Day one of St. Joseph’s 35th annual powwow

In the morning, our visitors had their choice of several cultural workshops. Some folks made their own dreamcatchers, others learned drum songs or played traditional Lakota (Sioux) games. Our child service staff had panel discussions to answer questions about the work with our students. Planned Giving answered questions about our development efforts.

This afternoon, St. Joseph’s Indian School was open for tours and groups of two or three students from our American Indian leadership committee led a small group of donors throughout the building. All of the classrooms were open with a few extra chairs off to the side, for people to observe and interact. People told me they were impressed not just by what was in the classrooms, but also our well-developed and comprehensive philosophy of child care.

At three o’clock we gathered in the Rec  Center to announce St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Royalty for the 2011 powwow. Congratulations to Erin, Irene, Rebecca, Mary and Caden who will represent our school at the powwow and at cultural events throughout the coming year!

Jackie Bird offered a memorable performance of song, dance and sharing of tradition. She is also an accomplished designer of shawls and dance regalia. She enlisted the help of our girls to walk into the center of the circle wearing some of those creations, teaching about Lakota (Sioux) understanding of the significance of the directions, and our relationship with our winged and some of the hoofed relatives in creation.

Tonight, we held a banquet for our donors at Cedar Shores Convention Center, just across the Missouri River in Oacoma. The businesses we do business with use this occasion to give something back, and paid for the entire meal.  Our St. Joseph’s Chalk Hills Singers Drum Group set the pace for a few of our dancers, and an explanation was given about different powwow regalia and dance styles. A little introduction helps first time powwow goers to understand what they are seeing. One lucky guest won a beautifully sewn star quilt as a door prize. I enjoyed walking from table to table. I just wish I had more time to spend with each visitor.