From the Desk of Fr. Greg: September 2021

The first month of school has wrapped up and it’s wonderful to have the kids back!


Hello to all!

As we look forward to the start of autumn accompanied by the fall of the leaves and cooler temperatures, we are reminded of one thing to be sure: Change is inevitable!

Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ, Chaplain

We know that just as fast as the weather changes, life also entails constant, and sometimes swift and unexpected changes. Some changes are good and some are more difficult to adjust to, particularly if someone has lost a loved one or is dealing with the illness of a loved one, in the hospital or in hospice. Know that for those who are experiencing difficult transitions due to illness or other circumstances beyond one’s control, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Praying for one another is an act of being in unison with each other, an action that Christ Jesus calls us to partake in. Christ Jesus calls us to partake in all things that are good, including the nurturing of our students in their prayer life and spiritual life and helping them to develop in their education. I feel honored and privileged to have been entrusted to minister to the students and staff at St. Joseph’s and their benefactors, you!

In the month since the start of the school year, already I have noticed the enthusiasm of so many of our students to develop in their education, nurture their spiritual life and participate in extracurricular activities.

Young boys dress in Traditional, Fancy and Grass dance regalia at the 45th Annual Powwow at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

On Sept. 18, we had the 45th Annual Powwow. For one month, the students practiced one or more times a week in the student recreation center to participate in the customary powwow traditions. I could tell so many of them were motivated to do so and what a blessing to be able to practice in person after being confined last year to practices, via videos. This reminds us that the pandemic, which for some has created rift through division, while for others has helped us to grow stronger and flourish, helping to make the best of a bad situation.

Beautiful early autumn weather has the students enjoying the outdoors.

The pandemic has been an emotionally charged issue. Despite our differences, we can and are invited to place our faith and trust in Christ Jesus as people working in unison with one another to generate a better tomorrow. Therefore, I turn my attention back to our children — the students of St. Joseph’s Indian School here in Chamberlain, S.D. I am looking forward to watching them grow in their education throughout the school year, and so I invite you to pray for them and for the faculty who are instrumental in their educational growth.

Peace and Blessings,
Fr. Gregory signature
Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ

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.

6 thoughts on “From the Desk of Fr. Greg: September 2021”

  1. Although I am a Christian (baptized Lutheran Protestant, but not practicing), I don’t normally make any monetary donations to Christian Church operated charities, in particular not to those who are involved in caring for Native American children inside the US. In the past, indescribable physical and emotional damage was done to these people in the US and Canada, all in the name of Christian religion. One of the reasons why I have severed my personal ties with the Christian Church, not with Christianity.
    Having received your request for support by “St. Josef’s Indianer Hilfswerk e.V.”, located in Offenbach / Germany, I decided to cast aside my displeasure with the church, and change my mind at least this once, and have made a small contribution of 10 Euros, paid to your account at Postbank Köln.
    BTW, I am an 80 year German living in Germany, but have lived many formative years of my life in the US and CAN. My contribution is only a token, but comes from the heart.

    1. Thank you for your gift to the Lakota children at St. Joseph’s Indian School, Joachim. You are correct that there are wrongs within history that need to be set right. The forced assimilation of Native Americans is a grievous truth in U.S. history. At St. Joseph’s we are committed to address our roots in boarding school history. We know we have much work to do to move forward, and we humbly acknowledge where we have fallen short.

      In the late 1800s, U.S. Federal Government set forth policies to “civilize” Native Americans through boarding school education. The deliberate removal of children from their families caused great harm to generations of Native Americans and still haunts current generations through the reality of historical trauma.

      Others, too, set out to educate Native American children, but their purposes and methods were not the same. Fr. Henry Hogebach began St. Joseph’s in 1927. His religious order was founded by Fr. Leo John Dehon whose desire was always to seek justice and uplift the lives of all people who share common dignity as children of God. We can be sure that was Fr. Hogebach’s intention in opening the school for Native American children. Of course, to assume St. Joseph’s Indian School always got it right is naïve. Today, we work to correct the wrongs of history. At St. Joseph’s, the Lakota culture is emphasized, encouraged and celebrated. It’s our priority for students to form deep roots in their beautiful, rich culture and proud tradition. Today this programming is one of several reasons parents and guardians choose to enroll their children here.

      We thank you for your kindness to bless our mission. God bless you!

  2. In attempting to check the legitimacy of your charity I was puzzled at your consistent refusal to provide current financial information regarding the use of funds. Consequently I cannot countenance a contribution at this time. Additionally I request that all solicitations cease. Thank you

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