On the road again

We met with the architect and contractors on the Akta Lakota Museum project today. They were planning to start pouring floors, but we got a heavy thunderstorm and the area is a muddy mess so they decided to wait for a drier day. They’re perhaps even a little ahead of schedule anyway, due to an unusually warm and dry spell since mid February. The rain was actually very appreciated, as area farmers and ranchers have worried about the low water table, and have been praying for moisture. Next week, crews plan to start the outside brick and masonry work, after which the project will really start coming to life.

In a short while, four staff and two students will start our journey for a donor appreciation luncheon to Miami, Florida to meet with and thank our donors in that part of the country. You’ll get a few guest blogs until I get back, and I’m sure I’ll have a story or two to tell of the adventure.

For those of you who support St. Joseph Indian School from a distance, I hope we are able to one day meet at a luncheon or one of our powwows.

We really appreciate your help and dedication.

Generous hearts and attitudes

Thanks to our other staff members for keeping you up to date on school activities while I was away this past week.

I serve on my Religious Community’s (SCJ) Formation commission. We gathered to discuss the education and formation of our seminarians, as well as vocational efforts for finding quality people who might be thinking about becoming a brother or priest. A couple of us attended the National Religious Formation conference in Kansas City. The theme was about the prophetic nature of religious life. One keynote I particularly found inspiring was a look at many women prophets in the bible.
I did work in Formation with college seminarians for five years and that has shaped my philosophy of our programs at St. Joseph Indian School. We are trying to educate and form well-rounded young people, who have self-confidence, know how to work through troubles and adversity, love to learn and know how to take care of themselves and others.

I believe a key to all of that is having a solid relationship with God and trying to understand how we can follow God’s will and ways and use our gifts and talents accordingly.

One nice example that I heard when I returned was from the Cyr Home (4th-5th grade boys). For a service project they decided to help a family in need for Thanksgiving. All 12 of the boys did extra jobs around campus to earn a few extra dollars. They also made money from selling Powerade and water at football games. The boys made a list of what they would like to eat at Thanksgiving, and three of the boys looked over food ads in the newspaper. They learned about budgeting and discovered how much their dollars would buy. Four of the students went to the grocery store to buy the food. Others helped wrap the food and included a turkey plate they found at Central Storage. When all was in order, they delivered the food to the pastor of a church downtown, who delivered the food to the families so the students would remain anonymous. I’m inspired through their generous hearts and attitudes.

The kids were such great hoop dancers!
The kids were such great hoop dancers!

This afternoon, our third graders put on a hoop dancing performance. We sat on the floor against the wall in the school gym, and watched them make their hoops into the shape of butterflies and eagles and let their spirits soar as they danced. Good exercise, great fun and an appreciation of Lakota (Sioux) culture as well.

We had a journalist from Germany taking video of happenings around campus. At the end of the day, he was interviewing three of our high school girls, and asked a question something like, “Why is being away from home more important than being with your family?” Danisha, one of our seniors, wisely put it in perspective.

Nothing is more important than family. Being at St. Joseph’s gives me opportunities and an education so in the long run, I can help my family even more.”