St. Joseph’s Indian School: a second home for Lakota children

Cante’ Waste’ Nape Ciyuzapi Ksto/loI greet you with a warm and heartfelt handshake!

April works with St. Joseph's students and families.
April works with St. Joseph’s students and families.

My name is April, and I am an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. My Indian name is Nagi Wi, which means Spirit Woman. My given name at birth is April. My name was given to me by a nun who helped deliver me. My St. Joseph’s name is Unci, which means grandma – I feel so honored to be their grandma! I have been here at St. Joes for eight-and-a-half years and love working with the children and their families.

My new title is Family/Student Care Specialist. I have the opportunity to get to know our new students more by meeting with them individually throughout the year to establish a bond. During our time together, students come to my office and write letters, color or draw and take pictures, which we send home to their families. We also make calls to their families. We want students to look at St. Joseph’s Indian School as their second home, and we want them to feel comfortable. We understand they will get lonesome, and that’s okay. We want to work through that and continue to do the best we can to care for the whole child – mind, body, heart and spirit.

As Family/Student Care Specialist at St. Joseph’s, April is involved in many activities on campus.
April helps the Lakota boys and girls with arts and crafts to send home to their families.

Sometimes, students go home for the weekend and see their pictures and letters hanging on the fridge at home. This makes them so happy! They come to my office and tell me, “Guess what Unci! My mom has my picture we sent!” To see that little sparkle in their eyes is so heart-warming!

I have a saying that was given to me, and I do my best to go by this everyday as I walk in a good way with the children: Believe in yourself and your feelings. Trust yourself to do what your heart is guiding you to do. Your intuition is powerful. Trust it.

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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