Powwow weekend

Sunday, September 19, 2010
We finished up our powwow weekend with our regular Sunday morning mass. We were joined by a lot of visitors who were able to stay and take part. With our students and circle of supporters together in one place, in prayer, I felt very uplifted. Shaking hands after church I also got loads of hugs and support as people said goodbye. I stayed quite a while afterwards to take pictures and answer questions.

After all the activity I felt tired and took it easy the rest of the day. The last few days I haven’t kept up too much on reading, and I went through the accumulated stack of newspapers and periodicals that were on the coffee table. There’s so much I don’t know, which is humbling. But it encourages me, and I encourage others, to be lifelong learners.

Saturday, September 18, 2010
Rain overnight and temperatures in the 40’s when we lined up for the Grand Entry made for a cold day. But it couldn’t dampen people’s spirits as our 34th annual powwow went forward. But at least it stayed dry and allowed the dancers to demonstrate their skill and commitment. We have a wonderful video recap that can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59wKfWH_amw .

I was blessed with seven members of my family present to share in the day. I only saw them for brief periods of time, as I tried to visit with donors, students and their families. I also tried to check in with staff to make sure things were going ok. We’re good at improvising to meet needs. Someone even went up to Central Receiving and came back loaded with blankets and gloves to people who were caught unexpected by the cold. My sister Mary had earlier gone through every coat and jacket in my closet digging out gloves to ensure warmth for all my family.

I just enjoy watching our students and area youth dance with such joy and enthusiasm. One of our new 7th graders was so filled with energy and excitement she even danced on the sidelines when the boys were competing. The smiles as kids come out for the Grand Entry are infectious.

Our St. Joseph’s Drum Group, the Chalk Hills Singers, made their debut. They only learned one song, but sang it with great gusto during an inter tribal dance. One student commented afterward “that was fun – I can’t wait to do it again!” That’s what we hope for – that learning about culture can be fun and meaningful. I stood by the drum in support and got quite choked up a couple of times.

When we handed out the awards at the end of the day, I was happy for not just those students who won, but by all who were winners because they are dancers. I’m grateful for our visitors who shared in the experience with us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The festivities for our 34th annual powwow kicked off today. This morning we hosted a series of four cultural activities at the Rec. Center. Donors learned how to build their own dreamcatcher, play some traditional Lakota games, learn some drum songs, or spend time with our Child Services Staff for questions and answers.

Since standing for long periods still hurts the nerves in my leg, I grabbed a high backed stool and sat in the museum by the reception desk so I could greet folks as they came in. The stream was steady, but with a little time between guests, I got to visit and say hello. Some people are regulars year after year. One woman from Connecticut has been helping for 43 years and this was her first actual visit to St. Joseph’s. She was very excited.

Our students led groups on tours of the school in the afternoon. I’m sure folks got a different perspective than if our staff had given the tour.After school we gathered in the Rec. Center for the crowning of our Royalty for the powwow. These students represent the school for the coming year, and are all active dancers. They are chosen for their good attitudes and commitment to Lakota and St. Joseph’s values.

Jasmine Pickner, a world champion Hope Dancer gave a stirring performance for the assembly. She taught our students not just Hoop Dancing, but traditional values. She had a wonderful way with the young people and visitors alike.

We ended the evening with a banquet across the river at Cedar Shores Resort. Different groups we do business with donate each year to allow us to treat our guests to a festive meal. We had over 300 gather for hors d’oeuvres, a meal, and a presentation on dance styles and regalia for the powwow.

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 “Powwow weekend”

  1. Fr. Steve,
    The PowWow looked like a ton of fun. I am sure that everyone involved had a wonderful time. Also certain that the supporters of the school were thrilled to be able to see you and celebrate your return to health.
    Sandy and I continue to raise you up in prayer everyday!
    God bless you in your ministry!

  2. The rewarding words, of excitement, and achievement for all of the children,and the pleasure the adults gained; is MORE than any other comments that could be made. I (WE) are so BLESSED and HAPPY that EVERYONE was able to attend. I speak like I am, or was there; but I was not, sadly to say for myself. I am hoping in time, that I will be able to be there for one of the powwows, and to meet
    Fr. Steve, and many more personally.–I only wish I could do more for ALL of you there. All are ALWAYS in my PRAYERS.
    Tell the children the vedio is so GREAT, and to keep up the Exciting Dancing, they are so good.


  3. WHAT a FANTASTIC event..! Maybe one day we can be there to enjoy it with all of you…!
    Father Steve, We can tell that Junipero Serra is still following you..That is the only blessing that we can imagine in the pain..and soon, we hope..the pain will go..and you can better enjoy his blessings..!
    All that you do takes a LOT of hard work by ALL of you..but the rewarda are sooo great…we can feel your drumbeats..and all of your heartbeats ‘way out here..!
    May God continue to bless us all..
    Mia and Bob

  4. It must have been a GREAT weekend for everyone who was there. I join all the others above in saying that I really wish I could have been there and am hopeful that someday I will be able to attend at least once. The video on YouTube is awesome. The children thrilled me to the very core of my heart. It’s truly a wonderful thing that St. Joseph’s is doing for these children and their families by having such celebrations. As I’ve said before and will continue to say “God Bless everyone at St. Joseph’s!”

  5. Dear Fr. Steve,

    Sorry to hear that your legs are still bothering you so much.

    We really do wish we could have come out for the powwow. Maybe some other year.

    It sounds like everybody had a great time. Congrats to all who won the royalty contests and the dance & drums winners. Of course all the kids are winners in our book and we wish them all the best for the coming year.

    All our love to you and those at the school staff and student alike,

    Nancy & Kenny

  6. Fr, Steve, My Lap Top has been down for some time and that is why YOU have Not heard from me. YOU are in my prayers each and everyday many times. So nice to know POW WOW went so well. Pray for YOU and all the children and all with the school. God Bless Each and Everyone Soon your leg will be healed with GOD,S Will. Fondly, NITA MARIE

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