Memo to Mother Nature — enough is enough, please make up your mind! This past Saturday was gorgeous but Palm Sunday was cold and windy, which kept our blessing of the palms indoors.  I hope spring has really sprung for you, wherever you may live.

Last week, we were honored to have Fr. Steve back on campus.  In his new role as Provincial of the United States Province he had two tasks to fulfill during his visit to St. Joseph’s Indian School.  First, he visited with all the SCJs in ministry here in South Dakota to check in on how we are doing in terms of health, ministry and spiritual lives.

St. Joseph’s eighth grade girls matched up against staff for a basketball game.

St. Joseph’s eighth grade girls vs. staff.

Second, he was part of the board meeting that reviews finances and ministry of the work the community is doing.  The meeting was held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so board members could visit St. Joseph’s Donor Care Center. The board was impressed by the ability of Donor Care Center staff to reach out to our benefactors, offering birthday greetings, answering questions and helping people learn more about St. Joseph’s Indian School and the programs we offer the Lakota (Sioux) people in Chamberlain and on South Dakota Indian Reservations.

Before heading to Sioux Falls for the meeting, Fr. Steve enjoyed watching the basketball games between staff teams and our eighth grade boys and girls’ teams.  Our young ladies were up first, and staff players gave us a glimpse of glory from their younger years.  The effort was there, but it took them awhile to hit their stride.

It was 12-11 in the staff’s favor at half.  The fans were into the game, pulling for their side in good fun. The staff team was in the lead as the final few minutes wound down. The eighth grade coach sent his whole team out to play in a sneak attack that resulted in the eighth graders getting the ball for one last shot! They made a long 3-point shot to tie it at the buzzer ending the game tied at 33 all!

Many laughs were had by all, setting us up for the boys vs. staff game.

When the game got ready to start, Fr. Steve came out to administer the opening toss up and then scrambled out of the way as everyone rushed to get the ball.  The staff team came at the eighth graders in waves – they had enough players to sub in and out. The eighth grade boys, however, had just five players!

St. Joseph’s eighth grade boys matched up against staff for a basketball game.

St. Joseph’s eighth grade boys vs. staff. Derek, a houseparent, is cleverly disguised in a St. Joseph’s Braves uniform.

The boys held their own, however, and lead at half 13-9. Once the second half got underway, it got a bit confusing – many staff were wearing St. Joseph’s team uniforms, so it was hard to make sure you were passing to your teammate and not the opposition.  The fans kept rooting for the students as the minutes ticked off the clock. There were lots of oohs and aahs as shots went up but not in. At the buzzer, the staff escaped with a 23-21 victory.

It was a great way to finish the week!

It was a busy weekend at St. Joseph’s, so stay tuned to hear more about Saturday’s many activities.

We hope that whatever activity you chose for Lent has proven beneficial and has you ready for Holy Week. May God continue to bless you all and reward you for your generosity.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


St. Joseph’s eighth grade girls had another opportunity for hands-on learning last week when they attended a GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science) conference at

Claire is a St. Joseph's houseparent


South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, South Dakota.


As one professor pointed out, eighth grade is a critical time for girls in math—some of them are taking algebra and for the first time are struggling to “get it.” Later, they may start avoiding taking math and science classes based on the faulty belief that it is too hard, or they just can’t do it. Besides, girls don’t do math, right? HA!


GEMS was an opportunity for them to learn that not only are math and science accessible for girls, they can be a lot of fun! They had 15+ volunteer role models to show them how great it is to be a girl-geek in engineering. Both students and professors were on hand to show them around and guide them through four activities.


St. Joseph’s eighth grade girls programmed a robot to navigate an obstacle course as part of the GEMS workshop.

The girls were careful to start their robot in the same place each time to navigate the course.

Engineering is all about solving problems, so the girls were given several cool tasks to try out for themselves.


Problem #1: Control a Robot. Instead of using a remote control, the girls wrote the actual program to guide the robot through a maze drawn on a floor mat. Wow! Just like the Mars Rover! They wrote lines of code and then tested them out on the robot, tweaking distances and degrees of turns. All the while, their college mentors modeled how to solve problems. “You might want to shorten the turn there. Make sure you always set the robot down in the same spot.” The girls were fascinated, frustrated and elated.


Problem #2: Solve a Crime. Oh no! Somebody broke into the lab, broke a planter, stole some copper wiring, and spilled a suspicious white powder on the floor. Plus, they left

While learning about how buildings are constructed, the girls wore regulation Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.

Personal Protection Equipment – it’s what all the cool girls are wearing!

behind their half-eaten chocolate bar. That’s just WRONG.


The girls got to use techniques like fingerprinting, dental casting, foot printing and chemical analysis to figure out whodunit.  I can’t wait until someone’s snacks go missing in Pinger Home, because I am sure the St. Joseph’s CSI team will be on the case. Stand back!


Problem #3: Build a New Laboratory. Well, the girls didn’t actually have to help construct a building. But they had a very enthusiastic tour guide explain to them all the different teams who have to work together to complete a complex structure (not unlike the crew who completed the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center renovation last fall). Plus they got to wear PPE – Personal Protection Equipment – goggles, hard hats and reflector vests. It’s what ALL the fashionable girl geeks and engineers are wearing!


Problem #4: Build a Bridge. This was their absolute favorite activity. It involved working in a team with a tour guide. They had to build a working 6-foot bridge with tinker toys, cardboard, string and two bricks. As one girl said:

At first, I saw the space between the two desks and I thought we could never do it. And then we just… started building. I really had to exercise my brain.

The importance of mentors became really clear.

I liked building the bridge because our guide stayed with us the whole time instead of rotating to other stations. She could tell we were really into it.

The Lakota girls worked in teams to build a bridge spanning 6 feet using only string, cardboard, two bricks and tinker toys.

Their favorite task was building a 6-foot bridge, working only with cardboard, two bricks, string and tinker toys.


The girls really enjoyed their trip to SDSU, even though it meant getting up at 5am (on a Saturday!) to make the 3-hour trek from St. Joseph’s Indian School to Brookings. I really hope their experience will help them the next time they get stuck in math class.

This may be hard, but I can do hard things. I can solve this problem.

Once again, I thank our generous donors and SDSU for giving our Native American girls such an awesome learning opportunity. Girls Rock!

No way!

Geri, St. Joseph's Major Gifts Director

Geri, St. Joseph’s Major Gifts Director

Isn’t it just amazing how sometimes a plan comes together?! And how quickly it can happen? Don’t you find yourself saying, No way!?   St. Joseph’s Development Office just had one of those moments.

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we don’t just provide for the education and basic needs of poverty-stricken Native American children – we make dreams come true. However, we couldn’t do it without the generous support of our many friends, our tiyospayeextended family – of donors who want to make a difference to a Lakota child.

Recently, we reached out to such friends – a foundation in California whose last gift to St. Joseph’s Indian School arrived in October 2009. We were challenged to find a correct phone number for the foundation and ended up leaving a voice message with an attorney, assuming we’d run into a dead end.

However, in a few days we received a phone call from a very excited donor who was anxious to hear how things were going at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Here’s where the story gets interesting…

As we described our plans to open another home on our campus for our Native American students this fall and supply an additional second grade class, we could hear her excitement. She then inquired about other projects, so we described our plans to completely renovate our playground. At this point, the donor’s enthusiasm bubbled over! She asked that we send her a detailed proposal.

Thanks to the generosity of many friends, the Lakota children have a safe place to play and learn at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

The Lakota children love playing outside on St. Joseph’s playground!

We cautioned her that it was a very large project including new basketball courts, a walking track, a new play structure and a rubber tile surface covering nearly 10,000 square feet – costly, but a safety requirement for the children.

We stressed that the project would only be possible with many gifts of all sizes. Unperturbed, she asked how quickly we could get a proposal together for her.

Eight business days after sending a proposal, we heard back from this spirited donor, indicating a check was on the way that would cover 45% of the project! No way!

When we explained that we were overwhelmed by the size of her gift, that our average gift is around $21, this donor replied, “I know – that’s the size of gift I used to make.”

We aren’t in the fundraising business. We are in the Making Dreams Come True business. Not only for the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families we are privileged to serve, but also the donors with whom we are blessed to work.

Pilamayathank you – for being part of our work and making dreams come true!

We hope this finds you all healthy and doing well! The weather in Chamberlain is keeping us guessing, but the last couple of days have been warming up… Dare we say spring

Fr. Anthony is St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Fr. Anthony with the Lakota children

is really here?

St. Joseph’s Native American students have taken advantage of the nice days and are getting out for some activities. Tonight, the junior high softball league will start. The fourth and fifth grade softball will have a meeting today and start their season in the next day or two. Our youngest students (first, second and third grades) take part in T-ball and they kick off their season tomorrow afternoon.

Last Thursday, I had the chance to attend the Chrism Mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The oils used in church rituals during this year were blessed and then distributed to all the parishes. The clergy gather to re-affirm our commitment of service to God’s people and to take the oils home as a sign of unity within the diocese. These oils will be used on April 27 when our Lakota (Sioux) students who are taking part in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) program will receive their Sacraments.

Saturday was a big night for our high school students – prom! Since the festivities go through the night, we decided to push back our Sunday Mass at St. Joseph’s Indian School to late afternoon so everyone could get some sleep. It was nice to see other prom goers from the community join our later service after taking the opportunity to sleep in. Check out our photos from the evening!

Most of St. Joseph’s high school students attend the Chamberlain High School prom last weekend.

St. Joseph’s students and their dates at the prom!

Everyone was very excited to have Fr. Steve back with us to be the celebrant at our afternoon Mass. He is in South Dakota for a board meeting this week and to visit with the local SCJ community members in his role as Provincial Superior.


It is hard to believe Palm Sunday is coming up this weekend. We hope it will be a special day for you as we continue our journey to Easter.


Take care and know we are keeping you and your intentions in our prayers.

God bless,
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Happy Spring!

Julie is a counselor for the Lakota boys and girls at St. Joseph's.

Julie, Family Service Counselor

Even though the weather cannot seem to make up its mind here in South Dakota, spring is officially here! The Lakota (Sioux) students returned from spring break a couple weeks ago and all seemed to have enjoyed the time they were able to spend with family. As we move into April, the final weeks of classes at St. Joseph’s Indian School year will become very busy.

Track has started for our students – the team is 24 strong! St. Joseph’s high school students will run track for Chamberlain High School. Good luck Cubs!

St. Joseph’s junior high students (grades 6-8) students will also start softball in the near future. Hopefully, the weather will start to cooperate and we will have some nice days for our students to participate in these sports.


St. Joseph’s students learn basic softball skills – hitting, catching and throwing.

Swing, batter batter, swing!

Our seniors are getting anxious and ready for graduation, as are our eighth grade students. It’s time for pictures, dress and suit shopping; the joy our graduates are feeling about their accomplishments is nearly tangible!

We wish them all a happy remainder of the school year. Hang tough graduates, the end is near!

We are also fully immersed in the Lenten Season, and the students are looking forward to one more short break for Easter. As we are called in this Lenten Season to prepare our hearts for Resurrection of our Lord, we are also called to serve one another.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our donors and benefactors for their generous donations, which make it possible for all of the staff of St. Joseph’s Indian School to serve the Native American people. Without your support, we could not do the good that we do.

The Lakota children play softball each spring.

If the weather cooperates, the Lakota children will have lovely green grass to play on by the end of the school year!

I wish you all a warm and joyous Spring, Lenten Season and Easter Season.

May the Lord bless you abundantly and keep you and yours safe and healthy!

Julie, Family Service Counselor

How does the old saying go? March comes in like a lion or lamb and goes out like the opposite?

This year is an exception. We had bad weather at the start of the month, and a blizzard with strong winds and snow raged yesterday! Several staff members headed home early and Chamberlain students (including St. Joseph’s high school students) were dismissed at 1:00 PM. Thankfully, the freezing rain passed us by and we only got 2-4 of snow. But it’s cold this morning – only 12 degrees!

It’s hard to believe, but Sunday we enjoyed a lovely spring day – temperatures in the high 60s. The Lakota (Sioux) students got into the spirit of the opening day of baseball by playing an afternoon ball game.

Last week, our high school students and staff took a few trips to college campuses. Several sophomores went to Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for a career day. We have a couple young men interested in law enforcement and public safety, engineering, transportation, photography and web design. Two of our young ladies are looking into possibilities in the health care field.


St. Joseph’s sophomores visited Dakota State University.

Danisha, class of 2012, shows St. Joseph’s current sophomore boys around Dakota State University, where she is attending college.

Another group went to Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota to look into music, digital design and gaming.Later this week, some will head out to the Black Hills to visit Western Dakota Tech where one of our seniors, Dean, has already been accepted to the law enforcement program.

Mary Jane, St. Joseph’s alumni coordinator, passed along some updates from former students:
• Ben, eighth grade class of ’77, lives on the Rosebud Indian Reservation where he works as an investigator for the tribal police department. His wife also works for the tribe. She was recently able to finish her college degree thanks to St. Joseph’s Scholarship Program.
• Kristin, eighth grade class of ’07, graduated from the Navy Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois on March 7, 2014.
• Raygina, who attended St. Joseph’s from 1992-1999, is involved in the nursing program up at United Tribes in Bismarck, North Dakota. She is looking forward to finishing her degree and moving into the next stage of her life.


You may recall that last week I mentioned St. Joseph’s was taking part in the Acalympics (Academic Olympics) in White River, South Dakota. There were 12 schools with teams made up of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students; St. Joseph’s team came in ninth.

Kathleen, our principal, said the team did well, but scoring demands teams to be very precise in regards to spelling and complete answers. A neighboring school to the west of us, Lyman, was the winning team.

We hope each of you has a great week and that spring does indeed come as we move into April. May God bless and reward you for your generosity towards the Lakota boys and girls at St. Joseph’s Indian School. We keep you and your intentions in our prayers.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Hello there! I’m Maija, and I have the best job at St. Joseph’s Indian School! I work primarily with the Lakota (Sioux) students in high school and junior high. I get to plan

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students


fun activities with the kids, train new houseparents, call applicants and more.

I had the pleasure of putting together a series of five blog posts that you’ve seen over the last few weeks – one post from each of our high school homes – and today is our final installment. We got started with the Hogebach Home, followed by the Crane Home and the Giles Home. Last week we heard about the boys in the Sheehy Home.

St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus, but attend Chamberlain High School, so their schedule is a little different than our younger students.

I hope this blog gives you a glimpse into our world; the activities the kids are involved with, their hopes, and goals.


Carola boys describe their home as a unique, fun, normal yet different home, which they’re glad to be a part of. The home is quite small for high school boys, but this provides them with what Wyatt calls a “male bonding” experience.
The boys of Carola are proud of their involvement in helping others in the community. They are COBRAS – Creating One Brotherhood Responsible through Actively Serving.

St Joseph’s high school boys visited the University of Minnesota during their home trip to Minneapolis.

On their home trip to Minneapolis, the Carola boys made a stop at the University of Minnesota.

The boys have done some really wonderful and helpful things for others, such as an activity with the elderly in a local assisted living center, sending packages to soldiers overseas, helping load and haul rock and wood for a home improvement and cleaning up the rec center gym after basketball games, to name a few.

They are also actively involved at Chamberlain High School. Jacob and JaTonne have been up bright and early several mornings for choir competitions. Other boys in the home play basketball, football, run track, and wrestle. Jacob is also looking forward to the State track meet and hoping to go to state for wrestling. Jeremy feels proud of his football season this year and if his muscles get any bigger, he’ll be a force to contend with for certain!

Jeremy is proud to have been accepted as one of four exchange students going to Handrup, Germany, this summer and is looking forward to learning some pick up lines he can use with the girls there German.

The boys hope to end the school year with everyone getting good grades and are looking forward to the weather improving so they can go fishing and have bonfires.
Pilamaya – thank you – for your support of St. Joseph’s and these awesome kids!

Have a great week,
Maija & the Carola boys

My name is Jeshua and I am the Lakota language teacher at St. Joseph’s Indian School. This was my first year on staff. In addition to teaching language, I also help with our drum group.

Our lowan wicasa (drum group) is called the Chalk Hills Singers. We get our name from all the stories of St. Joseph’s early days when the children would hike in the hills north of campus and find the chalky rocks alongside the Missouri River. We practice twice per week with all types of styles and genres like powwow, traditional, sundance and round dance songs.

I’m really proud of how far the boys have come. I believe every singer can now take a lead (starting a song so everyone joins in). These students aren’t just learning how to drum; we incorporate meaning, what the drum represents to our Lakota (Sioux) people and how important it is to be a drum keeper or singer.

So far we have 13 male singers in grades 6-12, and three wicaglata win (the women who accompany the men at the drum). Females sing in support of the drummers, standing around them. They are usually close to the singers and must know the songs as well.

St. Joseph’s drum group, the Chalk Hills Singers, sing with their instructor Jeshua.

Jeshua and the boys sing at the drum during St. Joseph’s 2013 powwow celebration.

In Lakota tradition, women do not sit at the drum. We explain the etiquette of how singers conduct themselves around the drum and that it is a great honor to make people dance, cry and laugh with their voice and the drum.

We sing at every St. Joseph’s powwow, which is an awesome sight with our Native American students in regalia, singing loud and proud. This fall, we also had the chance to participate in a veterans’ powwow on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation, which is my home reservation.

The boys witnessed a tokala (warrior) ceremony and had the chance to dance as well and pay respect to all veterans, which was a very memorable experience. All the other drums came up to shake our boys’ hands and give them props for being such a young and strong group of singers.

Recently, the sixth grade boys had the chance to participate in Inipipurification lodge – and put their singing voices to use in what is also called the prayer lodge. For most of them, it was their first time participating in this ceremony.

It was awesome. They knew the songs to sing and showed great respect and attitude all the way to the end. We are going to have boys and girls inipi ceremony every month for different grades.

I believe their identity as Native Americans is very important. We try showing them this way of life at St. Joseph’s because some of them never get the opportunity.
That is what I love about St. Joseph Indian School: We can incorporate all types and diverse aspects to culture, religion and history for the students and staff.
Pilamaya – thank you – for your generosity!

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School! Today is class picture day and all our students are putting on their best smile for the yearbook.

Fr. Anthony is St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Fr. Anthony with the Lakota children

The Lakota (Sioux) children are enjoying the first week of spring. Last week, a golf course in Mitchell, South Dakota (70 miles from Chamberlain) tempted Mother Nature by announcing the course was open. As the saying goes, ‘it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature,’ and she brought a screeching halt to that endeavor by dropping 3.4 inches of snow on the Mitchell area!

Yesterday, we had a Penance service for our third, fourth and fifth graders along with the Stations of the Cross. We offer the Sacrament during the Lenten and Advent seasons specifically, as well as other times throughout the year and whenever we receive requests from students or staff.

As warmer weather begins to move in, the students are enjoying riding their bikes and scooters and shooting some hoops outside. This week, some of our Native American students will participate in a weeklong gymnastics camp hosted by the Chamberlain school district. Preparations are underway for St. Joseph’s track season, as well as the junior high softball league. The younger students will play T-ball.

Reuben, a St. Joseph’s senior, was named to the Big Dakota Conference Basketball Team. Way to go Reuben!

Reuben is one of St. Joseph’s seniors.

We are excited to share that two members of the Chamberlain High School boys’ basketball team, Skyler and Reuben, were selected for the Big Dakota Conference team. Reuben is one of St. Joseph’s seniors and Skyler is the son of a St. Joseph’s teacher! Congratulations to them both!

On Wednesday six of our students—Anthony, Helena, Nate, Camron, Rain and Alyssa — will be taking part in what is called the “Acalympics” in White River, South Dakota. It is a kind of Knowledge Bowl for grade school students. This will be our third year participating in the event.

We hope you have a great week! May the blessings of the Great Spirit be upon you, bringing you good health and much happiness. Thank you again for your kindness and concern for the Lakota boys and girls. We are grateful for the support and prayers you share with these precious children!
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Hello there! I’m Maija, and I have the best job at St. Joseph’s Indian School! I work primarily with the Lakota (Sioux) students in high school and junior high. I

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students


get to plan fun activities with the kids, train new houseparents, call applicants and more.

I had the pleasure of putting together a series of five blog posts that you’ll see over the next few weeks – one post from each of our high school homes! We got started with the Hogebach Home, followed by the Crane Home and the Giles Home last week.

St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus, but attend Chamberlain High School, so their schedule is a little different than our younger students.

I hope this blog gives you a glimpse into our world; the activities the kids are involved with, their hopes, and goals.


The Sheehy Home boys describe themselves as a family, period. They enjoy residing in their spacious home, especially when they have to be indoors due to the cold weather. They spend some of their free time watching WWF (World Wrestling Federation) and, as a side note, they say Randy Orton is the best! They also like playing video games when they’re not at St. Joseph’s rec center playing basketball.

St. Joseph’s high school students work hard to keep the academic trophies in their home – one for highest GPA and one for fewest missing assignments.

The boys in the Sheehy Home have earned bragging rights as the owners of St. Joseph’s High School Academic Trophies!

They are proud to be an active bunch of young men –  just about all of them are involved with one of the Chamberlain High sports teams. This is not just a house full of “jocks” though. Sheehy Home has several boys who earned a spot on the Honor Roll and are still working hard keeping up with their grades.

This is a close-knit group. These guys have been together for many years, all working toward being positive leaders. No one has dropped from the high school program as they encourage each other to work hard, do well, and graduate.

Their hopes for the remainder of the school year are to have fun, get good grades, earn the academic trophy back and keep it!

Pilamaya thank you – for your support of St. Joseph’s and these awesome kids!

Have a great week,

Maija & the Sheehy boys


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