St. Joseph's Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota has been serving as a "home away from home" for Lakota (Sioux) children since 1927. The school is a privately-funded and accredited residential facility that gives needy children a safe and productive place to live and learn. Since its founding in 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. Today, challenged by new problems facing Native Americans, its work and ministries stretches beyond the campus of St. Joseph’s Indian School, reaching out to other Native American children and adults on three reservations.
What is near and dear to my heart are the reservation schools. I lived and worked with the Arapaho & Shoshoni people on the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming and know their life is the pits. It is worse than the inner city problems. I donate money, clothing, toys, etc. to St. Joseph's Indian School (S. Dakota) & St. Labre Indian School (Montana). St. Joe's has an elementary school & high school. The kids live in group homes. They come from homes where alcohol, drugs & abuse is going on. There are many schools like this across the country but more in Wyoming, Montana & S. Dakota (Pine Ridge Reservation). I was at St. Stephens Indian Mission in Riverton, WY. from 8/75 to 6/76. I think it is important that people know the plight of our Native Americans. They live on land that cannot grow a weed (but they grow corn). Infant mortality is high, drugs & alcohol are rampant and the drop-out rate frm school is high. But there are those who take pride in their heritage and family and school. They rise above these impediments. I knew many families like this. -- Barbara Kaplowitz