St. Joseph’s Indian School

Since 1927, St. Joseph’s Indian School has provided care and education for Native American boys and girls. St. Joseph’s Indian School’s stated mission is to provide for the basic welfare of children (food, clothing and medical care) with special emphasis on the spiritual, emotional and educational development of each child, while respecting their culture and heritage.

St. Joseph’s provides Native American children in need with a safe, stable home and a top-notch education – all while helping the youngsters appreciate and understand their proud Lakota (Sioux) culture.

Your prayers and gifts keep our doors open!

76 thoughts on “St. Joseph’s Indian School”

  1. Dear Father Steve, I am so very sorry to hear about your health. I pray with all my heart God will be with you in your time of need. I’m sure he will. I’ll keep you in my daily prayers and pray for your recovery. God Bless You! You’ve done so much for the children and God knows that you are needed here for them. Arlene Sedlacik

  2. Dear Father Steve–we’re sorry to hear about your cancer, but God has a plan and when he closes one door (meaning your tiredness)he’ll open another for you. Tom was diagnosed with Colon Cancer back in 2006 and is a survivor–he just had his annual Pet Scan and saw his oncologist yesterday and he’s doing fine. We’ll pray for you and know that prayers are answered–Tom is proof. I know the Lakota children uphold you in prayer–you do so much for them and we pray that you’ll be able to continue to do so. God Bless,Tom & Janet Capps.

  3. Dear Father Steve, YOUR IN OUR THOUGHTS, PRAYERS,AND HEARTS EVERYDAY! My daughter Erika Estes had told my the tragic news and we are so sorry to hear about the cancer. She Loves YA Alot,and is a big believer in Jesus miracles!Really hope your progress reports just keep getting better and better! GET WELL Father Steve it’s always good to see your godly glowing face. Much Love&Prayers, Mitakuya Owasin,(We Ara all Related) Kara Estes-Hove & Family

  4. Father Steve,
    “Trials” are just a fact of life for anyone trying to live a Christian life. The reason you feel better in church is stated in the Psalms…..”I love to be in your temple; A place where your glory dwells.” Daily prayers will be offered up to God in your behalf.

  5. dear father steve,our prayers are with you at this wife is a cancer survior and
    i went threw everything with her.i know the road ahead of you will be ruff but god will be there with you. i wish i could do more.don,t let the devil tell you any different any he will.don,t give up,we fought cancer and told satan,get behind me in the name of jesus christ.the good you have done for the school and all the lives you have touchedand the lives you will be helping in the future.we are asking god to surround you in his holy light.he is an awesome and just,ll have days were the treatment will tire you down but god is there.he,s in your corner and so are we.take care and god bless you supporters of your school,the children and you
    god blessyou dave/connie holaday

  6. Dear Fr. Jack,
    So sorry to learn about your cancer. I know you will get through this with God’s help. And, He, sent Br. Clay as just the right time to help you and the children. God bless you always and you are in my prayers too.
    Angela Marie

  7. FR. Jack,
    Sorry for typo error. of course, I meant God sent Br. Clay “at” just the righttime.
    Bless you.
    Angela Marie

  8. Dear Father Steve,When I read your heartwrenching letter yesterday, tears flowed. Your goodness and compassion for the children are evident in all you do. Your gratitude for the gifts you receive are touching. The letters the children send in appreciation are very sweet. Now, my focus and prayers will be toward your healing and renewed health. Everything is possible with and from our Lord.
    Gloria Gancarz

  9. Fr. Steve-I remember you in my prayers and join with you in your prayer for healing. I thank God, miracles happen every day!

  10. Fr. Steve, I remember you in my prayers and join with you in your prayer for healing. Thank God, miracles happen every day!

  11. Dear Father Steve,

    I am a cancer survivor also. I just got off chemo (for the 2nd time) about 3 weeks ago. God is so good to me and I know he will help you also. I can say from experience that attitude and the will to live is so very important in the healing process. I will keep praying for you. I always enjoy receiving mail from St. Joseph’s. I visited South Dakota a few years back and my friend took me through the museum there and it touched my heart. God Bless You!


    Annie Hall

  12. Father,

    I am composinga hymn. I needto know the Lakota word for God. Is it Wakan tanka???

    I will pray for your success, Father.

    Robert N. Schwartz
    volunteer, Trujillo, Peru

  13. Dear Father Steve, I am so glad to read your blog and I am very happy that you will be returning to the school very soon. I pray that your strength and health will continue to improve with each passing day. Take care May Faulk

  14. Dear Fr. Steve I have receive my birthday card. Thank you to Lakota children.
    I’m so happy to have friend like you all.
    May God bless you and the children of Lakota. Pray for me as I pray for you.
    Sincely your Sister Marie L Exime

  15. Please pray for Barry Koller that his diabetes gets under control he feels better does not have cancer and please do not let him die.Irma Charles Evan & Barry Koller the Koller family.Sis John John Bill Kate Bob Tom Kemme the Kemme family.Bob Kemme has a safe trip to Japan and a safe trip while he is there and a safe trip home. Bosley gets a good home please protect and keep him safe. Kim is okay and does not have cancer.

  16. You are in my prayers and I hope to meet you in person one day in the not too distant future.

  17. Fr. Steve, I wish you had been around when i was child. Im a full-blooded Ogalala Sioux from either Pine Ridge or RoseBud. I know nothing about the Sioux or who i am or where i belong. I was taken from there and given away as achild. So Im very glad there is a place like St Joe for the kids of the Rezs now. Because somehow i and many others fell thru the cracks and belong nowhere now. But its good to see that maybe there wont be anymore throwaway indians like me out there. Thank you.

  18. I have a question. I received a collection of beautiful cards from you and I’m wondering if you have considered selling boxes of your cards? I think it would be a wonderful idea to raise money, and know I would buy them each year, as well as recommend them to my friends and family.
    Donna Thacker

  19. Fr. Steve,

    I mentioned St. Joseph’s in a blog post, citing the Tiyospaye Club as an example of staying engaged and connected with donors. I hope that it creates some interest in the school and your ministry!

    You can view the post here:

    Blessings to you, your team, and the students!

  20. Goodmorning Father,
    We admire you, Father & all that look after our native youth… They are our future 😉
    You will be in our thoughts & prayers.
    Vance & Charlee Anderson

    1. Amen. I am adding in Jesus Name. I actually have something from way back that Says “St. Joseph Indian School.” On it. I do not remember what it is; It is stored somewhere,. I never knew this school ran today also.

  21. Dear Father Steve, My Grandfather , Earl Russell Smith is said to have gone to St. Joseph’s Indian School in the early 1900’s (he was born in 1897). I was wondering if you have records that go back that far and if you can send me any information about him and or his father Frank Russell Smith (who was said to be a missionary who taught the Sioux to read and may have been employed at your school)? If not, can you direct me to any resources? My email address is, and again thank you so much. Malinda Smith Willis

    1. Thank you so much Fr. Steve for your prompt reply and your blessing. Was there a predecessor to St. Joseph’s that my ancestors might have been connected with? A small mission or church that evolved into St. Joseph’s as the needs and means arose? Thank you again, Malinda Willis

  22. I belong to paperbackswap book club. I have more books to my credit than I need. Say about 50. That means that your students who like to read could order, free of charge, 50 books from what’s listed in the paperbackswap catalog. You should feed me the names of books and their authors and the name (first only is ok or whatever code name you choose) and I will have it sent to that person as a gift using one of my credits. You need to open a line of communication such as email so I can keep you updated as to whether or not your book is available. My email address is

  23. Dear Father Steve,

    So sorry to hear you are so ill.
    I’ve been sending what I can for a few years now (I’m a disabled vet and don’t have much either). St. Joseph’s is my ONLY charity. I would like to reach out to the high school age kids and let them know I’m here to help in any way I can with maneuvering student loans. I have a website at and I hope your juniors and seniors will visit – they need to plan ahead when choosing schools and loans! I also have an extensive “links” list to help with this. If anyone needs immediate assistance, they can email me at and mark the subject line “St Joseph STUDENT” so I won’t miss it.


    Amanda Lee Brown

  24. One day last January I received a package from the St.Joesph Indian school and I called in my first donation and did not look back.The staff I talked to was very helpful in answering my questions.I also read and done my homework on learning more about St. Joseph Indian school and it’s people.I saw on you tube of the conditions these Indians home they live in.well I am more inspired to give to help out and will continue to donate to this charity group and just to this charity group.Thank you all for including me in to your extended family I am very humbled.I hope each and every child graduate and go on to college and may The Lord God bless all of you in whatever field of occupation you all enter in.Another thing preserve your traditions be proud of who you are and that is glorious. God bless the Father,the staff,employees and the children of St.Joseph Indian school..brothers and sisters in Christ–love you all. Charles Dane Bellon

      1. To the Dear Ones at St. Joseph’s ,
        Thank you so much for the gifts sent to me from the children . I received a dream catcher, blanket
        and some very useful tote bags ! That was a nice treat !

        I am sorry it took so long to respond. I lost my return address, and I am 80 years old and forget
        where I put things.
        I am not sure if it’s St. Joseph’s in Montana , or in South Dakota ?
        Thank you all so much for your kindness, Mrs. Joyce De Martine in Nokomis Florida 34275

        1. Hi there! St. Joseph’s Indian School is located in Chamberlain, South Dakota. There is a different school in Montana that is not in connection to ours. Thank you for your support. Have a wonderful day!

  25. Hello Lakotas, We recently found this art work not finished but there’s two big birds – one is higher up then the other with a piece pipe along side them and these words down below ” Lakota O ya tey… Washte … Wanblee …. Washte … Wanblee Etehuaefo

    Washte … Wanblee …. O ya tey … A topi top I eh

    Anashia Chuaefo” What does these words mean in English?

  26. It’s appropriate time tto make some plans
    for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post
    and if Icould I want to suggest you feew interesting things or advice.
    Perhuaps you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I want to read eveen more thinngs about it!

  27. Hi there, I discovered you site bby way oof Gooogle even ass searchuing for a related topic, your website got hsre up,
    iit appeazrs tto be like great. I’ve bookmardked iit inn mmy google bookmarks.

    Hi there, juxt changed nto alert to yiur log viaa Google,
    annd located that it is really informative. I’m gonna wattch oout ffor
    brussels. I will ppreciate iff you continuee this inn future.
    Many other ppeople wikl probably be benefited out of your writing.

  28. It’s the best time to make some plans for the longer
    term and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this publish and if
    I could I wish to counsel you few fascinating issues or advice.
    Perhaps you could write subsequent articles regarding this article.
    I wish to learn more things about it!

  29. Please send me one of your lovely gifts made by students. Every year I receive something new and special. Thank you so much!

      1. Yes, Father, I received the children’s special gift for Christmas!! Thank you to all….my thoughts and prayers are with you, and Happy, Healthy, Blessed New Year to EVERYONE at St. Joseph’s!!! 🙂

  30. Dear father Steve, I just wanted to say that i miss you and I’m praying for you every night and every morning before i go to school. I sure do miss you and all my other friends, that i had their for about four in a half years since i been their. But also say hi to Leslie sitting crow, Jean Comes Flying, Trenton and Ethan Zepher Rich for me thank you. Oh and one more thing say hi to all the staff for me and My old basketball coach Mike.

  31. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that I have married and my name has changed from Gloria Adams to Gloria Gudahl. If you would make that change on your correspondence, I would appreciate it. I enjoy reading about what the children are doing and seeing pictures of them. My only income is Social Security to I cannot send something for all your mailings, but I will send what I can, when I can.

    1. Congratulations on your marriage!! We have changed your name in our systems. Best wishes for your future!

    1. Karen, please call our Donor Care Staff, 1-800-341-2235 to see what they can do! I’m not sure if we have any address labels currently on the gift store, but we do have many other items!

  32. I am requesting that you cease sending unsolicited gifts of cards, dream catchers, labels etc. I summarily toss these articles unopened in the waste basket. As a former educator, I am interested in your boarding school and its success and I will continue to occasionally support this effort. What I wish to hear are news,facts, and statistics re the school and the student body and I’ll get this news on your website. John O’Leary

    1. Hi, John!
      We’re sorry you did not enjoy our donor package. Please contact our Donor Care Center at 1-800-341-2235 & we can get your mail adjusted to meet your specific requests. We appreciate you donating to our organization and we are glad you view our website for recent news about all the great things going on in our school and homes!

    1. Kent, we are so sorry to hear this. In order to remove her, we will need you to call our Donor Care Center at 1-800-341-2235 to verify some more information to go along with Joan’s name in order to fulfill this request.

  33. A couple of years ago I thought it would be nice to send you money for a holiday dinner for a family. There is absolutely nothing in your catalog that I wish to buy. I have tried to get off your mailing list but to no avail. You have now spent a fortune on sending me junk mail. I decided some time ago that if that is how you spend your money, I am no longer interested in giving. Please stop wasting your donations sending junk to me.

    Susan Williamson
    1301 Running Springs Rd. Apt 1
    Walnut Creek, CA 94595

    1. Susan,

      Your information has been sent to our Donor Care Center staff now, who will remove you from our mailing lists.

      As far as our fundraising: Our main focus at the school is to provide a warm loving home, an education and medical needs for over 200 Lakota boys and girls in our care. In order to do this, we send a series of mailings to people throughout the US asking for their support. We don’t receive regular, ongoing federal support and don’t have the support of huge corporations. Instead we rely on caring individuals from across the country to support our work through tax-deductible donations, one gift at a time. Our work is life-changing and we want to share with many people about the poverty-stricken Lakota children in our care.

  34. I received the latest Christmas gift package from the children. Thank you , but I would like to be removed from the gifting list and just remain on the donor list. It seem wasteful because I cannot use the gifts and in the past have shared the unlabeled (my name) gifts with neighboring children.
    I have a wonderful book about Indian Heritage and would like to send it to La Sheena as she wrote to me and stated she was interested in reading, especially about her heritage. Please let me know if the Main Street address is the correct address to send her the book.

    1. Hi Marcia! We can certainly edit your mail wishes. Please email with your address and mail preferences and we will get you squared away. The Main street address would be the correct address. If you’d like more information about the donation process, you can also call 1-800-341-2235. Thank you!

  35. I would like to send my annual pledge but I need the full name of the priest in-charge.
    Is it Ft.Anthony? What is his full name?
    Have the directors considered developing a DVD covering the schools achievements, Indian Celebrations and student scholarship programs? I cannot travel to S.D. but am very interested in the school philosophy . “A Year in the Life of St. Joseph’s Indian School” sounds like a possible guide for such a project.

    1. Hi there! To get on our mailing list, please call our Donor Care Center at 1-800-341-2235.

  36. Kindly remove my name fromyour mailing list. I will be moving to Europe in a few weeks

    Thank you.
    384 Lodgewood Lane
    Lafayette Co. 80026

    1. Sandy,
      We could change your mailing address to your new one in Europe if you would prefer to still receive our items that rather than removing you.

  37. We contributed to St. Joseph’s Indian School for the first time this year. I thank you for the items you send, but I’m concerned about how much money it costs you to send these items to everyone. I do have a question. How much are the boys taught about the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? Thank you and may the Lord bless your endeavors and all of you personally. Blessings…Tom and Carol

    1. Our mission is under Catholic auspices and serves children of all religious persuasions. The root and foundation of our religious teaching is based on the teachings of the Church. However, students also learn Native American traditions and how they closely correspond to the message of Christ’s Gospel. St. Joseph’s has a Native American studies program to teach the children their traditional Lakota language, culture and traditions. Curriculum and daily routines include numerous cultural elements. Students can learn traditional Lakota dances and songs. St. Joseph’s also hosts an annual American Indian Day powwow, which is open to the public. Learn more at

  38. I was born part Onondaga Mohawk from upstate New York on my Mothers side. Most my young life I yearned to follow what was in my Heart, my native American spirit but did not know why. I was lucky to be brought into the learnings and spirituality of the Lakota Sioux in Seattle. I have been a student of the historical events and lives of many Lakota warriors and Chiefs and not so ordinary people that have made immense contributions to their culture. It is my honor to contribute and learn of St Josephs school. I feel their work is very important and necessary for the present and future and an honest way to make amends for some of our pasts mistakes.

  39. Fr. Kluckman,

    Please stop sending things in the mail, and remove me from your mailing list.
    P.O. Box 416
    Fort Montgomery, NY. 10922

    Thank you.

    John Blanc

  40. I have enjoyed your gifts but I cannot give more money. I do not have any more. I have had 4 surgeries on my spine in the past 18 months. I can’t pay all the bills I have now. Please stop sending emails & mail asking for more money.
    Thank you.

    1. Kristina,
      Thank you for making us aware of your request. We certainly understand with your situation it is a priority to take care of your needs. We will be happy to take care of your request for you. I do want to let you know that we can change your mailing preference if you would prefer. If you would want to let us know how often you wish to hear from us we can make that change. At your convenience we ask that you contact our office @ 800-341-2235 Mon-Fri 8AM to 5PM Central time.
      One of our Donor care specialist will be able to assist you further with your requests.

  41. Hello St Joseph Indian School! 🙂

    I am new at this site and wanted to chat with someone about this School. I have been donating on a monthly basic. Right now I can only afford $10.00 a month. I love all the greeting cards, dream catchers, and lil note pads. Thank you! I know I can easily read up on the website, but I thought it would be more personal to “chat” with someone if it was possible. I understand right now the school is closed due to the CoVid-19. But wanted to just say Hi! so “Hello” from Texas!

    I will try again.
    Sylvia Hijar
    El Paso, Texas

  42. I wish to unsubscribe to St. Joseph Indian School permanently. I sent donations for 14 years. I am done because inflation is getting higher. I will send a one time last donation on Christmas 2024 and that is my final donation.

    1. Lucia, we understand completely. Someone will be in touch with you via email soon. We will need some information from you in order to remove you from our system. Your generosity over the last 14 years has truly been a blessing. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *