Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

It’s another lovely day in the neighborhood… although the evil word SNOW has been mentioned on the weather reports! We have yet to see any and are thankful for mild fall weather.

Since the Lakota (Sioux) youth have begun second quarter, we recently held an awards ceremony for quarter one.  The rewards for A and B honor rolls and perfect attendance are a certificate and a WalMart gift card.  If a student is on the honor roll with perfect attendance next quarter, the award may increase in value!  We also have a contest between age groups to see which class can achieve the highest GPA (Grade Point Average).  The one with the highest average gets a pizza party and hangs the award plaque in their classroom.

Lakota (Sioux) students with their teacher.

Ron’s 5th grade class won the award for the highest cumulative GPA for Quarter One!

We honored all veterans and those actively serving our country during Sunday Mass at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. THANK YOU just isn’t enough for their sacrifices.

Last Saturday, the Chamberlain Science Club hosted the 1st Annual Hot Chocolate 5K Walk/Run, and it began here on St. Joseph’s campus.  It was a way to celebrate Native American Month and learn about the importance of exercise all year long.  Sanford Hospital set up an informational booth and there were baked goodies and warm drinks for all those taking part.

Students are in the process of learning to sing two Christmas carols in the Lakota language — Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Aside from what they are learning in class, singing songs is a nice way to keep developing the Lakota language skills of our students.

This week, St. Joseph’s is honored to welcome Mr. Lawrence Diggs, our current Artist in Residence. He is helping our students express themselves through poetry!

St. Joseph’s was honored to have one of our Native American Studies teachers, Allen, give a presentation on historical trauma in American Indian History to a college class at Dakota Wesleyan University.  He shared how early boarding schools tried to negate Native American culture and heritage and ‘mold’ them into the white culture by cutting their hair and not letting them speak their native languages.  He also spoke about high rates of unemployment, suicide and sexual assaults currently present on the reservations.

Tree in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel

St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Tree of Remembrance

He also shared positive notes about how the reservations are working hard to combat suicides and offer resources to those who are struggling.  Change will not happen overnight, but he is happy that steps are being taken to get things headed in the right direction and he is proud to be part of that process. Read more in the article that appeared in the Mitchell Daily Republic!

We hope you have a wonderful week.  Say pilamayathank you – to a veteran and let them know you are grateful for their service to our country.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


PS:  The picture shows our tree of remembrance in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel with the names of our Beloved Dead whom we are keeping in prayer this month.

Hello from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Odis, Houseparent

Odis, Houseparent

My name is Odis. Theresa and I currently serve as houseparents in the Cyr Home, working with boys in grades 4-6.

We want to tell you about the trip we took to the South Dakota State Fair this year! The bus trip to Huron, South Dakota took about an hour and a half. Upon our arrival, the boys ran to the carnival rides! The Zipper and the Ring of Fire were the most popular rides– we were surprised to see how brave our fourth graders were as they all went on the scary rides.

After several hours of enjoying the carnival, it was time to see the livestock barns and petting zoo.

The Lakota(Sioux) students enjoyed feeding the camel.

One of St. Joseph’s students in front of a camel!

At the petting zoo the boys fed camels, lamas and other exotic animals. Some of them had never seen a cow being milked and the dairy farmers were more than willing to show us how it worked and where our milk comes from.

We also went through the swine, horse, goat and rabbit barns. The rabbit barn is always a favorite.  We then took the boys to Farm Implement Row!  Even though they are always anxious to get back to the rides, we had to pull them away from trying to climb on and sit in every tractor and combine.

After walking through some of the exhibit tents, we went back to the rides and the fair food.  One courageous soul even gave the mechanical bull a try!  All the other boys were impressed, but did not want to brave it themselves.

South Dakota State Fair day is one of the highlights of the year for our home! The Cyr Home would like to thank you all for your support. Know that we and the Cyr boys pray for you every day.

Melanie works with the Lakota (Sioux) chidren in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Melanie, Artist in Residence

Good afternoon from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Today’s blog post comes from Melanie, a recent Artist in Residence at St. Joseph’s. Enjoy!

It has been such a blessing to dance with the students of St. Joseph’s through the Artist in Schools program with the South Dakota Arts Council. I was very grateful for the opportunity to be in this incredible gem of a state!

Pam, St. Joseph’s Personal Living Skills Instructor, was a great help in pulling it all together and having the residency run so smoothly!  She was very supportive and helpful and made a world of difference!

With the first through eighth grades, we explored the world of dance from many perspectives!  We danced to music from all of the over the world, from Ireland to Jamaica, Sweden to Oceania, India to Cuba and many other places.

Lakota (Sioux) students learning ballet moves.

Our students enjoyed learning from Melanie!

We explored ballet as a wonderful way to stay in peak performance shape, avoid injuries, build strength, flexibility and balance and respectfully warm up our bodies in the process!  We released some of our pre-conceived ideas about ballet and learned that many professional athletes use ballet in their training.

The dancers also took the ‘ballet class’ taught in the language of ballet, which is French.  They learned that by listening and watching, they could discern much of another language without speaking it.

The dancers explored how to embrace the RESPECT that a dancer is required to have for him/herself, for all others and for all of our environment.  We spent much of our time with creative movement and learning to tap into our own creative spirit, moving through a space filled with other dancers who were also spontaneously improvising…. without bumping into one another!

A St. Joseph's student learns how to dance with props.

A St. Joseph’s student learns how to dance with props.

I LOVED seeing smiling faces of the Lakota children in each class!

We also explored many different props such as cotton bandanas, silk scarves, stretchy loops and silk streamers while we challenged ourselves to dance with others by mirroring or shadowing their movements.  We learned that being a leader of movement means that we are responsible to our followers.

I am very impressed by and appreciative of the “Circle of Courage” that is emphasized at St. Joseph’s Indian School.  I experienced generosity of spirit, independence in creativity, mastery of attempting difficult ‘moves’ and lastly, relationships broadening as they danced together in a new way throughout the residency.

I was sad to leave the wonderful staff, faculty and students, but delighted that I have been blessed by the opportunity to dance with the students at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Thank you kindly.


Artist in Residence

Laura, Donor Relations Officer

Laura, Donor Relations Officer

Hello from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota!

My name is Laura and I have been the Donor Relations Officer here at St. Joseph’s for the past fifteen years.

We are reaching my favorite time of year!

St. Joseph’s students are back on campus. They have been in school for a little over a month and are busy with class and extracurricular activities. I am currently busy speaking with donors from all around the United States, sharing information about our upcoming 39th Annual Powwow.

I had the first donors register for the 2015 powwow during the 2014 event! There are now over 400 donors and friends registered to attend our powwow. They will begin arriving next week to take in all of the fun!

During the powwow festivities, I get to reunite with people who come every year. I also meet lots of new people who are visiting St. Joseph’s Indian School for the very first time!

The powwow is definitely a highlight of the school year here at St. Joseph’s, for students and staff alike. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of work for employees to have campus ready for our visitors, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! Every department on campus pitches in to make the festivities run smoothly .

A Lakota (Sioux) youth dances during St. Joseph's 38th Annual Powwow.

A Lakota (Sioux) youth dances during St. Joseph’s 38th Annual Powwow.

Our 39th Annual Powwow festivities begin on Thursday, September 17 with guest registration, a reservation bus tour, the powwow royalty crowning ceremony and a meet & greet in the evening. at a local motel.

On Friday, guest registration will continue along with cultural activities, tours of the school, cultural performances and our Tiyospaye Banquet.

Prior to Grand Entry on Saturday, there will be tours of students’ homes and an open house at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. Following the powwow, Mass will be celebrated and dinner is served to everyone in attendance.

If you would like additional information about St. Joseph’s powwow or helpful links in planning your visit , please call 1-800-584-9200 or visit We would love to have you join us!

For those attending, I would like to wish you all a safe trip out to beautiful South Dakota and St. Joseph’s Indian School.

See you soon!


Donor Relations Officer

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School! I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Labor Day.

The weekend offered a variety of activities for our Lakota students to participate in.  The State Fair was underway in Huron, South Dakota and several homes made the trip over to take part in the fair festivities.  Another option was to attend the LifeLight Festival in the Sioux Falls area, which is a three day event celebrating Christian music.  Several of our staff and high school homes attended.  For the homes that decided to stay close to campus, there was the chance to attend the movie PIXELS at the local theater.

Now that Labor Day is behind us, everyone’s focus has turned to St. Joseph’s 39th Annual Powwow taking place September 17-19.  The dancers have been practicing and are also learning a few new moves.

One of our Native American Studies teachers, LaRayne, attended a recent Kiwanis’ luncheon to share information on the various dances that take place at a powwow.   The Powwow Royalty Competition took place last night and winners will be announced on Friday, September 18.

Two Lakota(Sioux) girls dressed in regalia await their turn.

Two girls anxiously awaiting their turn during last night’s powwow royalty competition!

We are praying that we’ll have good weather for the powwow so that it will be pleasant for everyone.

I hope that you’ll be able to attend the powwow this year.  If you cannot, keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+ pages for photos and videos!

May God continue to bless and reward you for your generosity towards St. Joseph’s and the Native American children in our care.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Mike, St. Joseph's President

Mike, St. Joseph’s President

Time and time again, it has been shown that it is the little things we do every day at St. Joseph’s that have the greatest impact on our students.

Here’s a simple, yet wonderful example.

Today is the fourth day of school for our 1-8 grade Lakota students. After driving across campus, I parked in a spot next to the playground. As I looked over, I noticed that the first grade students were taking advantage of the playground and the sunny weather. In the center of the playground I spotted Abby, our first grade teacher, twirling around on the merry-go-round with one of her students. Both had big smiles.

I commented, “Now that is real learning!”

Abby laughed and replied, “It is good exercise.”

In that simple moment on the playground, I was bolstered in one of the most basic tenets that I have come to know over the years—the understanding that our staff are truly dedicated to the mission of our organization. Each and every day our staff ‘go that extra mile’ to make our students feel safe, welcomed and loved at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

The second tenant—we are truly blessed by the support we receive—is bolstered every time I take a few moments to remember how fortunate we are to have many people who provide St. Joseph’s with prayers, encouragement and resources. One of the reflections we try to ask ourselves regularly is “What would our supporters think about this?”

While our supporters provide us with resources, it is our staff who are the ‘hands and feet’ of the mission.

In the case of Abby and her 1st grade student on the merry-go-round, I have to believe that a supporter would smile, knowing that Abby’s actions made this child feel special and loved.

Two young girls play on the playground

Our staff go above and beyond to make sure our students feel safe and loved.

Our staff perform many similar supportive actions every day here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Though they are not mentioned in this blog, they are truly part of the cumulative effort to develop meaningful relationships with the children we serve.

To those who support our efforts here at St. Joseph’s Indian School, we strive to make our mission a reality to our Native American students and their families each and every day. Please know that we truly appreciate your support, thoughts and generosity.

You are an integral part of our mission.

And so it begins!!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School where the school year is beginning to take shape. New staff orientation began this week and all staff will be next week.  August 9 will see the student homes open and Monday morning, August 10, school will get underway.

I must commend our Human Resources Department for their hard work this summer. They seem to have filled all the slots needed to keep our programs running smoothly and make sure the Lakota (Sioux) children have everything they need when they arrive on campus.  We look forward to the skills and abilities our new staff will bring to enhance the skills of our veteran staff.

As some of you may be aware, I was away to attend my niece’s wedding in Colorado Springs.  It went well and I enjoyed the chance to catch up with my siblings and their families. One of my brothers accompanied me on the drive back and we hit Yellowstone, the Little Bighorn Battlefield and Devil’s Tower. The drive was truly breathtaking; we encountered wide open vistas in Wyoming, towering peaks in Grand Teton National Park, the big splash of Old Faithful going off right on time and the ruggedness of Yellowstone’s terrain.

Join the Lakota children for St. Joseph’s annual powwow September 19!

St. Joseph’s annual powwow will be Sept. 19. We hope you can join us!

The Little Bighorn Battlefield had several informative Rangers who related facts about the battle.  Since my last visit, they have erected a monument to the Native Americans who took part in the engagement.  In coming out of the park we turned East on US Highway 212 and headed to Devil’s Tower which, when you draw near to it, resembles a shark fin above the trees.  It is truly magnificent. In Lakota tradition, this mountain tells the story of several young girls who were saved from bears.

My brother and I ended the trip with a swing through the Badlands, starting at the western entrance near Wall, South Dakota. We came out at Cactus Flats where there is a Minute Man Guided Missile display. We had hoped to be able to tour, but there were no tickets left for admission.

I hope you have been able to take some time off this summer and enjoy exploring our great country! One word of advice if you are over 62 and planning a trip: be sure to get a “$10 senior pass” which is good for life at all National Parks, except Mt. Rushmore.

Sturgis, South Dakota is gearing up to host the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally celebrating the 75th anniversary of the gathering.  Even though the ‘official’ start isn’t until next week, many are coming early.  They are expecting a million people!

We won’t have quite that many at our annual powwow celebration on September 19, but we are looking forward to it nonetheless. All St. Joseph’s powwow events are open to the public – we’d love to have you join us! To learn more about our celebration or to register, call 1-800-584-9200 or visit

May God’s blessings continue to be with you and those you love.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ



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