Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Guess what! It has been snowing again; but this time we avoided being in the bullseye. We received several inches of snow on Christmas afternoon, but our grounds crew did a fantastic job removing the snow from the roads. Today we are getting some gentle flurries.

The Chamberlain Cubs were scheduled to host an East-West basketball tournament yesterday, bringing in schools from across South Dakota, but the threat of snow caused the schedule to begin today.

You may recall that our Lakota Hand Games team had been practicing to defend the championship they won last year at the Lakota Nation Invitational gathering in Rapid City, South Dakota. Sadly they did not do as well this year. We also sent a Knowledge Bowl team to compete against other schools. The team won their first contest but then dropped into the losers’ bracket and could not work their way through to play for the title. Once a team is ousted, each member of the team can take part in a specific category and answer questions and write an essay on their topic. This year one of our juniors, Justin, took part in the Literature category and won first place. Way to go, Justin!!

The archery team boasted a couple place winners:

  • Camron placed 1st in High School Boys Bare Bow
  • Danielle earned 4th place in High School Girls Bare Bow
  • Samantha placed 4th in Middle School Girls Bare Bow

Congratulations archers!

Since our students are away on their Christmas Break, I can share some events that have happened over the last few weeks. Our sixth, seventh and eighth graders participating in Explorers completed their first semester ‘Chores’ project. Through their hard work, the students raised $1,700 for a local resident who is fighting cancer! There was a picture in our local papers of all the members of the club surrounding the beneficiary who had a big smile on their face.

Just before the Break, those who will be serving as bowling captains held a draft of the students who wish to bowl in the upcoming league. There will be about 8 students on each team. Four of the eight will bowl each week. It will be up to the captains to select who will bowl and up to the students to remain eligible academically. There will be about six or seven weeks of bowling.

Also on the sports front, I was informed by our athletic director, Bryan, that one of our seniors, Daves, has been selected to participate in the South Dakota All State football game this coming summer due to his defense, kick returning and receiving capabilities. Congratulations Daves! I believe this is a St. Joseph’s first.

Vickie, the gift shop supervisor at the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center, was the guest speaker at the Chamberlain Kiwanis luncheon meeting recently.

Vickie filled in for the Museum Director, Dixie, who was snowed in that day. Vickie has been with the museum for 18 years. She shared with those attending information on some of the artists we have on display—Arthur Amiotte, Oscar Howe, Robert Penn, Andrew Standing Soldier, Don Ruleaux and Don Montileaux. She mentioned how schools from various parts of the state come for visits. During these visits, our museum staff help them develop a better awareness and understanding of the history of the Native People. She was happy to inform the Kiwanis that approximately 25,000 visitors came through the facility this past year, a 12% increase!

Hope Santa was good to everyone. On behalf of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s students and staff, I would like to extend our best wishes to you and yours for a very Joyous, Peaceful, Healthy and Happy New Year. May God’s blessings be with you now and throughout 2016.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

IT’S BACK!!!!  Just when we thought we might be getting over the snow, the third storm in three weeks nailed us. Interstate 90 was closed from Chamberlain to Rapid City– a stretch of about 200 miles.

The big event this past weekend was the Student Christmas Store! The store is a yearly tradition that allows our students to “shop” for their loved ones before Christmas break begins. Our students come with their lists and circle the store a few times before they make their final decisions!

Staff was on hand to help our students pick out just the right gift for their loved ones at home.  Once their shopping was complete, they moved to the skating room where other staff members helped them wrap their treasures.

There was also time for goodies and pictures with Santa!

Members of the National Honor Society and students in the Raphael and David Homes got into the spirit of helping others. The NHS students recently sponsored a bake sale to raise money for the food bank here in Chamberlain and the Homes sold handmade tree decorations to support a fundraiser on behalf of Fighting Hunger in South Dakota. The goodies at the bake sale were delicious, and the decorations caught everyone’s fancy and sold out quickly!

Recent bad weather kept pushing our Healing Camp back, but we were able to hold it this past Monday and Tuesday. St. Joseph’s Healing Camp is open to any student and their family members who are dealing with a recent loss of a loved one.  There are various activities they take part in to help them talk about their feelings and emotions.

The yearly camp ends with a traditional wiping of the tears ceremony by a local elder.  It is one way for St. Joseph’s to show support and encouragement as our students deal with the passing of a loved one who now walks the Holy Road.

Our grade school students have recently been given chance to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Their religious education teacher, Joe, and I set it up so the students could come to the Sacrament during their religious education class time. Fr. Bernard Rosinski, SCJ was available to assist as well! The students were given the chance to receive either the Sacrament (if Catholic) or a blessing (if not Catholic).

We know everyone gets so excited about getting the externals—gifts, cards, etc.—ready for Christmas but sometimes we forget to get ourselves ready.  This was an opportunity for them to make sure there will be room in their hearts to welcome the Christ Child.


St. Joseph’s Spelling Bee Winners!

Just as I finished with the last class, the spelling bee began as a way to determine who will represent St. Joseph’s in the state spelling bee in Mitchell, South Dakota. The three students pictured will be representing St. Joseph’s! If they perform well enough, their spelling skills could eventually take them to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC!!


Our students left for Christmas Break last Friday and are enjoying spending time with family and friends at home. We hope your plans give you the opportunity to be with your loved ones as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.


Happy Holidays!!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ



Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

What a mess!  The Chamberlain area was recently hit with over six inches of snow! The storm caused over thirty students and several staff members to be caught away from campus after the Thanksgiving break.  Everyone had the option to be back either Sunday or Monday– those who came back on Sunday made it with no problems, but those who waited were stuck.  Mitchell and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, set new records with over seven inches of snow!

St. Joseph’s students enjoyed sledding and making snowmen!

The snow caused various activities to be canceled — our healing camp for students  who have lost a loved one recently; several basketball games and the initial basketball practice for the high school teams, to name a few. The storm also prevented some of our students from taking part in a skype interaction with some of our benefactors in France.  They had written a poem they wanted to share.


St. Joseph’s students enjoyed the recent snowfall!

I greeted the students on their first day back at school after the holiday. In talking with the students, it seems everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

During the break, I had the opportunity to go up to Ft. Thompson on the Crow Creek Reservation and celebrate mass with several of our SCJ priests who are stationed in the area.  After mass, we joined with the parishioners and took part in a lovely Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings prepared by Sr. Charles.  When I returned to campus, I stopped in to visit with the staff who were not able to get away for the break.  They, too, had a delicious meal and good fellowship.

When I was in the school library for the interaction with our French Benefactors, the librarian pointed out that the theme for this month is ‘ask a question’. Our librarian is working hard to develop investigative reading skills with our students. If they have a question—all they have to do is pick up a book on the topic and READ!

You may recall that a few weeks ago, I mentioned that the Ambrose Home went to St. Joseph’s Church in Ft. Thompson as part of their social outreach activity but forgot to bring goodies to share.  You can see in the photo that they did come up with some nice treats and got them to Sr.


St. Joseph’s students enjoyed ‘paying it forward’!

Charles so that they could be shared with the parishioners!  Houseparents Jennifer and Katy divided the boys up into four groups who each made something special. They had a great time doing it! Their outreach is one of the ways we show gratitude for the generosity our benefactors show to us.


Since we are facing some real challenges with all the snow, it might be a good time to remind you that our next donor luncheon is in a warmer climate, Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the weekend of January 16-17, 2016.  We are sending two of our high school girls to share their insights on St. Joseph’s.  If you would like to attend, please give us a call at 1-800-584-9200.

Continued thanks for your support of the programs here at St. Joseph’s.  Your generosity helps to make holidays like Thanksgiving so meaningful for our students. We hope you, your family and your friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well.


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


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


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