “home home” with their families.

Soon, many of them will go on to be part of our high school program, where they will have to deal with the added responsibility and freedom of having a laptop.  Now is a good time to talk about the hazards of over-sharing on the web.  It is so much easier to be cruel in the faceless world of the internet, than it is to be hurtful face to face in real time.  It is also hard to tell when someone is “just kidding” in a brief text or comment, without the benefit of body language, tone or facial expression.

If you are reading this blog post, you are probably cyber-savvy enough to know what I am talking about.  It is a whole different world online.

Thank you for your support of St. Joseph’s and our efforts to make our campus a safe place for Native American youth.  It takes everyone in our community working and praying together to create the kind of school that we all want to be part of.


Claire, 6th-8th grade houseparent

Learning about the Dakota 38+2

Good afternoon! I am LaRayne, St. Joseph’s Native American Studies teacher.

Runners lead the Dakota 38 Memorial riders for the first 10 miles.
“Freedom Runners” ran from the starting point in Lower Brule across the Missouri River Fort Thompson, South Dakota – approximately 10 miles.

Before Christmas break, St. Joseph’s seventh and eighth grade classes learned about the Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride – what it is for, why it is done and what we could do to help. These thoughts spilled over into campus-wide education, sharing, and giving from the hearts of our students and staff.

The Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride commemorates the 38 Dakota (Sioux) warriors who were hung in Mankato, Minnesota, following the Dakota War of 1862 – the largest mass hanging in our nation’s history. Two more warriors were hung later, in relation to the same conflict. The ride of reconciliation was inspired by one man’s vision to heal the brokenness between cultures.

Two of St. Joseph’s family service counselors, Scott and Rob, brought in riders to speak to our older students and showed the movie about the Dakota 38+2 (the link to YouTube is at the end of this post).

Students discussed, questioned, learned and reflected on different aspects of this historical event, which created motivation to support the riders financially. The students set out to raise money to help defray the costs of food and shelter

Riders on horseback journeyed from Lower Brule to Mankato, South Dakota for the Dakota 38 Memorial Ride.
The riders participating in the 2013 Dakota 38 Memorial Ride.

for riders and horses, as well as occasional police escorts on busy roads between Lower Brule, South Dakota and Mankato, Minnesota.

Out of respect for our donors, we wanted this money to come from our personal pockets – not from the generous gifts of those who support St. Joseph’s.  With the help of students and staff, our efforts raised more than $1,200 from a penny war, a raffle, “Jeans Because” money and a soup and salad lunch for staff campus-wide. It was great to see the different acts of generosity and downright competitions that came alive at St. Joseph’s Indian School to support this cause!

Our littlest children (first, second and third graders) brought in little bags of coins to add to their pickle jar for the penny war.  Staff members could add coins to any age group, and this is where the competition began.  During the last minutes of the penny war, it was evident that the staff was just as competitive as the kids in wanting to win the penny war and give to a great cause!

St. Joseph’s students and staff were at the send off on December 10, 2013.
St. Joseph’s seventh and eighth graders, along with several staff, attended the send off ceremony for the Dakota 38 Memorial Ride.

The purpose behind teaching this historical event to our students is to help them understand the events of the past and how they are linked to their ancestors.  Because we want our students to understand who they are, they must learn and understand where they come from. This is just one example.

The culmination in learning about the Dakota 38+2 was to be a part of the send off ceremony for the riders who departed from Lower Brule, South Dakota on December 10. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, we made this day a class field trip for the seventh and eighth graders.

Several adults accompanied 38 students for this great day.  We were honored to be a part of smudging, singing, honoring, listening, praying and building.

Our Lakota students built relationships with one another.  They built relationships with other communities, people, youth, Lakota leaders, other adults and the horse culture.

We were honored to be in the presence of Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th generation pipe carrier of our sacred cannunpapipe – blessed with prayer while a female elder and several male singers sang prayer and horse songs for the ceremony.

We had four young men from St. Joseph’s take advantage of running a few miles with other representatives from Lower Brule and Crow Creek to serve as runners for freedom.  Next year, we hope to have many of our students and staff help send our Dakota 38+2 horse riders off by running with the pack.

As staff, we hope this day will live in the memories and lives of these kids for years to come.  In the meantime, we will do our part to honor who we are and where we are going in mind, body, heart and spirit.

Learn more about the Dakota 38 by watching the trailer for the documentary on YouTube.

Learning? No, that was just fun.

We Serve and Teach.  We Receive and Learn.  This is our motto at St. Joseph’s Indian School.   Here we are dedicated to lifelong learning and nurturing the whole child.  That is why teaching and learning expands well beyond the classroom.

Problem solving and teamwork are a few of the many lessons youth learn at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
The Native American children at St. Joseph’s learn life skills, like teamwork and problem solving.

Today is Wednesday night, so typically that would be an Enrichment night, except that our Lakota students have gone home for Thanksgiving break.  Every Wednesday night, St. Joseph’s homes have activities to round out student learning.

The skills students learn can be intangible—like  building healthy relationships and dealing with peer pressure— or more concrete tasks—managing money or  addressing envelopes.  The activities are age-appropriate.  High school students have Sons and Daughters of Tradition, a culturally based group with a talking circle and visiting Lakota (Sioux) elders.  The younger homes have workbooks chock full of lessons and activities.

I love doing activities with the kids.  One week we talked about hygiene: why we work so much at keeping homes and bodies clean, and some of the issues that come up with poor hygiene practices.  For example, sharing eyeliner can cause an outbreak of pinkeye. L

Another week we talked about the difference between being assertive and aggressive.  The lessons tied together pretty well – if you have to approach a peer about a hygiene issue, how can you do that it in an assertive, non-shaming way. “Umm, would you like a breath mint? Or perhaps some perfume?”

Honestly though, the Masters of Enrichment are our Rec center staff.  It is one thing to talk to kids about cooperation.  The students can brainstorm lists and fill out worksheets in the home, but when it comes to actually practicing the skill, no one makes it more fun than Brian, Andy and Shoney.

I remember one particularly rough week with the 6-8th grade girls.  We had done some worksheets on friendships and qualities we look for in a friend.  This didn’t stop them from bickering and foot-dragging when it came time to help a peer with a kitchen task.  “It’s not myyy joooooobbbbb!”

After our designated hour of class time in the home, we had a special hour of learning at the Rec center. Shoney and Andy took them outside for some friendly competition.  They were given the task of standing shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot, and walking about 10 yards while keeping their foot touching their neighbor’s. It was the Stevens girls versus the Pinger girls in a race against time.  They shouted encouragement.  They strategized.  They coaxed.  They urged.  They kept it together.

The next task was to fit all 12 girls into the circumference of a hula-hoop without touching the ground outside the hoop.  Suddenly their differences became assets, and their ability to get close to each other became critical.   The tallest girl stood in the middle and the smaller girls hung off her like a maypole.  The others squeezed and tugged and balanced on one foot to make it work.  In less than 20 seconds, they accomplished what an hour of “talking” about friendship failed to do.  The girls pulled together.  They didn’t leave anybody out of the circle.

At prayers that night, the girls shared that they liked doing the activity.  Did they realize it was all about learning?  No.  I think it was more like putting cheese sauce on broccoli.  All they knew was that they liked it, and that they would try it again if it were offered again.  Works for me.

Last night we cleaned the homes as the kids prepare to go home for break. Laundry! Dusting! Cleaning out the fridge!  Not as exciting as relay races, but important things to learn nonetheless.

We have so much to be thankful for in the upcoming days.  We’re looking forward to a nice break and visits with family and friends.  I hope that all the friends of St. Joseph’s also have an enjoyable Thanksgiving.  Wopila tankamany thanks!  Claire

Visiting with a St. Joseph’s alum

Greetings from South Dakota!

First of all, our thoughts and prayers are with those in the Midwest who experienced such awful weather over the weekend.  The loss of life and destruction are truly tragic.

Chamberlain High School presented their annual play this past weekend, Father of the Bride.  Two of St. Joseph’s high school students were in the cast and four were part of the stage and lighting crew. As an added bonus, St. Joseph’s students Amber and Ashley created the set designs! In Dramatic Arts class, the director divided students into teams of two and let them come up with design ideas for the play. Amber and Ashley’s design was chosen – way to go, girls!

Basketball season is underway at St. Joseph’s, and the Lakota girls in 4th through 8th grade have taken to the hardwood courts.  On Saturday, the 4th, 5th and 6th graders played their counterparts from Chamberlain Elementary.  There was a good turnout of family and friends on both sides to cheer them on.

The Chamberlain girls had some tall players, but St. Joseph’s girls had some real spunk and a ‘never say die’ attitude that helped them come back from early deficits and secure victory in the 4th and 6th grade games by one point each.  The 5th graders, unfortunately, came up just 4 points short.  This week, all our teams will be on the road playing schools in the local area.

I had a nice surprise during the basketball games on Saturday. I got to visit with the mother of a current student who was a student here herself in the late 1990’s.  Fancee was a star basketball player at St. Joseph’s. Now, she is married with four children and works as a police detective on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

She shared that her time at St. Joseph’s Indian School really prepared her for working with the Native American youth whom she now encounters in her profession.  It was truly great to visit with her and hear how her years at St. Joseph’s helped her prepare for the future!

I hope each of you has a great week and that God’s blessings remain with you. Pilamayathank you – for your concern and generosity towards the Native American students at St. Joseph’s Indian School.  Know that you and your intentions have been remembered in our Novena of Masses, November 11-19.

A little snow on the way?

Dear Benefactors,

It looks like our Indian Summer may be over in South Dakota – that dreaded word ‘snow’ is in the forecast.  It won’t be a lot, but it does remind us we are moving later into the year and our warm, sunny days will not be around for a while.  We saw some evidence of snow and slush yesterday up in Fort Pierre on my way to a board meeting in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.  We visited the abused women’s shelter and residential care center for Native American youth in that community, both sponsored by St. Joseph’s Indian School.  They are doing wonderful work as they reach out to the local community on a variety of fronts.

Several of the homes for St. Joseph’s older students got together and headed to Mitchell, South Dakota to go through a haunted house and pay a visit to McDonald’s as well.  They had a great time!  With our Halloween party and costume contest coming this Thursday, it may have given them some ideas for costumes.

Last Wednesday, I was invited by the local Kiwanis to be their guest speaker. I shared an update on recent happenings on campus, encouraging them to visit our new Alumni and Historical Center. I also filled them in on Fr. Steve’s new role as Provincial for the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Our students worked with an artist in residence last week to create Christmas ornaments for the National Christmas tree in Washington, DC! Currently 48 ornaments are nearly ready to go. St. Joseph’s Indian School is the only school in South Dakota to take part in decorating the tree, so this was a very special opportunity indeed. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project!

On the sports front, the Chamberlain High School football team has qualified for the State playoffs! The first game will be tonight. They are hosting Todd County, whom they recently beat. We hope they are able to repeat the victory.  Several St. Joseph students are contributing their talent and skills.  Go Cubs!

Sunday, our inter-city basketball league got started. This program gives St. Joseph’s Lakota students and local 6th, 7th and 8th graders the chance to play basketball on Sundays.  They play together on four teams and compete against each other every Sunday afternoon.  We see it as an important way for the students to meet each other now so that when they enter high school they’ll know each other a bit better.

The experience of playing together also helps them to be aware of each other’s talent, which is great in high school.  The upcoming boys’ varsity basketball team for Chamberlain High School should be a good team this year. Last year, the “C” team was undefeated; it had several St. Joseph’s players on the team, so we’re looking forward to an exciting year!


I hope each of you has a great week.  May God’s blessings be with you now and always.

God bless,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Everybody Powwow!!

WOW! What a weekend!

The Great Spirit really blessed St. Joseph’s Indian School this past weekend with great weather for our 37th Annual   Powwow.  Many new friendships were made, and over 400 visitors were given the chance to see where their generous donations go and how they impact the lives of our Lakota (Sioux) students.

The festivities kicked off on Wednesday, with Fr. Steve returning for the weekend.  The students and staff had an ‘official’ going away gathering that gave everyone time for tears, handshakes and sharing memories.  Thursday morning, we were up bright and early to take part in the bus trip to the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations.

Friday, the morning got started with breakfast at the Development Office.  Tours were also included so visitors could see how the mailings go out and how the donations are handled when they come in.

Later, at the Rec Center, there were three different cultural presentations:

  • How to make a dreamcatcher
  • Traditional Native American foods
  • A drum presentation

Each session filled quickly.  Many took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and the new addition, the Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi (We Stood Here in the Beginning) Historical and Alumni Center. 

Visits to the school and classrooms, with the Lakota boys and girls acting as tour guides, took up the early afternoon prior to the crowning of St. Joseph’s royalty  — Eagle Staff Bearer,  Miss St. Joseph’s and Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s.  The afternoon concluded with a demonstration of Hoop Dancing by Kevin Locke who told stories, taught us sign language and employed 28 hoops in his dance.  The Friday evening banquet at Cedar Shores was jam packed with 375 guests.  There was a drawing for a Lakota Star Quilt and a silent auction for a painting by Mr. Del Iron Cloud, a St. Joseph’s alumnus.

Saturday was absolutely awesome weather-wise with sunshine and gentle breezes.  Early guests on campus that morning had the chance to visit several of St. Joseph’s homes prior to the Grand Entry at noon.  All veterans were invited to take part as the colors were presented and then shared their name and branch of service.

We had a great turn out of youth dancers – 191 in all – and all the practice our students put in paid off. Twenty St. Joseph’s students claimed prize money, with five winning first place!

Everyone enjoyed a buffalo stew supper after the powwow.

The evening ended with an honor dance for Fr. Steve, which began with a blessing for him in his new assignment as Provincial of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the United States.

There was a full house for Mass on Sunday morning, which began with some of St. Joseph’s dancers – wearing full regalia – leading us in as our drum group provided the entrance music. Many pictures were taken and then our guests were free to visit the museum again or begin their journey home.

As I shook hands with those leaving Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel, many mentioned they are looking forward to coming again next year.  Our students and staff hope they are able to return and that others, who were unable to come this year, might make it next year.  St. Joseph’s 38th Annual WacipiPowwow – will be September 12-14, 2014.  I hope you all can join us!

See more moments from the weekend on Flickr, Facebook and YouTube!


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


P.S.   One thing that really impressed me was how many individuals or church groups brought donations of school supplies, clothing and other needed items.  Several mentioned they have been doing this for years.  Pilamayathank you.

St. Joseph’s Royalty were named Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s powwow.
Hope, Miss St. Joseph’s and Sasha, Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s, are pictured with Fr. Anthony and Ben, St. Joseph’s Eagle Staff Bearer.

Lakota students take part in youth triathlon

Good morning from South Dakota!
All I can say is ‘God bless whomever invented air conditioning!’
The Chamberlain area is facing some extremely hot weather. Saturday was in the mid-90s, but luckily we had a bit of a breeze to “cool” things down. Sunday was so hot that, when I crossed campus about 1:30 PM, not a single Lakota student was outside! I’m sure the swimming pool was full, and that several St. Joseph’s homes went to American Creek beach to cool off in the Missouri River. It was still over 100 as late as 6:30 PM, and it is supposed to be hot again today.
On Saturday morning, 60 or so youth between the ages of 7 to 15 took part in the 6th annual Chamberlain Youth Triathlon, which involved a swim, bike ride and run. St. Joseph’s Indian School was well represented, with at least one of our Native American students winning medals in each age category. The Raphael Home (1st-3rd grade boys) and Summerlee Home (4th & 5th grade girls) had most of their entrants bring home a medal. We’re so proud of everyone who participated!
The Development Office passed along a number of prayer requests they have received from you and those who have visited our Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. I’ll divide these up and pass them along to our students so they can keep your requests in their home prayers each evening. You are always remembered at our Mass on Sunday as we ask God to bless and reward you for your generosity.
Stay cool and let’s keep the fire fighters who are dealing with all the forest fires in the West in our prayers, that the Lord will keep them safe and provide some beneficial weather to help them get the blazes under control.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Quality Time and Positive Risk-Taking

Can I just say I love working on the weekend? I know most people would hate to come to work on the weekend, so I don’t want to make anyone jealous of my job.  But really– I LOVE WORKING ON THE WEEKEND! This is because weekends are full of quality time.  I find that, the more quality time we spend with the kids, the less conflict they have and the more positive their attitude is when they have to take care of their daily responsibilities.

This past weekend we were on duty in the Afra Home (1st – 3rd grade girls) and got to bond with our sweet Lakota girlies. We had SO much fun!  American Island Days was a little festival in Chamberlain at the American Creek Campground, which is just a few blocks from St. Joseph’s Indian School. We took advantage of all the events taking place. The best part is that they were FREE! With 12 kids, costs are always high when going out. It was such a blessing to have so much fun at no cost. The girls had a blast on the inflatables, zip line, and on the boat rides provided by the South Dakota National Guard.

It was interesting to see our girls’ little personalities. Leave any stereotypes at the door if you come to St. Joseph’s! Our kids are not all the same, that’s for sure. Although, one thing I have noticed since coming here is that many of them fear trying new things. In fact, research shows troubled or at-risk youth can be afraid of the unknown and the new.

Most of them had never been on a boat or had no idea what a zip line was. Jachin and I had our “encouragement switches” on the whole time. The girls needed lots of reassurance and were rather apprehensive. As we waited in line, I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone would back out at the last minute. I am delighted to tell you that all girls participated in the boat ride and all but two got on the zip line!

I’ve been doing some reading on positive risk taking.  Studies also reveal that young people who take positive risks are more likely to avoid destructive behaviors than are those who do not. They are also more likely to describe themselves in positive terms and to say they often feel happy. This is why this weekend I was especially proud of our girls. I was really proud that they were able to step outside of their comfort zones to take positive risks.

Here’s a video and some pictures highlighting some of the fun we had:

At dinner, we always go around the table and we each share what the best part of our day was as well as the worst part. On that day, nearly all the girls said their best part was the zip line and the boat ride (what they were originally most afraid of). Go figure! They also loved when Jachin was wearing a velcro suit (seen on the video) and he made us laugh.  I have to agree. I laughed obnoxiously hard.

P.S: the girls are so excited about our upcoming annual powwow! More on their dancing next time : )