2021: A Year in Review at St. Joseph’s Indian School

During another year of uncertainty, challenges and obstacles, St. Joseph’s Indian School is proud to say we can look back on 2021 and know it didn’t break us.

While schools across the country closed or implemented a completely e-learning structure, St. Joseph’s opened our doors safely and securely to Lakota (Sioux) children. With added safety measures in place, we never had to close.

It feels so good to know children received everything they needed this year … food, clothing, a warm bed, and of course, an education … all thanks to YOU!

Kids learned about seven stained glass windows in the chapel representing the Seven Lakota Rites.

January 2021

  • Pope Francis declared 2021 the “Year of St. Joseph’s.” We were so honored our school’s patron was chosen and took it as a sign of great blessings to come.
Students take 30 hours of Driver’s Ed classroom instructions before they get behind the wheel.

February 2021

  • A brutal Polar Vortex cut through the state of South Dakota. There are homes in reservation communities without electricity and a means to stay warm, so St. Joseph’s sprang outreach efforts into action.
  • Joseph’s implemented Driver’s Education on campus, offering students valuable driving lessons with more flexibility around their busy schedules.
Some of the eighth grade class posed for a photo during College, Career and Military Day at school.

March 2021

  • Students celebrated “College, Career and Military” month by exploring their options after high school graduation.
  • Gymnastics, wrestling and basketball seasons were able to take place with added CDC recommendations.
  • Joseph’s Indian School received the Best Nonprofit award from the Chamberlain-Oacoma Chamber of Commerce.
St. Joseph’s Indian School recently received the Award of Top-Charity from GreatNonprofits for the fifth consecutive year.

April 2021

  • Joseph’s Indian School awarded $84,350 in spring-semester scholarships to Native American students across the nation, bringing the total awards for the 2020-2021 academic year to $176,050.
  • Joseph’s received the Top-Rated Nonprofit award from GreatNonprofits for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Students made prayer flags and hung them on tree branches outside the school. Prayers included hopes for “COVID-19 to go away” and for their families and friends to remain safe and healthy.
Dancing in the Jingle Dress is a form of prayer. Girls gathered to dance for the benefit of others.

May 2021

An outreach of St. Joseph’s, the Sacred Heart Chacon Family Safe Shelter helps victims escaping dangerous situations.

June 2021

  • Food box deliveries took place, giving families in reservation communities healthy foods of meat, cheese, eggs, bread, fruits, veggies.
  • Rec Center staff donated exercise equipment and athletic gear to two neighboring reservation programs.
  • The Sacred Heart Chacon Family Safe Shelter, an outreach of St. Joseph’s, opened on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.
  • Joseph’s honored four nurses as 2021 Distinguished Alumni.
St. Joseph’s Indian School staff delivered needed grocery items to families in reservation communities during the summer months.

July 2021

  • Food box deliveries continued.
  • The Bookmobile outreach program safely delivered thousands and thousands of books to reservation communities.
  • Anthony retired from St. Joseph’s Indian School and we were introduced to Fr. Gregory Schill, our new Chaplain.

August 2021

Kaylee (Miss St. Joseph’s), Marybella (Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s) and Jevjuan (Eagle Staff Bearer).

September 2021

  • We hosted our 45th Annual Powwow virtually, as COVID-19 kept our wonderful donors and the public from attending this year.

October 2021

  • Students celebrated Native American Day by focusing on their traditions, heritage and stories.
  • The school celebrated Red Ribbon Week by decorating campus trees with red ribbons.
  • Two from St. Joseph’s received national awards.
  • Joseph’s hosted an animal blessing for the four-legged on campus.
Other traditional clothing could also be seen during the parade, including some ribbon skirts.

November 2021

  • Students celebrated Native American Heritage Month. Although already a primary focus, students took even more time learning about the Lakota culture all month long.
  • Students celebrated All Souls Day by making prayer ties for loved ones who have passed on. The seventh grade Cultural Trip group will take the prayer ties and use them during an inípisweat lodge — ceremony Spring 2022.
  • Students participated in Rock Your Mocs to celebrate their culture and uniqueness.
  • Joseph’s females were gifted with a ribbon skirt. High school girls were given the opportunity to make their own to learn a new skill.

December 2021

  • Students picked presents for their siblings, parents/guardians and grandparents from our campus Christmas Store.
  • Student left winter break to spend valuable time with their families.

Did You Know?
The Lakota people marked the beginning of the next year in the spring, not the winter. Though calendar types vary from tribe to tribe, nearly all tribal calendars begin in the spring. To the Native American people, spring symbolizes the start of a new year through the birth of new plant and animal life.

Learn more about the Lakota (Sioux) culture by visiting stjo.org/culture

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 90 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.

One thought on “2021: A Year in Review at St. Joseph’s Indian School”

  1. We my wife and I have a small amount every month.We hope one day soon to come visit.We have a small travel trailer and will try to come.Being in our 80s we have be careful but a visit is our hope.
    God Bless

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