Since 1927, St. Joseph’s Indian School has provided care and education for Native American boys and girls. St. Joseph’s Indian School’s stated mission is to provide for the basic welfare of children (food, clothing and medical care) with special emphasis on the spiritual, emotional and educational development of each child, while respecting their culture and heritage.

St. Joseph’s provides Native American children in need with a safe, stable home and a top-notch education – all while helping the youngsters appreciate and understand their proud Lakota (Sioux) culture.

Your prayers and gifts keep our doors open!

45 Responses to “St. Joseph's Indian School”

  1. La Chasity Finley Says:

    Dear father Steve, I just wanted to say that i miss you and I’m praying for you every night and every morning before i go to school. I sure do miss you and all my other friends, that i had their for about four in a half years since i been their. But also say hi to Leslie sitting crow, Jean Comes Flying, Trenton and Ethan Zepher Rich for me thank you. Oh and one more thing say hi to all the staff for me and My old basketball coach Mike.

  2. Lynn Woolwine Says:

    Please send me one of your lovely gifts made by students. Every year I receive something new and special. Thank you so much!

    1. Good morning Lynn!
      The Lakota children at St. Joseph’s are busy learning and growing; the gifts we send are not made by the children. You can select from the items we have available at
      God bless!

      1. Madelyn Mathias Says:

        Yes, Father, I received the children’s special gift for Christmas!! Thank you to all….my thoughts and prayers are with you, and Happy, Healthy, Blessed New Year to EVERYONE at St. Joseph’s!!! 🙂

      2. Thank you Madelyn – blessings to you in 2015!

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  6. Hello Lakotas, We recently found this art work not finished but there’s two big birds – one is higher up then the other with a piece pipe along side them and these words down below ” Lakota O ya tey… Washte … Wanblee …. Washte … Wanblee Etehuaefo

    Washte … Wanblee …. O ya tey … A topi top I eh

    Anashia Chuaefo” What does these words mean in English?

    1. Thank you for sharing Norma! I’ve asked our Native American Studies teacher to translate.

    2. Lakota Nation/people good eagle, good, (I do not know what Etahuaefo is)
      Waste=good; wanbli= eagle
      I am not sure those last words are Lakota.

  7. Andrea John Says:

    I love your book’s please send some titles of your books

    1. Thanks Andrea! We’ll send the information to the email address you provided.

  8. Charles Dane Bellon Says:

    One day last January I received a package from the St.Joesph Indian school and I called in my first donation and did not look back.The staff I talked to was very helpful in answering my questions.I also read and done my homework on learning more about St. Joseph Indian school and it’s people.I saw on you tube of the conditions these Indians home they live in.well I am more inspired to give to help out and will continue to donate to this charity group and just to this charity group.Thank you all for including me in to your extended family I am very humbled.I hope each and every child graduate and go on to college and may The Lord God bless all of you in whatever field of occupation you all enter in.Another thing preserve your traditions be proud of who you are and that is glorious. God bless the Father,the staff,employees and the children of St.Joseph Indian school..brothers and sisters in Christ–love you all. Charles Dane Bellon

    1. Thank you Charles – we’re so grateful for your friendship!

  9. Dear Father Steve,

    So sorry to hear you are so ill.
    I’ve been sending what I can for a few years now (I’m a disabled vet and don’t have much either). St. Joseph’s is my ONLY charity. I would like to reach out to the high school age kids and let them know I’m here to help in any way I can with maneuvering student loans. I have a website at and I hope your juniors and seniors will visit – they need to plan ahead when choosing schools and loans! I also have an extensive “links” list to help with this. If anyone needs immediate assistance, they can email me at and mark the subject line “St Joseph STUDENT” so I won’t miss it.


    Amanda Lee Brown

    1. Thank you Amanda, we’ll pass on this information!
      Fr. Steve is actually doing very well now. Thank you for your concern!

  10. John Shaw Says:

    I belong to paperbackswap book club. I have more books to my credit than I need. Say about 50. That means that your students who like to read could order, free of charge, 50 books from what’s listed in the paperbackswap catalog. You should feed me the names of books and their authors and the name (first only is ok or whatever code name you choose) and I will have it sent to that person as a gift using one of my credits. You need to open a line of communication such as email so I can keep you updated as to whether or not your book is available. My email address is

    1. Thank you for your kind offer John!
      Please expect an email from Jona. She handles special projects and will be in touch. God bless!

  11. Malinda Willis Says:

    Dear Father Steve, My Grandfather , Earl Russell Smith is said to have gone to St. Joseph’s Indian School in the early 1900’s (he was born in 1897). I was wondering if you have records that go back that far and if you can send me any information about him and or his father Frank Russell Smith (who was said to be a missionary who taught the Sioux to read and may have been employed at your school)? If not, can you direct me to any resources? My email address is, and again thank you so much. Malinda Smith Willis

    1. Thank you for your note, Malinda!
      St. Joseph’s was founded in 1927. Unfortunately, we have no record of an Earl Russell Smith ever attending. God bless you in your search!

    2. Malinda Willis Says:

      Thank you so much Fr. Steve for your prompt reply and your blessing. Was there a predecessor to St. Joseph’s that my ancestors might have been connected with? A small mission or church that evolved into St. Joseph’s as the needs and means arose? Thank you again, Malinda Willis

  12. Vance & Charlee Anderson Says:

    Goodmorning Father,
    We admire you, Father & all that look after our native youth… They are our future 😉
    You will be in our thoughts & prayers.
    Vance & Charlee Anderson

    1. Amen. I am adding in Jesus Name. I actually have something from way back that Says “St. Joseph Indian School.” On it. I do not remember what it is; It is stored somewhere,. I never knew this school ran today also.

  13. Fr. Steve,

    I mentioned St. Joseph’s in a blog post, citing the Tiyospaye Club as an example of staying engaged and connected with donors. I hope that it creates some interest in the school and your ministry!

    You can view the post here:

    Blessings to you, your team, and the students!

  14. Donna Thacker Says:

    I have a question. I received a collection of beautiful cards from you and I’m wondering if you have considered selling boxes of your cards? I think it would be a wonderful idea to raise money, and know I would buy them each year, as well as recommend them to my friends and family.
    Donna Thacker

    1. Good afternoon Donna,

      You can purchase additional Christmas and holiday cards and other Native American items from our online gift store! You can visit the online gift store here:

      Please feel free to pass this information on to your friends or ask any us questions that you might have by emailing us at!

      God bless; have a great day!

  15. Shauna Says:

    Fr. Steve, I wish you had been around when i was child. Im a full-blooded Ogalala Sioux from either Pine Ridge or RoseBud. I know nothing about the Sioux or who i am or where i belong. I was taken from there and given away as achild. So Im very glad there is a place like St Joe for the kids of the Rezs now. Because somehow i and many others fell thru the cracks and belong nowhere now. But its good to see that maybe there wont be anymore throwaway indians like me out there. Thank you.

  16. lashonda Says:

    I what to stay there…and live there.

  17. Cassandra Aoki Says:

    You are in my prayers and I hope to meet you in person one day in the not too distant future.

  18. sharon koller Says:

    Please pray for Barry Koller that his diabetes gets under control he feels better does not have cancer and please do not let him die.Irma Charles Evan & Barry Koller the Koller family.Sis John John Bill Kate Bob Tom Kemme the Kemme family.Bob Kemme has a safe trip to Japan and a safe trip while he is there and a safe trip home. Bosley gets a good home please protect and keep him safe. Kim is okay and does not have cancer.

  19. Mrs. Marie L. Exime Says:

    Dear Fr. Steve I have receive my birthday card. Thank you to Lakota children.
    I’m so happy to have friend like you all.
    May God bless you and the children of Lakota. Pray for me as I pray for you.
    Sincely your Sister Marie L Exime

  20. May Faulk Says:

    Dear Father Steve, I am so glad to read your blog and I am very happy that you will be returning to the school very soon. I pray that your strength and health will continue to improve with each passing day. Take care May Faulk

  21. robert schwartz Says:


    I am composinga hymn. I needto know the Lakota word for God. Is it Wakan tanka???

    I will pray for your success, Father.

    Robert N. Schwartz
    volunteer, Trujillo, Peru

  22. Annie Hall Says:

    Dear Father Steve,

    I am a cancer survivor also. I just got off chemo (for the 2nd time) about 3 weeks ago. God is so good to me and I know he will help you also. I can say from experience that attitude and the will to live is so very important in the healing process. I will keep praying for you. I always enjoy receiving mail from St. Joseph’s. I visited South Dakota a few years back and my friend took me through the museum there and it touched my heart. God Bless You!


    Annie Hall

  23. Marianne Youngworth Says:

    Fr. Steve, I remember you in my prayers and join with you in your prayer for healing. Thank God, miracles happen every day!

  24. Marianne Youngworth Says:

    Fr. Steve-I remember you in my prayers and join with you in your prayer for healing. I thank God, miracles happen every day!

  25. Dear Father Steve,When I read your heartwrenching letter yesterday, tears flowed. Your goodness and compassion for the children are evident in all you do. Your gratitude for the gifts you receive are touching. The letters the children send in appreciation are very sweet. Now, my focus and prayers will be toward your healing and renewed health. Everything is possible with and from our Lord.
    Gloria Gancarz

  26. Angela Marie Cibelli Says:

    FR. Jack,
    Sorry for typo error. of course, I meant God sent Br. Clay “at” just the righttime.
    Bless you.
    Angela Marie

  27. Angela Marie Cibelli Says:

    Dear Fr. Jack,
    So sorry to learn about your cancer. I know you will get through this with God’s help. And, He, sent Br. Clay as just the right time to help you and the children. God bless you always and you are in my prayers too.
    Angela Marie

  28. dave holaday Says:

    dear father steve,our prayers are with you at this wife is a cancer survior and
    i went threw everything with her.i know the road ahead of you will be ruff but god will be there with you. i wish i could do more.don,t let the devil tell you any different any he will.don,t give up,we fought cancer and told satan,get behind me in the name of jesus christ.the good you have done for the school and all the lives you have touchedand the lives you will be helping in the future.we are asking god to surround you in his holy light.he is an awesome and just,ll have days were the treatment will tire you down but god is there.he,s in your corner and so are we.take care and god bless you supporters of your school,the children and you
    god blessyou dave/connie holaday

  29. Mark Sigfrinius Says:

    Father Steve,
    “Trials” are just a fact of life for anyone trying to live a Christian life. The reason you feel better in church is stated in the Psalms…..”I love to be in your temple; A place where your glory dwells.” Daily prayers will be offered up to God in your behalf.

  30. Kara Estes-Hove Says:

    Dear Father Steve, YOUR IN OUR THOUGHTS, PRAYERS,AND HEARTS EVERYDAY! My daughter Erika Estes had told my the tragic news and we are so sorry to hear about the cancer. She Loves YA Alot,and is a big believer in Jesus miracles!Really hope your progress reports just keep getting better and better! GET WELL Father Steve it’s always good to see your godly glowing face. Much Love&Prayers, Mitakuya Owasin,(We Ara all Related) Kara Estes-Hove & Family

  31. Tom & Janet Capps Says:

    Dear Father Steve–we’re sorry to hear about your cancer, but God has a plan and when he closes one door (meaning your tiredness)he’ll open another for you. Tom was diagnosed with Colon Cancer back in 2006 and is a survivor–he just had his annual Pet Scan and saw his oncologist yesterday and he’s doing fine. We’ll pray for you and know that prayers are answered–Tom is proof. I know the Lakota children uphold you in prayer–you do so much for them and we pray that you’ll be able to continue to do so. God Bless,Tom & Janet Capps.

  32. arlene sedlacik Says:

    Dear Father Steve, I am so very sorry to hear about your health. I pray with all my heart God will be with you in your time of need. I’m sure he will. I’ll keep you in my daily prayers and pray for your recovery. God Bless You! You’ve done so much for the children and God knows that you are needed here for them. Arlene Sedlacik

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