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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A group of St. Joseph’s female students got together and danced the Jingle Dress Dance for the healing and wellbeing of others.
- Seventh grade students went on the annual Cultural Trip to sacred sites of their ancestors.
- Fourteen eighth grade students and five senior students graduated.
- 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.
- 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.
- We hosted our 45th Annual Powwow virtually, as COVID-19 kept our wonderful donors and the public from attending this year.
- 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.
- 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 inípi — sweat 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.
- 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.