To pray inside our inipi

I’ve heard about Christmas in July, but today was Christmas in May. Sometimes life here means working ahead or doing things out of season. The Christmas pictures that we took in last winter we were going to use for next year’s Christmas letters didn’t quite turn out as we’d hoped, so Emily, our photographer and creative technician, asked me if I could pose for a few more.

The Dennis home (1st-3rd grade girls) were good sports and decorated a tree and wrapped up some presents. When the kids came home from school we gathered around the tree and sang some Christmas carols, which the kids thought was fun and silly. We found a book of Christmas stories and I sat on the floor and read to them. While they were disappointed that they didn’t get any actual presents, like Santa I told them to be good for goodness’ sake, and they’ll be happy when the real Christmas rolls around come December.

Our high school students had the opportunity this evening to pray inside our inipi. Two elders from the Rosebud Indian Reservation, whose family attends school here, joined us to lead the prayers. Several of our students pray in the sweat lodge regularly, but tonight was the first time for two of our boys. Afterwards our staff cooked up a tasty batch of fry bread and Indian Tacos, and also a pot of chicken vegetable soup for those who wanted healthier fare. On many nights, our students eat quickly and rush off to other activities, but the time of prayer bonded them and they all stayed longer and talked; more grounded in the moment.

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.

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