Greetings! My name is Bette. My husband Mike and I have recently moved to South Dakota to work as houseparents for St. Joseph’s Indian School. It has been a joy working

Bette and her husband Mike recently moved to Chamberlain to be houseparents at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Bette and one of the summer students at the local library.

here in the summer break home. The students attend school for a few hours each morning and then our afternoons are filled with many fun activities.

We have students in our break home who will be in the second grade through ninth grade next year. Some of the younger students have enjoyed weaving potholders and some of the older students have learned how to make knitted hats using a round loom. Everyone has enjoyed making muffins and sugar cookies from scratch.

One student recently celebrated a birthday, so we had the joy of giving her a party complete with cupcakes and candles and party games. We also made homemade ice cream by shaking cream, sugar and vanilla in a baggie surrounded by ice.

We love celebrating summer birthdays!

Happy birthday Aralyn!

Some of the students guessed we were making cheese, but we kept it a secret to the end. We shook the bags for about 10 minutes – there were a lot of sore arms, but it was worth it when they got to taste the final results!

In the past few weeks, we have gone to the movies, had a picnic, gone bowling and, of course, out to Dairy Queen and McDonald’s for ice cream on a warm day. There are a lot of activities planned for the Fourth of July including a parade, car show and rodeo here in town. Next week, there will be a special party to celebrate the last day of school (I know the students will feel sad and need some cheering up – ha ha!).

The students have also attended our local library’s summer reading program. This year they have a super hero theme. One student was overheard saying this was “way cool”

as he designed his very own super hero shield and decorated it with stickers. They got to perform superhero dances, listen to stories and make special masks as well.

One very busy spot has been our Chamberlain Community Pool. It received a face lift this spring with the addition of a 100 foot curvy slide and a water basketball hoop. It has kept our kids very happy on warm days!

There is a playground right next to the pool, so the students have the best of both worlds. When we are not at the pool, students can often be found riding their bikes around campus or using a scooter or two.

Students created 200 luminary bags for the Relay for Life.

Students worked hard to design luminary bags for the local Relay for Life.

Our students truly have warm, giving hearts and have embraced the idea of helping with our local Relay for Life this year. We are assisting with the decoration of the paper bag luminaires that will light the pathway during the Relay.

The students listened to a story that was written by a young child diagnosed with cancer to gain a better understanding as well as increased empathy for those undergoing treatment.

Mike and I have been proud of the amount of care and attention that each bag has received. The kids really want to do a great job in making these special for the recipients. We have about 200 bags to decorate and are almost finished.

Thank you for allowing me to share some of the activities that have gone on here in the summer! The summer break home has been an eventful place filled with wonderful memories of a summer spent with beautiful kids.



Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

After all the wild weather last weekend, things have calmed down a bit.  Branches keep coming down here and there around campus, but the majority of damage has been cleaned up by our grounds crew along with help of other St. Joseph’s maintenance staff.  It was really a team effort as electric saws, manual trimmers and hand-powered rakes were used to repair what Mother Nature tore apart.  There was some minor structural damage, but nothing of a serious nature.  We are grateful, but it is a shame that so many trees were damaged or lost completely. Several tree stumps still need to be removed and there will be

a lot of replanting to come. We received word from our fellow SCJs (Priests of the Sacred Heart) on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation that they too had high winds which brought down some trees. Thankfully, no buildings or cars were hit and everyone is safe.

Several trees were lost, but we’re thankful that no one was injured in last week’s storms.

Several trees were damaged or destroyed completely in last week’s storms.

You can tell the travel season is well underway by looking at the number of cars, tour buses, campers and RV’s in the parking lot at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. I can see the parking lot from my office window and it is interesting to see visitors from all over the country stopping in to learn about the Lakota (Sioux) culture and walk through the new alumni and historical center that gives a brief overlook of St. Joseph’s history. If you would like to about others’ experiences to help you decide if your travel plans include a visit to St. Joseph’s Indian School, you can check us out on TripAdvisor.

The pool in our rec center is undergoing some repair. It is such a blessing and provides so many good things for our students. It is good exercise during the long South Dakota winter, helps fight childhood obesity, enables water safety and swimming lessons

St. Joseph’s pool provides exercise and lots of fun for the Lakota children.

The pool is such a blessing to St. Joseph’s students, and does so many good things for them!

to be conducted; and provides the opportunity for laughter, fun, friendships and fond memories to be established. The pool is also a benefit we can share with our staff and their families, as well as the local community. Stay tuned for details and updates!

A few weeks ago, the Chamberlain Junior Achievement program held its annual golf tournament hosting 16 teams. Participants helped raise over $3,000 which will go toward the various programs sponsored by Junior Achievement.  I’m happy to announce the St. Joseph’s team won the event with an 18 under par score of 54 over 18 holes. Congratulations!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Independence Day weekend.  If you are using fireworks, please stay safe and enjoy your local festivities.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Good afternoon from a noisy St. Joseph’s Indian School! I thought it was going to be a peaceful weekend, but Mother Nature stepped in and changed everyone’s plans. Friday

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

night, we had wind gusts up to 100 mph as a severe thunderstorm came through. The morning light revealed lots of branches down, several trees snapped in half and even some blown over completely — one toppled just outside my office window! Thankfully, there did not seem to be any structural damage, and all our students and staff were safe.  The winds returned once again in the wee hours of Monday morning, which brought down even more trees and branches.

We are very grateful that none of our students or staff were hurt either day. Today, our maintenance crew is busy trimming branches and trees all over campus to clear our streets and sidewalks. We also lost power, which caused a late start for staff this morning. The damage is going to take several days to clean up.

There was lots of damage in Chamberlain with trees being uprooted during both of the storms, tree branches all over and electrical poles broken. One home suffered a tree falling against the house and damaging the porch.

Trees around St. Joseph’s campus were damaged in severe thunderstorms over the weekend.

Two weekend storms uprooted a tree outside my office and caused other damage around St. Joseph’s campus.

The Sunday paper out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had a front page article on the impact of the storm in our area.  It seemed several trailers and campers were overturned in the Fort Thompson area which resulted in the tragic death of an individual who was a relative of one of our staff’s family.  The Red Cross moved in quickly to get a shelter open which provided support and food.

Across the Missouri River from Fort Thompson, Lower Brule also suffered some damage as roofs on the courthouse, Boys & Girls Club and several other buildings were severely damaged.  Power was knocked out west of the Missouri River for more than 100 miles, with many people still not having their power restored yet today.

Our prayers are with all those cleaning up and recovering from the storms.


Thanks to all those who attended our most recent donor luncheon in New York and Brooklyn! Camron (a 2015 eighth grade graduate) and Tayvin (an incoming eighth

While in New York for a donor event, the Lakota students got to take in the sites.

Camron and Tayvin at the American Museum of Natural History.

grader) enjoyed their opportunity to meet so many members of their tiyospaye extended family. The boys mentioned they were happy to have the chance to visit the 9/11 museum, the American Museum of Natural History and the Statue of Liberty.

It’s always wonderful to meet so many people who care about the Lakota (Sioux) children, but please remember to RSVP so we know you’re coming. The number on Saturday caught our team off guard with more people showing up than had registered for the event.

We hope you can join us for an upcoming luncheon!

For additional information or to register, please contact us at 1-800-584-9200.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I’m heading out now to see how the clean-up is going around campus.

God bless,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


My name is Odis, and I am a houseparent for fourth to sixth grade

Odis, St. Joseph's Houseparent

Odis, St. Joseph’s Houseparent

boys at St Joseph’s Indian School. This summer I am working on St. Joseph’s bookmobile for the third time. We have spent two weeks traveling to Indian reservations around South Dakota delivering books in our bookmobile for children and adults. This year I am working with a Seth, a volunteer from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Sometimes working the bookmobile you have time to set up your table before the kids get to the van and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes, kids are lined up waiting for us!

You need all kinds of skills on the bookmobile, including bike mechanics!

In Parmelee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Seth did some impromptu bike repair for a boy.

And it’s not as simple as just letting kids choose a book. You have to have all kinds of skills, like working on the children’s bikes while they are looking for a Captain Underpants book. This happened to us in Parmelee when Seth had to do some impromptu bike repair for a boy. I was happy Seth was good at that kind of thing.

He was also good at making peace with the local dogs in the

communities we visited. We brought along some dog treats, which just lasted a couple stops as the kids started passing them out to the dogs as well.

Each summer, St. Joseph’s bookmobile travels to reservation communities in South Dakota.

St. Joseph’s bookmobile visits communities on South Dakota reservations.

The most popular author with the men who come looking for something to read is Louis L’Amour. They really enjoy any western. We were grateful to have grandmothers pick up books for grandkids. We could really tell by the amount of time a parent or guardian looked for that “perfect book” how well they knew their child’s reading habits.

Thank you to all the donors who send books each year! I want you to know we treat your gently used books with care. There are many people on the reservations here in

 Lakota (Sioux) children choose books to take home.

Thank you for sharing your gently used books!

South Dakota who love your books and do not have access to a bookstore or library, so the books you so generously send are much appreciated. Thank you!

God bless,


Good day to you all!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed Flag Day on Sunday.  It was a quiet weekend at St. Joseph’s Indian School; the summer break home went to Sioux Falls for an outing and most of the high school students were also away.

Last week, St. Joseph’s hosted SCJ Schools in Collaboration. The SCJ community operates elementary schools and parishes in Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin and South Dakota. The principals and one teacher from each school gathered to share ideas and plan for the future. Francis Whitebird, a Lakota language expert and the husband of St. Joseph’s principal, gave a presentation on Lakota spirituality.

Discussions were also held on ways to develop lesson plans to share the charism of our SCJ community established by our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, SCJ.  He had a deep interest in education and we try to continue in his footsteps.

Friday, June 12 was the Feast of the Sacred Heart. To conclude Schools in Collaboration, we held a joint prayer service via Skype with an SCJ high school program in Germany. Their choir led the singing and our group did the readings.  Each school also contributed a prayer of the faithful.

Some of St. Joseph’s high school students were able to participate in the prayer service from Germany! Adrian, Jacob, Danielle and Martina are currently staying with local families in Handrup. Their chaperones, Aaron and Melissa, are staying with the SCJ community. Everyone is having a wonderful time seeing sites and learning about one another.

St. Joseph’s recently hosted SCJ Schools in Collaboration with principals and teachers from Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

The principals and one teacher from each SCJ school attended Schools in Collaboration. Also pictured are Mark Peters from Director of Peace and Justice, and David Schimmel, Director of Dehonian Associates.

To complete the exchange, St. Joseph’s will host the German students in September. They will attend our powwow and visit South Dakota’s famous Black Hills, learning about life for St. Joseph’s students and Native American culture.

This past Saturday was the 130th birthday celebration of Gann Valley, South Dakota – the county seat of neighboring Buffalo County.  It is the smallest county seat in the country, having a population of just 12. But it grew 30-fold for the day!

There was a parade complete with a 1903 Ford, antique tractors, the Shriners and the lawnmower racers even made an appearance. Lawnmower races are a big time event in Pukwana, South Dakota – another neighboring town.

The parade was further enhanced by the presence of the Kyle Evans Memorial Trail Ride, which began in Wessington Springs on Thursday and arrived at Gann Valley just as the parade was ready to kick off.  There must have been 20 wagons and over 200 riders of all ages.

After the parade, the day was spent enjoying various games and activities. One event was the buffalo chip throwing. You were able to get in some practice since they had parking in one of the pastures near downtown where you could pick up some ‘chips’ and practice a toss or two as you made your way to the parade.  Another highlight of the day was introducing those families who have been in the Gann Valley area for over 100 years. The day ended with a complimentary dinner (350 plates were prepared) and a dance in the evening.

We hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable week! You and your intentions are remembered in our prayers.  We’ll be finishing this month’s novena for our benefactors on June 19.

God bless you always,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

It’s great to be home from my trip east to attend a graduation and ordination.  I also enjoyed time visiting family.

The big excitement that happened here in the Chamberlain community, was the opening of the new pool.  The pool re-opened on May 30 and raffle tickets were sold to see who would be first down the slide.  It was nice to see the work of the Explorers recognized due to their fundraising help.

St. Joseph’s summer home students have visited the pool several times and have really enjoyed themselves.  I asked this past Sunday at Mass how the students had enjoyed the new pool. A second grader said it was great except for the “caffeine” in the water that hurt his eyes.  We all looked at him for a moment and then it dawned on us he meant to say ‘chlorine.’

St. Joseph’s bookmobile shares free books in reservation communities across South Dakota.

Bookmobile staff were surprised and delighted to have visitors on horseback!

Later, I came across the bookmobile group busily re-stocking the bookmobile to head out to the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Reservations. The bookmobile had just returned from visiting the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. Later this month the bookmobile will be making trips to other reservations to the north and east of St. Joseph’s.

This week, children from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation began their two weeks at St. Joseph’s Rising Eagle Day Camp. For the first two weeks of camp, our bus goes to the Crow Creek Reservation to pick up camp participants.

Each day of camp, there were at least 50 younger students and about 20 or so for grades five and higher. Kids spend the day with activities like Lakota studies, arts & crafts and swimming.

We are happy to have Kat, an upcoming sophomore at Notre Dame University as part of the day camp team. She is taking part in a Summer Service Project Internship through her university. During her time at St. Joseph’s, she’ll work with day camp, travel with St. Joseph’s Family Service Counselors as they visit our students and families, help out with the bookmobile trips as well as the first through eighth grade summer home.

The program gives firsthand experience to help Notre Dame graduates have ‘a disciplined sensibility to the poverty and oppression that burdens the lives of many.’  Those who have taken part in this program have completed their time by working in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in various programs offered through the Sioux Falls Diocese or local civic programs helping those in need.  We welcome Kat to St. Joseph’s and hope she has a wonderful experience.

Next week, we are excited to welcome visitors from other Catholic elementary schools affiliated with the Priests of the Sacred Heart.  The program is called SCJ Schools in

This week, children from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation began their two weeks at day camp.

Rising Eagle Day Camp is in week three on St. Joseph’s campus.

Collaboration.  Representatives from schools in Wisconsin, Texas and Mississippi will be coming to St. Joseph’s to discuss issues for the future and also to join in a prayer service with a SCJ high school program in Germany.

I hope everyone has a great week.  May God’s blessings continue to be with all of you for your generosity to the Lakota boys and girls attending St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Hi, I’m Tim! My wife and I are houseparents in the Carola Home at

Tim, a St. Joseph's houseparent.

Tim, a St. Joseph’s houseparent.

St. Joseph’s Indian School – we spend the school year with eight high school guys.

Earlier this spring, some of St. Joseph’s high school students went on a service trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It was a fantastic opportunity to give back to the community.

The opportunity we were provided was to assist Bob and his daughter with a project to better their family and the surrounding community. Bob’s wife passed away a few years ago, but had a dream for her land. She wished that a coffee shop and retreat center be built along the highway to serve the community and the passing travelers. Bob asked for help from the folks at the Outlaw Ranch in Custer, South Dakota. The staff at the ranch have had a long relationship with Bob and his family, and were glad that students from St. Joseph’s Indian School were willing to help.

St. Joseph’s students went to Outlaw Ranch and helped with a service project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The boys worked hard to clear the building site.

We arrived at the ranch on a Friday night. We were welcomed by Mary, the assistant director and Larry, a former Lutheran minister and volunteer at the ranch. They had a delicious meal prepared for us as soon as we arrived. After dinner we played a game of spoons with the staff to break the ice and to get to know them. We then had devotional time and were taken to our cabins. The staff was very helpful and everything was provided for us.

The next morning, we ate a hearty breakfast and packed lunch for the day. It was about a 40-minute drive from the ranch to the work site. Upon arrival, we had a brief meeting with Bob and his family about what he had planned for us that day. We were divided into two groups. One would stay at the local church to paint a sign announcing the future sight of the coffee house, the other group would go with Bob to the coffee house sight to do some work.

At the coffee house sight, Bob needed us to move some old hay bales and to deconstruct an old shade pavilion that was in the way. The boys worked hard and removed the bales and the shade before lunch. Needless to say that Bob was very grateful and impressed at the boys’ hard work and how quickly it was completed. After lunch, the entire group went to the coffee house location to clear the land of the remaining debris. The guys all worked together and finished the work by 4 that afternoon.

We returned to the church for dinner. While that was being prepared, we worked with one of Bob’s daughters on an art project. She had buffalo hide and paint for the guys to make bracelets. They all worked diligently while Bob talked to them about faith, school, and life as a Native American. When dinner was ready we enjoyed soup, fry bread, and wojapi – a warm fruit sauce for dipping fry bread. We then said our goodbyes and headed back to the Ranch for our evening devotions and sharing time.

The next morning we cleaned up our cabins and enjoyed a breakfast with the staff. It was a great time and the guys all said that they would like to do it again!

Pilamayathank you – for making these opportunities possible for our students!


Carola Houseparent

Each of St. Joseph’s homes take on a service project during the school year.

St. Joseph’s high school boys, along with some of their houseparents, took part in a service project this spring.


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