St. Joseph’s Indian School recently hosted students Marie and Luci, and their chaperone Blandine from

Claire works with St. Joseph's students in the homes and at school.


Chateauxroux, France. Cultural exchanges like this are exciting, since it gives our Lakota (Sioux) students a chance to see a world that is different from their own.   Since I speak a little French, I accompanied our visitors on several occasions. Though they needed very little help with translation, some of our customs seemed unusual to them.

In Native American Studies class, Blandine shared a book about the Berry region of France, and the students listened with interest. They had questions about holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving –which the French don’t celebrate.   (No trick or treats? No pumpkin pie? Say what?) Our students wanted to know how long French school days were, and what French people liked to eat, and whether there were buffalo in France. In Art class they got to try the French craft of scoubidou (braiding plastic thread into lanyards).

Visitors from France spent time in our Native American Studies class.

St. Joseph’s visitors from France enjoyed time with the sixth graders.

In turn, it was fun to show off some of the finer examples of Lakota culture that are incorporated into our curriculum—the reading of the Our Father in Lakota every morning, and the singing of the Lakota Flag Song. Our French visitors got to see some regalia and watch some dancing. I was proud of our students when they demonstrated traditional greetings and phrases in Lakota.

Then our visitors wanted to see the Indian Reservations where many of our students live. This was a bit uncomfortable at times. On one hand, it was important for them to see where the kids come from and why they need to be at St. Joseph’s Indian School. On the other hand, I felt protective and a little bit defensive.

Driving past some of the burned-out houses was awkward. When I looked through the eyes of our visitors, I saw homes in disrepair, gang graffiti, trash and scary Halloween decorations (which didn’t really help matters any).

Many students resent a blighted picture being painted of their homes, and I can understand this. I wanted to explain that this may be where people live but is certainly not all of who they are. I wanted to bridge the gap between the beautiful cultural lessons of the classroom and the ugly landscape of the Rez, but I couldn’t. There was too much history here, and too much despair. My pitiful French wasn’t up to the task of expressing it. I was grateful for the compassion on the eyes of our guests.

Some parts of the reservations are quite beautiful, with sweeping views of the hills and river valley. We visited Big Bend, a place where the river makes a tight loop, leaving a spit of land only a few miles across. There we toured an earth lodge – a reproduction of a typical Mandan home – like those that would have been found on this site a few centuries ago. Then we hiked up the hills to a high point where we could see for miles around.

Maybe the best part of having visitors was the gift of being able to stop and see the work of St. Joseph’s with fresh eyes.

I saw the contrast between the plight on the reservations and the calming structure of our homes and school. I saw the strong, positive connections between staff and students. Since our visitors were also benefactors, I was also keenly aware of what sacrifices they made in order to be able to provide these good things to our students.

At their school in France, students gave up one meal during Lent and ate only rice. The money they saved they sent to St. Joseph’s Indian School as a gift.

I want to thank them, and all our benefactors, for making our school possible.


Welcome to Winter!!

The South Dakota winter is here!

It’s a cold, snowy day in South Dakota.

The big winter storm coming moving across the upper Midwest is hitting South Dakota today.  Chamberlain is just on the fringe of the storm but we have snow, cold winds and some slush. We are expecting cold temperatures all week.

Boys in the Explorers Club learn valuable life lessons.

The Explorers learned the proper way to fold a flag at one of their recent meetings.

The Explorers, a local service group, have been out raking leaves but they may have to switch over to shoveling snow!  In addition to community service projects, the boys learn useful life lessons. At one of their recent meetings they learned how to properly fold the flag in preparation for Veterans Day tomorrow.

Our kitchen crew will honor all the veterans on St. Joseph’s staff by inviting them to a free lunch on November 11. This is a small way of saying pilamayathank you – to those who protect our country and the freedom we enjoy every day.

Since November starts off with the Feast of All Saints and All Souls, we have put up a Remembrance Tree in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. Students and staff were asked to submit names of their loved ones who have passed on that could be put on the tree.  It will stay up during November as a reminder to us of those walking their journey back to the Heavenly Father.

Tomorrow, we’ll be starting the Novena of Masses for all our benefactors’ special intentions.

Recently, a new program was introduced to the Lakota boys and girls entitled “I See You.”  The purpose is to encourage positive actions all over campus.  Staff have been given dog tags inscribed with a positive act such as Hope, Belonging, Independence, Sacrifice, Accepting and Loved, which are written in English and Lakota (Sioux).

In November, we are remembering deceased loved ones in prayer.

Our Remembrance Tree will be in the chapel for the month of November.

When staff members see a student showing one of these positive things, they give the tag to the student to let them know their positive act was witnessed. The students then have the opportunity to pass on the tag when they see a fellow student or staff member doing the act mentioned on their tag.  The program’s purpose is to encourage everyone to have a positive attitude and good interaction with one another.

Wishing you a great week, and may you experience God’s blessings in a variety of ways. Pilamaya thank you – for your support and encouragement of everything we do at St. Joseph’s!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


I’m not bragging, but I have a GREAT job. I work with talented, interesting people who are ‘hook, line, and sinker’ committed to our mission at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Geri, St. Joseph's Major Gifts Director

Geri, St. Joseph’s Major Gifts Director

and I get to routinely visit with our donors: over the phone, in their homes, at donor events, over e-mail and through the mail. It’s wonderful being in communication with our donors and, by far, the best part of my job.

As a supervisor, I have administrative responsibilities including preparing reports, responding to e-mail messages and reviewing results. So, on any given day, I have a variety of tasks on my ‘to do list’ with the ability to tackle them in the order I prefer (generally speaking).

Without consciously choosing to reach out to our donors first, I always do!   I find that nothing is as uplifting and satisfying as checking in with our supporters, answering questions or sharing updates on how their giving is making a difference for Native American children!

St. Joseph’s has a fully staffed Donor Care Center to take calls.

Staff at St. Joseph’s Donor Care Center are waiting to visit with you!

Maybe you’ve recently been contacted by us? Perhaps it was for the first time? I hope you enjoyed the conversation and feel like your support is important to us. We aren’t just ‘going through the motions’ when we reach out to you….we enjoy it as much, or more, than you do!

As we move into the holidays, a favorite time of the year for many of us, donor interaction doubles and maybe even triples….it truly IS the best time of the year!

Each of us has a story about our connection to St. Joseph’s Indian School. For those of us who work here, our story

We are thrilled to meet donors and hear their stories about how they came to know St. Joseph’s Indian School.

St. Joseph’s staff members love visiting with donors at powwow, donor luncheons and on home visits.

might start with the day we were first hired. For our supporters, the stories are as varied as our supporters themselves. They may have learned about St. Joseph’s from their parents or grandparents. Or, they may have no recollection of how they were introduced to St. Joseph’s – they just know that it was years and years ago. Regardless, there’s a connection and commitment to our mission of serving Lakota (Sioux) students.

We’d love to hear from you and learn about your connection to St. Joseph’s Indian School! Don’t ever feel like you need to wait to hear from us. The only thing better than reaching out to donors is hearing from them! Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-341-2235 or send us an e-mail at We’d love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays!


Director of Major Gift Services

Good afternoon from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

The Lakota students had a great time dressing up for Halloween!

A cowboy and a Smurf were some of the many characters on campus Friday.

Hope everyone survived Halloween.  We had ghosts, goblins, princesses, ninja warriors and other various costumed students swarming the campus on Friday afternoon. They collected a few treats prior to the Grand March at 4:15 PM in the rec center.  There, we had contests for the Funniest, Scariest and the Most Creative outfits.  Prizes were also given out to the homes for the best Halloween decorations and to those who had carved or decorated pumpkins.

As Chamberlain High School just finished their first quarter, it was time to give out some awards. St. Joseph’s five high school homes compete for best grade point average and the home with the highest score gets a nice traveling trophy to keep until the next quarter.  Crane Home had a 2.46 average, Giles a 2.52, Carola a 2.54, Sheehy a 2.87 and Hogebach was the winner with a 3.29.

We also want to congratulate Angela, one of our seniors, as she has a 4.17 GPA – way to go Angela!

To encourage the students to not fall behind in their class assignments, we also have a trophy for the home with the least missing assignments.  The winner this time was Crane Home with ZERO missing assignments.  It was also the first time that a home which is predominately freshmen won the award. We’re so proud of everyone’s hard work!

Congratulations Shawn on your record-breaking football game!

Shawn, a St. Joseph’s senior, established two new school records in his last Cubs football game!

Also in high school news, the Chamberlain football team is done after making it into the play-offs.  Their last game of the season was against Crow Creek and Shawn, a St. Joseph’s senior, established two new school records! He gained 280 yards on 26 carries and scored 6 touchdowns in the 65-12 victory.  The Cubs then beat Todd County 42-16 in the first round of the play-offs. Madison, the number one seed for the state in their classification, ended the Cubs’ season. Congratulations on a great run!

Football may be over, but the basketball seasons are picking up speed! Inter-city basketball has been going for two weeks and all the young men involved seem to be having fun on the court.

Yesterday our Lady Braves kicked off their basketball season.  Our fifth and sixth grade teams hosted PILC (Pierre Indian Leaning Center) and earned a pair of victories. On Thursday the seventh and eighth grade teams will also host PILC while the fourth and fifth grade teams journey up the road to take on Crow Creek for their first away game. Go Braves!

St. Joseph’s Indian School received some good news last week that we have passed inspection and were re-certified by the Council on Accreditation out of New York.  We are honored to have achieved certification so quickly. It is a great compliment to our students and staff, along with the support and encouragement YOU give us. Pilamaya – thank you!

Hope you have a great rest of the week!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Do you know that you help provide so much more than a standard education to the Lakota boys and girls?

Pam, St. Joseph's Personal Living Skills teacher.

Pam, St. Joseph’s Personal Living Skills teacher.

St. Joseph’s eighth graders have been working hard developing the skills needed to maintain a personal checking account. First, they learned about checking account basics and then actually write checks, make deposits, keep records, and reconcile the monthly statement. Special banking services such as pre-authorized payments, wire transfers, mobile banking, making loan payments and ATM transactions are also incorporated.

This not only teaches our students an important aspect of money management, but also develops good habits for the future.

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we are privileged to work with our students not just during the school day, but after hours as well. When they are not in school, our houseparents care for the children in their campus homes 24 hours per day.

When they are not in school, St. Joseph’s houseparents teach them valuable life skills in their campus homes.

St. Joseph’s eighth graders are working hard developing the skills needed to maintain a personal checking account.

That means that, even when school is out, students are learning important life skills – social skills, caring for themselves and their homes, and more!

Pilamaya – thank you – for your support!

Pam, Personal Living Skills Teacher

Good morning friends of St. Joseph’s!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

This week, the Lakota (Sioux) students join thousands of others in celebrating drug free lifestyles with Red Ribbon Week. Monday, students wore their pajamas to class to remind one another ‘Follow your dreams — don’t do drugs.’ Tuesday, they showed their drug free school spirit by wearing blue and gold. Later in the week, they will be wearing special sobriety celebration T-shirts that say ‘Our School has SWAG (Students Who Achieve Goals).

Friday, of course, is Halloween. The children have had a wonderful time preparing ghoulish costumes and decorating their homes. Wendy manages our in-kind gifts and has collected a good supply of costumes and accessories for the day. After trick or treating on St. Joseph’s campus, students will gather in the rec center for the Costume Grand March. Prizes will be awarded for best costume, scariest pumpkin and the home with the cleverest decorations.

St. Joseph’s holds sobriety celebrations with the Lakota students three times per year.

Monday, students wore their pajamas to class to remind one another ‘Follow your dreams — don’t do drugs.’

Pilamayathank you – for your donations of gently used decorations and other items for every holiday of the year!

In addition to these festivities, preparations have begun for those students participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) program to receive Baptism, First Communion or Confirmation. With the support of their families, students have the chance to learn about and deepen their faith commitment in a special class offered each week. Families join their students on campus for a one-day retreat to offer support and encouragement to their child.  Please keep these young people and families in your prayers as they prepare to receive these Sacraments in April.

I spent Monday at a board meeting in Eagle Butte, South Dakota.  As part of St. Joseph’s outreach to Native Americans, we support a domestic violence shelter, a thrift store and an adolescent care facility on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation You can read more about their work and other outreach programs of St. Joseph’s Indian School.

I hope each of you has a great week and a fun Halloween! Remember, this weekend we move our clocks BACK an hour.  Enjoy that extra hour of sleep!


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


My name is Chelsey and this is my first “official” year at St. Joseph’s Indian School. While finishing up my Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Resource Development

St. Joseph’s Family Service Counselors spend time with the Lakota children and their families.

Chelsey loves the time she spends getting to know the Lakota children.

last year, I was an intern here. I grew up right here in Chamberlain, South Dakota, however, and have been familiar with the school my entire life.

I have always enjoyed participating in activities on campus and a trip to the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center is still one of my favorite ways to spend a day. I’ve always had an interest in the Native American culture, and now I have the privilege of working with the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families on a daily basis.

When I first considered going into the counseling field, I asked to shadow a few of the counselors at St. Joseph’s. As I was asking many questions about the field and how things are done at St. Joseph’s, I remember one counselor telling me he could sum it up in one word…relationships.

After being at St. Joseph’s for a little over a year, I could not agree more. There are so many relationships that impact my job and daily responsibilities.

The most important relationship in my life is that with God. I feel so blessed to work at a place where I can openly share my faith while participating in mass, prayer services, and home prayers.

Relationships with the students are next, especially in my position as a Family Service Counselor. My favorite times during the week are spent in sessions with the students and after school in their homes.

Closely following the relationships with the students, is the relationships I have with their parents/guardians. One of my main responsibilities as a Family Service Counselor is to be the main contact person with the families. This allows me work through the struggles of each student with their parent or guardian, and also join in celebrating their successes.

Working at St. Joseph’s also gives me relationships with my co-workers and other staff who are all working toward the same mission: to educate the Native American youth for life – mind, body, heart and spirit.

St. Joseph’s Indian School is truly a family of its own and I am so honored to work for this organization.

Each day, I see examples of the staff coming together with different ideas, activities and projects to further the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School and serve those around us.

With the years to come, I look forward to strengthening my relationship with God, building long-lasting relationships with the students and their families, and continue to fulfill the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School with the wonderful staff that surround me.

Chelsey, Family Service Counselor


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