Teach the teachers

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Most of our donations come from individuals, who have been especially generous during this holiday season. This morning we met with some people who work with non-profit organizations that try to find matches with corporate donors. There may be some possibilities for us, and we’ll see how that all works out.

Glenda, who works in Central Receiving, laid her husband to rest today. To support her and the family, I went to the memorial service held at the Oacoma Community Center. A good number of Glenda’s co-workers at St. Joseph ’s were there in solidarity. Losing a loved one is hard most any time of the year, but doubly so near Christmas.  

I got back to school in time to catch the Christmas program our students put on. Each grade practiced a couple of songs, and some of the students stand out for singing with extra gusto. I laughed loudest when 7th grader Braydon mimed Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas song.  He whirled his hips around every time the “Me, I want a hula hoop” line came around. Besides the cute songs, I also appreciate the religious songs, which especially root put me more deeply in the Christmas spirit.

Tonight was the wake for Erika’s (one of our students) stepfather.  Services were held in Lower Brule, 30 miles away. On the reservation, wakes usually go late into the night and sometimes all night. Ministers from different churches are all welcome to get up and say a few words of comfort or encouragement to the family. Friends may get up and reminisce. Elders use the time as a teachable moment to pass on cultural values.

While many people were prepared to stay late into the night, the Giles Home (High School girls) had to get back to St. Joseph’s and get ready for school the next day. One of the houseparents made a move to go, but one of our girls told her they needed to wait until they had a chance to shake hands with the family. I was proud that one of our students felt enough self-confidence to help teach her teachers. The only fly in the ointment was that the minister speaking kept going on for a long while. When there was finally a break, everyone was too shy to be the first to approach the family, so I led the group up to Erika and her mom. We exchanged our condolences, hugs and a few tears.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

2 thoughts on “Teach the teachers”


  2. What a family St. Joseph’s is…!and even the syuudfents teach…THAT is whazt you call world building..!
    Merry Christmas to All..
    Mia and Bob

Leave a Reply

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