Once powwow is over, most look to take it easy for a day or two, but St. Joseph’s fifth graders are off and running this week with Starbase!

St. Joseph’s fifth graders participate in the Eggbert experiment.

Space shuttles zip down the line with fragile cargo in the Eggbert experiment.

The program combines science, technology, engineering and math to deal with various problems and challenges.

Monday the students conducted the ‘Eggbert Launch.’ After devising ways to protect an egg strapped into the model space shuttles they were given, the shuttles were launched down a wire into a head-on collision.

The Lakota students came up with some unique ways to protect the eggs as they slid to their fate, but only one survived completely. Taps were played over four of them, two were deemed to have survived but needed a trip to the egg hospital.

Tomorrow, the class will make a trip to Rapid City, South Dakota to visit Air & Space Museum at Ellsworth Air Force Base, get hands-on with space food and view constellations in the dome from the Journey Center.

One egg survived the Eggbert experiment when St. Joseph’s fifth graders participated in Starbase.

Nateela, LaShawn and Barrett devised a way to keep their egg from cracking in a head-on collision as part of the Eggbert experiment!

What a great celebration!

St. Joseph’s Royalty Joe, Diamond and Shawnna are pictured with Fr. Anthony.

Joe was named Eagle Staff Bearer; Diamond, Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s and Shawnna, Miss St. Joseph’s.

Powwow activities started last Thursday when two busloads of visitors went on a tour of the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations just north of Chamberlain. A ‘meet & greet’ Thursday evening allowed our visitors to ask questions of our Child Services Staff.

Friday, guests gathered for various cultural activities at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. Later that day, the students gave tours of their classrooms. Afterwards, everyone gathered at the rec center for the announcement of our powwow royalty — Miss St. Joseph’s, Jr., Miss St. Joseph’s and our Eagle Staff Bearer, who would lead the Grand Entry on Saturday.

Mr. Dallas Chief Eagle then presented a hoop dance.  Friday concluded with the annual Tiyospaye Banquet, where we drew for a Lakota Star Quilt (won by a benefactor from California). There were also silent auctions and the live auction of hand-painted piece by Del Iron Cloud, a St. Joseph’s graduate and our Distinguished Alumni Award winner.

Saturday did indeed live up to all the predictions and was an answer to our prayers. The sun was out with no clouds in the sky, but it was a bit breezy. As the day progressed, it warmed up and turned out to be a beautiful day, great for the dancers.

The morning began with the dedication of the new playground equipment.  We were honored to have the benefactor who was the driving force behind the project present to help cut the ribbon with Miss St. Joseph’s.

Grand Entry at powwow is led by St. Joseph’s Eagle Staff Bearer and veteran alumni carrying flags.

St. Joseph’s Eagle Staff Bearer led Grand Entry, followed by St. Joseph’s veteran alumni carrying the flags.

Afterwards, our grass dancers helped bless the powwow grounds and prayers were offered asking the Great Spirit to help the dancers do their best and to make the whole day a rewarding experience for everyone.  The Colors were carried by an Honor Guard made up of military veterans who were St. Joseph’s alumni.  All veterans were invited to march in following the colors. Veterans were invited to introduce themselves, tell what branch of service they served in and where they have been stationed.  We were especially honored to have a World War II veteran with us.

Another highlight of the day was the presence of Mr. Casimir LeBeau, one of two surviving members of the student body that started at St. Joseph’s when the school opened in 1927.  He shared some thoughts with the crowd and then became the centerpiece as the 64 alumni who were present gathered around him for a group picture.

As the competitive dancing came to an end, we had Mass at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. Several of our dancers attended in full regalia and danced accompanied by St. Joseph’s drum group.  After Mass was over, everyone gathered for dinner and prizes for the dancers and drum groups.

It was a wonderful weekend! Be sure to watch our powwow video and consider making plans to attend our 39th powwow on September 19, 2015!

We thank you for your many prayers.  May God’s blessings continue to be with you and yours.

See more powwow pictures in our Flickr album!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


In all the excitement of powwow on St. Joseph’s campus this weekend, our 2014 seniors are experiencing a whole new kind of excitement: the next chapter!

Mike and his wife April have been houseparents at St. Joseph’s Indian School for six years.

The Sheehy Home, including houseparent Mike, Errol, Cody and Wyatt.

They have taken their next step in their lives, whether to college, technical school or something else.

Mike, one of St. Joseph’s houseparents, had the privilege of taking one of the boys to college:

My wife and I have been houseparent’s at St. Joseph’s for six years now. Our first two years were in the 6th-8th grade community. The last four were in the high school program.

One student, Errol, has been in our homes for all six years. Watching him become the young man he is has been a privilege. He graduated with honors as member of the National Honor Society.

In July I received a call asking if I would be willing to drive him to the University of South Dakota so he could register for his classes and finalize all the paper work. I quickly agreed and counted it as another privilege.

On our way back to his house that day I asked him what his plans were for getting to school in August. He smiled and said, “Well, I was hoping you would take me.”

I was glad to help and we made plans for the move-in day. When August arrived, another one of my graduates, Cody, was playing basketball with my home in the gym. Cody would be leaving for South Dakota State two days later. I told him I was going to pick up Errol and take him to college the next day and asked if he wanted to ride with me. He said sure he would like to go.

The next day, most of the ride they debated which school was better and why the other one should transfer. Once we arrived at Errol’s new home for the next four years, we were happy to see Errol’s roommate, Wyatt, was also moving in. Wyatt is also a graduate from St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Errol, Wyatt and Cody lived in the same home during their high school years at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Errol, Wyatt and Cody on move-in day!

Of course they were laughing about how they were going to fit everything into such a small dorm room and they realized their rooms at St. Joseph’s were much bigger, not to mention they had air condition and the dorm room doesn’t. Once settled, in Errol ask if we could drop him off at the Native American Center for his orientation class. We pulled up in front and I was expecting to say our goodbyes, but Errol and Cody both got out and went inside…

I had to circle the block and find a parking spot.

When I went inside the meeting had already started, so I motioned for Cody to come with me and waved bye to Errol. Errol waved back and said thank you.

As Cody and I started out the door towards the car he said “What about Errol?”

“He is staying here,” I answered.

“We are leaving him?” Cody asked.

I said yes.

Cody asked again, very thoughtfully, “We are leaving him here all alone?”

“Yes Cody,” I replied. “We are leaving him here all alone. He’s in college now, buddy.”

After a moment’s thoughtful silence, Cody said “I can’t believe we are leaving him here all alone.”

I reached up and put my hand on Cody’s 6’4’’ 290lb. back, and reminded him that in two days his mother would drive him to South Dakota State University and watch as he moved in to his dorm room.

“Then,” I said with a quiet voice, “she will then leave you there. And you’ll be in college too.”

We rode in silence for a few miles, not entirely sure where the most sniffles were coming from. After a few minutes, Cody broke the silence.

“We will always have St. Joseph’s.”

Mike F

Sheehy Home houseparent

Greetings from South Dakota and happy powwow week!

The Lakota boys and girls waited a month, but St. Joseph’s new playground is finally done!

Shouts of joy erupted from the playground when the Lakota students finally got to play on the new equipment!

The BIG news today is the blessing of the new playground equipment! Students and staff came out during their first period yesterday morning so we could offer a prayer and express our gratitude to our tiyospayeextended family – who made it all possible. There was a lot of excitement and glee as they slid, climbed, swung and checked out everything.

As one staffer put it:

The kids finally got to play on our new playground! They have been waiting for a month and were incredibly patient. Today it was awesome to witness them experience it for the first time. Yep, all 164 kids at once – priceless!!!!!! If only everyone could have heard the joy that erupted from St. Joseph’s this morning…we are truly blessed!!!!!!!

Pilamaya thank you – for your generosity!

And in the midst of this excitement, powwow week is upon us!

Last week we began the process to determine our royalty for the powwow.  The students taking part had to write a short essay about why they wanted to be Miss St. Joseph’s, Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s or the Eagle Staff Bearer.  They were also asked to demonstrate their dancing skills and answered questions from our panel of judges. The results will be announced Friday afternoon, September 12, at the cultural presentation in the Rec Center.

Even the big kids wanted to check out every corner of the new playground.

All the Lakota students – big and little – checked out every corner of the new playground.

Powwow guests are already arriving at St. Joseph’s Indian School! Our first visitor so excited he came a week early. He knocked on our door Saturday morning wondering where everyone was. Activities officially begin Thursday morning with a bus tour of nearby Indian Reservations (pre-registration required). In the meantime, guests can visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and take in the sites in and around Chamberlain. Check out the full powwow schedule!

You can learn more about powwow, including the definition of the event and various dance styles, at www.stjo.org/powwow.

I hope each of you has a wonderful week.  Please keep us in prayer that we’ll have good weather and a successful event for our Lakota (Sioux) students, their families and all our guests!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

The Lakota children say pilamaya – thank you!

Wopila tanka – many thanks – for your generosity!


The new year at St. Joseph’s Indian School is well underway – we’ve had almost a month of school already. The Lakota students came back with smiles on their faces, positive

Linea teaches reading at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Linea, St. Joseph’s reading teacher for seventh and eighth grades.

attitudes and ready to learn!

To start the year, we adopted the saying “Our Future is so Bright, We Have to Wear Shades!!!!” This is why we look so “cool” in the picture.

In seventh and eighth grade reading class with me, students are starting out learning about fiction and all the elements involved in a fiction story. The first few weeks, we stress how authors use sensory details to make descriptions more vivid and the different ways they develop the characters in their stories. We also point out how important the setting is because it can affect the mood and tone of the story.

The students are looking forward to St. Joseph’s annual powwow and all the activities involved – a week from today it will be here! It is a busy and exciting time of year. Will you be joining us for powwow?

Linea – 7th & 8th Grade Reading Teacher

To start the year, St. Joseph’s students and teachers adopted the saying “Our Future is so Bright, We Have to Wear Shades

Linea and her seventh graders sport sunglasses in class because “our future’s so bright, we’ve gotta wear shades!”

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!  We were honored to have a lot of guests visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center as they were passing through on their travels. I love driving through the parking lot to look at the license plates and see where everyone is from. I hope you may have the chance to visit us one day!

It was a busy week here on campus. One of our high school boys’ homes hosted the Chamberlain High School Varsity football team for dinner Thursday night. It is a way to strengthen team unity and help give the local players and coaches a chance to see how the St. Joseph’s students live. We have several St. Joseph’s boys on the team.

St. Joseph’s powwow will be September 12-13; the Lakota children are ready!

The Lakota boys and girls are practicing their dance steps for powwow!

Sadly, the team lost their season opener Friday night against a team ranked at the state level. However, the Cubs will have the chance to rebound with their home opener this Friday.

In volleyball news, the varsity season opens tonight with the Lady Cubs hosting Stanley County.  Just like the football team, we have several students on both the Varsity and JV teams.

Go Cubs!

The high school students had Friday off as well as Monday. One of our homes took advantage of the time off and offered a car wash on campus. Their goal was to raise money to attend the LifeLight Music Festival in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is a three-day Christian music event. The car wash was a hit and they had a great time at the festival!

Here on campus over the long weekend, the younger Lakota students took in a movie – Guardians of the Galaxy – at our local theater. A picnic was planned afterwards, but they had to avoid some rain drops! They also had the chance to enjoy being outside, swim and just take it easy – it was a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

With the holiday weekend behind us, all the focus now shifts to St. Joseph’s powwow September 12-13.  We are praying for good weather! The students are busy preparing regalia and practicing their dance steps. We hope you can join us!

We hope you will all have a great week! May God’s blessings and guidance will be with you.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Clare, St. Joseph's Director of Pastoral Care and Native American Studies

Clare, St. Joseph’s Director of Pastoral Care and Native American Studies

Good afternoon! I am Clare, St. Joseph’s Director of Pastoral Care and Native American Studies.

Spirituality is an important part of our mission at St. Joseph’s Indian School: to educate for life – mind, body, heart and spirit.

Last week, you read LaRayne’s blog post about smudging. In addition to traditional Lakota ceremonies, we provide our students with opportunities to learn about the Catholic faith and, if their families choose, to be baptized.

It’s important to note that students are not required to be Catholic to attend St. Joseph’s, though more than half of them are. When students are enrolled at St. Joseph’s, I interview their parents or guardians to make certain that instruction in the Catholic faith is their wish for their children, and I am in regular communication with them throughout the process.

Many families express gratitude that we can provide this faith dimension for their children. At home, they often live more than 30 miles from the nearest Catholic parish (many lack transportation) and are unable to provide this education for their children.

St. Joseph’s students and their families decide if they want to be baptized or receive Communion.

The Lakota children who chose to be baptized received candles lit from the “Christ light” and were instructed to keep the flame of faith burning brightly throughout their lives.

When we work with children to join the Catholic faith, we use a year-long process (at least) that really helps them to discern what faith means in their lives. We are careful that we are not “doing something to” them, but rather they are “choosing to do something.”

Last spring, we celebrated the initiation of 16 students into the Catholic faith, and four other students joined us at the Eucharistic table for the first time. It was a joy-filled experience, and one of our houseparents remarked that it seemed even more so than previous years.

These 20 students, grades 1 through 5, brought such enthusiasm to the day. “Enthusiasm” means to be filled with God. In their bright smiles, eagerness to come to the water and be sealed with the Spirit and desire to share in the Eucharist, God was indeed visible.

I remember one special moment very clearly: I could see down the row of children who had just received the candles lit from the “Christ light.” They had been instructed to keep the flame of faith burning brightly throughout their lives. The flames danced and were mirrored in their eyes… I prayed that it would always be so.

Though their faces were bright from water, oil and candlelight, I am confident that they shone more completely because of the inner light of faith enkindled in them. What a treasured journey it is to travel alongside of them!


The Lakota students and their parent or guardian decide if they want to be baptized or receive Communion.

Last spring, 20 Lakota (Sioux) students chose to be baptized or receive the Eucharist.


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