Native American Day Activities

Monday, October 14, St. Joseph’s Indian School – along with the rest of South Dakota – celebrated Native American Day. We, along with several other schools around our area, embraced the opportunity to have a “teachable moment” while having fun reliving a part of our rich Lakota/Dakota/Nakota culture.

The Regalia Relay was one of many games St. Joseph’s students played in celebration of Native American Day.
In the Regalia Relay, the Lakota boys put on girls’ regalia and vise versa to dance their way back to their teammates.

The morning greeted us with a line of colored banners carried by students who read a brief description about the corresponding color and direction of the medicine wheel.  Bridges were built between the Catholic and tribal spiritualities by centering ourselves with prayer and singing the hymn “There is a Well.”  Our drum group offered up two prayer songs to honor the day and what it might mean to our people.

During the afternoon, classes circulated around eight game stations to compete against themselves, others and groups.  Our stations included:

  • Lakota bowling
  • Hackie sack
  • Regalia relay (switch dressing – the boys put on girls’ regalia and girls put on boys’ regalia)
  • Leg wrestling
  • Arrow toss
  • Hand games
  • Musical chairs (with drum songs)
  • Cat’s cradle yarn art
  • Storytelling

Each game was explained with its historical significance and natural place in our world.  A plethora of adults helped to make the day possible by guiding, encouraging, and even taking part with the group as the students scurried through the rain and mist between the recreation center, the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and the skating room.

I hope our St. Joseph’s students went home knowing why this day was set aside for our tribal people to be honored for our place on this North American Continent, rather than focusing on someone who thought they had found India.  We love the land and the culture that respects our footprints upon it.

LaRayne, Native American Studies teacher

The Lakota students learned to leg wrestle during Native American Day activities.
Leg wrestling was one of many games played in traditional Lakota (Sioux) 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.

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