Sewing Full Circle at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

LaRayne is St. Joseph's Native American Studies teacher.
LaRayne, St. Joseph’s Native American Studies teacher

Good morning! My name is LaRayne.

I am so pleased to share that we have recently added a part time seamstress to our staff at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Bonnie began mending and creating with her talent in October.

We have many outfits that aren’t complete—they might be missing a cape, drops, shawl, or a matching skirt and leggings.

Bonnie puts her talented, magic hands to work and creates full outfits and pieces that make the regalia highly sought after for our powwow dancers! She has been beautifying our outfits for both the boys and the girls.

One of the outfits Bonnie blessed with her talents was a jingle dress that was donated by one of our students, LaShawn, and her grandma. This type of dress includes ornamentation with multiple rows of metal cones that create a jingling sound as the dancer moves.

LaShawn’s grandma made the dress for her when she was a young dancer. Having outgrown it, LaShawn wanted to donate it to our regalia collection so that another energetic girl could continue making music with the dress.

1500324The dress was missing matching leggings, so Bonnie showed LaShawn the steps in making a set to match. LaShawn was amazed at the work that went into a pair of leggings!

Now that the outfit is complete, a young St. Joseph’s Indian School student will be able to dance as her ancestors have done for years.

We look forward to seeing Bonnie’s amazing work showcased at our 40th Annual Powwow on September 17, 2016.

We hope you can join us this year! Visit for more information.


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.