St. Joseph’s Indian School Announces Powwow Royalty

Powwow Royalty was crowned September 7. From left to right: Romeo, Aleighya, Sherrilynn, and Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ.

The 46th Annual St. Joseph’s Indian School Wačhípi – Powwow – marks the return to a public powwow for the students for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. September 17 marks the long-awaited powwow comeback. Students have been hard at work practicing dance since their August 16 return to campus.

A royalty competition set the event in motion on Wednesday, September 7. The evening opened with prayer followed by the flag song performed by the school’s drum group, Pahá Makȟásaŋ Lowáŋpi the Chalk Hills Singers. Five young women competed for Miss St. Joe’s, and seven for Junior Miss St. Joe’s. Two energetic young men vied for Eagle Staff Bearer. Contestants submitted written interview questions, introduced themselves in Lakota, demonstrated one dance and answered questions from staff judges.

This year’s Miss St. Joe’s is Sherrilynn, with runner-up Clarysia. Sherrilynn is a sophomore and Clarysia is a junior in the school’s High School Program.

Sherrilynn said she wanted to be Miss St. Joe’s to “push myself out of my comfort zone and represent a school filled with good vibes and positive energy.”

Jr. Miss St. Joe’s goes to Aleighya with runner-up Dallas. Both are in the fifth grade.

Aleigha said receiving the crown of Jr. Miss St. Joe’s makes her feel very good about herself.

“I want to show people who i really am and show them that I won’t give up,” she said.

Eagle Staff Bearer is Romeo, with runner-up Caden. Both are in the fifth grade.

Romeo shared similar feelings to the other royalty winners.

“I wanted to carry the Eagle Staff to represent St. Joe’s, my culture, my family and myself,” he said.

According to Native American Studies Lead LaRayne, it was a flat-out tie for Most Valuable Player between the exuberant crowd, the talented emcee Evan, the electrified drum group and the contestants, whose skilled dancing and Lakota language introductions shone brilliantly.

The powwow is free and open to the public with handicap accessibility. For more information and a complete schedule of events, contact St. Joseph’s Indian School at 605-234-3313 or visit If you cannot attend in person, follow postings and live updates virtually with St. Joseph’s Indian School on Facebook at

In case of rain, the powwow moves to the Chamberlain Armory, 202 E Kellam Ave., Chamberlain SD.

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.

4 thoughts on “St. Joseph’s Indian School Announces Powwow Royalty”

  1. The POWWOW sounds great. It should be a lot of fun and educational for the children, learning their Heritage.
    I hope you are also teaching them about the United States and it’s History and Heritage. I feel strongly about the children melding into the USA and understanding how the UNited States became the Greatest Country in the World, as well as how people are constantly trying to change it’s course and destroying our Freedoms.
    Is their some way to incorporate the Pledge of Allegiance into the children’s daily learning?
    I may not understand your teachings, and you may be doing that now.
    Please let me know if and how you are incorporating the United States Constitution, and History into the School education plan.
    Thank you.

  2. It’s great to hear that the kids are coveting their invaluable ancestral ways of culture, living and language. So important for them to carry on their proud roots and traditions for all future generations. They are obviously enjoying it. Personally, I have always felt that the first Americans with traditions going back possibly tens of thousands of years are a superior people with heartfelt ways in which people treat each other and Mother Earth. We all can learn so much from their traditions and culture. Thank you for all the wonderful work you do for the beautiful kids and their future generations.

  3. I’m so excited for the return of the public powwow. I’m sure the whole school has worked hard to have a great and successful event. Congratulations to the Powwow Royalty and everyone that participated in the contest. We’re all so proud of you and the work you do to keep their traditions and language a positive part of their lives. It’s very important for us to acknowledge and be proud of our original descendants. I’m not a Native American but I always think we’re all better by learning from their culture and and their experiences since we wouldn’t be here without them. So we’re all somewhat related, in my opinion and we’re proud of it. Enjoy the celebration, I’ll be following online. Thank you for the opportunity.

  4. So rewarding to see that picture of those handsome children in their powwow paraphernalia … We are so very glad for them to be showing their grand heritage in such confirmed ways. Love and Light to them and may it ever be!

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