Igloyaye – responsibilities

On the national election day, our Lakota students also got to learn about the democratic process by participating in a vote themselves. Students served as poll watchers and vote counters and got to weigh in on national and state-wide candidates, as well as the constitutional amendments on our state ballot. Perhaps someday our students will be in the running for tribal or state office.

Paul, one of our alumni, now works for the Sanford Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls. They have a mobile screening unit, and through Paul’s efforts they are on St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus this week to offer heart screenings to St. Joseph’s staff. We put a lot of emphasis on health and wellness, and identifying potential problems before they get too far along is crucial.

I took advantage of the offer and went through the tests. It began with taking a blood sample to examine cholesterol, and an EKG to monitor the heart. We won’t get the EKG results back for a few days, but when we moved on to the mobile CT unit for a scan of the heart and arteries, we saw the results moments later. I was pleased and relieved to find out that I don’t have any plaque buildup in my arteries. But like all of us, I cannot rest on my laurels and must stay active and be more careful with my diet.

A word we’ve used for years to describe the chores students do to help around the home has been “charges.” Students rotate the duties of dishes, setting the table, sweeping, vacuuming and keeping the house neat and tidy. Our Child Services Team has recommended now using the word “responsibilities” instead.

The Lakota word  for this is “igloyaye.” Dave, our Lakota language instructor sent us all a brief recording so we can all learn to pronounce the word, and more importantly help the students to learn that helping in a responsible way has deep roots in their own tradition. Click here to learn how to pronounce igloyaye – responsibilities!

We took preliminary eighth grade graduation pictures today. These are the group photos we’ll print and send to our donors a few months from now. I’ve been at St. Joseph’s Indian School a full 8 years now, so I was here when this group of Native American students entered St. Joseph’s as first graders!

Some came later along the way, but I have many memories of each of them growing up before  my eyes. I encouraged the students to keep working hard so, when they walk down the aisle six months from now, they’ll be ready to tackle the new demands of high school!