The seasons are changing at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School.

We pause for a moment of silence—the splashing fountain at the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center has been covered. For St. Joseph’s staff and students, this is the real indication that the seasons are changing and it reminds us that winter is coming.

The change in weather can also bring a variety of illnesses with it, chief among them the flu. These past few days, St. Joseph’s students have been walking past my office on their way to the health center to receive their flu shots.

I took a moment to go down and congratulate the nurses on doing such a fine job in giving the shots since I did not hear any tears or complaints as the students retraced their paths back to class or their homes. I soon found out that those who took their shot bravely were able to pick out a small toy.

As I was walking by the door to the basement, two young ladies came up with special packages in their arms. I asked what they had been doing and was told Wendy was helping students pick out their costumes for Halloween!

In addition to helping the students pick out their Halloween costumes, Wendy has been busy finding items our students can use to decorate their homes.

The day of Halloween, there is a home decorating contest, a pumpkin carving contest, our Grand March to show off the students’ costumes and ‘trick or treating’ around campus.

I not sure if ‘flat Francis’ will be looking for a costume while he is at the Pinger Home this week, but I will keep you updated.

During Francis’s visit to the Raphael Home, he went with the boys to the game room at the Rec Center and enjoyed a few rounds of ping pong, pool and video games. He also visited the Disbursement Center to pick out winter coats for the boys in the home. (The Disbursement Center is where we keep generous in-kind donations of clothing and other items.) A great time was had by all.

img_4038While we were celebrating our annual powwow on September 17, a new resident to the Chamberlain-Oacoma area was welcomed to the neighborhood. Eunabel and Norm McKie donated “Dignity of Earth and Sky” to the State of South Dakota. “Dignity”, created by Dale Lamphere, is a sculpture of a Native American woman receiving a star quilt that is 23 feet wide, 50 feet tall and over 12 tons!

Dignity is a moving sculpture, as her star quilt contains the colors of the sky in 128 four-foot diamonds that flutter in the wind. Mr. Lamphere, Dignity’s creator, sees her as someone who echoes the interaction of earth, sky and people as it brings to light the beauty and promise of the indigenous peoples and culture that still thrives on this land. His intent is to have the sculpture stand as an enduring symbol of our shared belief that all here are sacred and in a sacred place.

The statue is located on the grounds of the Lewis and Clark Rest Area along Interstate 90. Hope you’ll have the chance to see it for yourselves one day.
Speaking of art, Dave, St. Joseph’s Art teacher, recently hosted Michele and Wade as visiting artists. They came to introduce our students to various forms of printmaking—img_9577an art making process that allows for the creation of multiple original pieces of art.

The focus was on collaboration as Michele and Wade shared their artistic talents and enthusiasm in working with others. As you can see from the pictures, by the end of the week students, staff and the artists’ efforts were made tangible.

modifiedTheir art will serve as an enduring reminder of what can transpire when we work together.

I hope you have a wonderful week and can explore the beauty around you as we see the majesty of the Great Spirit embodied in the beauty of Mother Earth.
Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain



Fr. Anthony Kluckman, 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.

7 thoughts on “The seasons are changing at St. Joseph’s Indian School”

  1. For years my parents, John and Velma Thomas were proud to donate each year to the St. Joseph’s Indian School. Although they were never blessed financially, they looked forward to sending it to the school. It was their only donation for the 80’s and to 1995 when they passed. They were so proud, and after visiting the school in Chamberlain, you could have seen the twinkle in their eyes. God Bless the students, staff, and the administration of St. Joseph School. Please send me information so that I may donate in my parent’s memory. I too, would like to visit the school as I have heard such great things from my good friend who works there at the school. I would like to have that “twinkle” in my eyes as well.

    1. Lee, thank you so very much for your comment. It sounds like your parents were wonderful people. We are so happy they were able to make it to St. Joseph’s for a visit! Please know that we are eternally grateful for their generosity and support. Please visit for more information and let us know if you have any questions! Blessings to you.

  2. I love reading your updates and seeing the children enjoying their school experiences. I went to Catholic school as a child. Your updates remind me of my own childhood with friends and the very kind but firm nuns. I especially look forward to the many adventures of Flat Francis! Thank you for sharing these moments with us.

  3. God’s blessing to you an the teacher’s.
    And to all the children ♡
    One day I hope to come visit an to also see the beautiful sculpture I read about.
    Forever an always my friends. Deborah

  4. I do crocheting. . .wondering if you accept crochet items for the children. Now that winter is on the way I could make scarves for them.

    1. We would happily accept handmade scarves! Thank you, Kathy. Any items like that can be sent to the following address:
      St. Joseph’s Indian School
      1301 N Main Street
      Chamberlain, South Dakota 57325

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