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St. Joseph's Indian School

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy, Special Education

Mission: St. Joseph's Indian School partners with Native American children and families to educate for life - mind, body, heart and spirit.

Target demographics: Native American children and families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 220 Native American children

Geographic areas served: South Dakota

Programs: Residential Care including Food and Clothing, Education, Counseling, Medical Care, College Scholarships

Community Stories

111 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3 Jeffry G. F.

Donor

Rating: 3

I have adopted children whose birth father came from the Lakota tribe. So I started to received mailings from St. Joseph's School last year. I have been donating to them up to now, partly because I was impressed by the materials that they send in their newsletters - beautiful cards and calendars, etc. But it's overkill to continue to send all this stuff to me. The packet that I just received in anticipation of the Christmas holiday is filled with tons of stuff - most of which is unnecessary. If they are aware that I am interested in helping native children, why continue to bury me with pens, pads, cheap dreamcatchers, and address labels that I will never use?

They also continue to spell my first name incorrectly, even after I included a note in a donation envelope asking them to correct this. Like everyone else, I already have enough address labels to last for the next 100 years. Please, send no more - just a simple letter with an update on the school should be enough to keep me interested in donating. But now, I am not so sure. The last official info about the credibility of the school fundraising program, as far as I can tell, is from 3 years ago.

Finally, if the school is doing the tribe some good, then I am grateful to hear it. But if the Catholic church is exploiting native children in order to line its pockets, then I want to know about that, too.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 11/28/2017

We can certainly change your mailing preferences for you. If you could give us a call at 800-341-2235 we can update that you do not wish to receive those items. We can also ensure everything is correct with your name. We are accredited through the Council of Accreditation. Through the Council on Accreditation’s extensive audit process, we receive evaluation by a panel of experts in social services fields. The evaluation, including site visits and interviews with St. Joseph’s personnel and families served, assesses more than just finances. Please read more here: http://www.stjo.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9199 or visit http://coanet.org/home/ for more information. Lakota children in need of a safe, stable education and culturally-rich home environment have turned to St. Joseph’s Indian School since 1927… at absolutely no financial cost to them. We are extremely grateful for everything our donors do for the children.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

Received a marketing packet in today's mail. Like others have noted below, all this stuff costs money. I understand the concept of having to spend some money to make some money, but by their own admission on their website, St. Joseph's Indian School spends .33 to earn $1.00, or 33% goes towards overhead. WHAT!??!?! The rule of thumb is administrative costs of 10% or below are the charities that are managing their financials properly and using financial gifts on the needy cause they represent. As Catholics, we looked to the Board of Directors on their website and see at least there is Jesuit involvement on the Board, so that is a good thing, but overall, the administrative cost is way to high for this organization to receive our hard earned dollars. As someone else said below, Christmas dream catcher ornaments are made in China and how does this stimulate the economy exactly for the Lakota tribe? At least be selling something made on the reservation!

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 11/28/2017

This is a question we receive from time to time. Yes, we mail items made in China. Your concern on this important issue is appreciated and I hope you understand this is not a decision we take lightly. Because such a large quantity of products is needed in a limited time frame, mass production is our only option. We work with local Lakota artists as often as possible, and feature their work in both exhibits and the gift shop at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. We only work with reputable companies in China, most of which have been suppliers to us for years one for more than fifty years. They are also very supportive, monetarily, to our cause and make direct donations for the education and welfare of the Lakota children at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Review from Guidestar

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I was sent a package that must have costed $20 filled with marketing material Charity reviews come back very negative regarding this organization. My thoughts would be if you represented the American Indian - you would not send marketing material that would cost a forest to make.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 11/08/2017

We have our own Tipi Printing Press on campus to help keep our fundraising costs low. In order to take care of the 200+ plus Lakota Sioux Children entrusted to our care, we must send out material to new and existing donors. The generosity of our donors helps provide for immediate needs like food, clothing, heat, lights and all their school needs (teachers and their salaries, textbooks, desks, etc). St. Joseph’s Indian School is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). The evaluation with COA includes visits to the school, interviews with staff and families of the children, and evaluates more than just our finances. Please feel free to call us at 800-341-2235 if you would like to discuss or have questions.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

Native Americans have suffered since the European "discovery" of North America. Treaties with them were broken, they were decimated by disease, and their original lands and way of life taken away from them. To survive, they were told they had to assimilate into the "American" (that is, white) way of doing things by forsaking their languages and traditions.

I have supported St. Joseph Indian School for many years because they not only teach Native American children (about two-thirds of them are from nine different tribes) the skills they need to succeed in modern society, but educate them in the traditional ways of their culture, as well as the near-extinct Lakota language. The school is also about more than education: it provides health care to the students, help for abused women, counseling for each student and his or her family, and during the summer a bookmobile that travels to the reservations and a day camp.

It costs St. Joseph's about 32 cents to raise $1. While this seems high, I attribute it to the fact that the continuing plight of Native Americans is just not on the average person's "radar." As a result, it is going to cost more to spread the word to as many as possible.

As to those who feel they receive too much mail from the school, my experience is that St. Joseph's is happy to modify individual mailing preferences. (For example, at my request, they stopped sending me address labels and other merchandise, and reduced my mailings to just their periodic newsletter called "Children of the Prairie.") They are quick to thank me for my donations and you can request that they not share your name with other groups.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 10/27/2017

We are truly grateful for the blessings you share with the Lakota children. Donors like you are so important to the work we do. Pilamaya – thank you – for your care and support of St. Joseph’s students!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have taken an interest in our Native American/First Nation tribes and have been studying all of their history with the United States and the Government. It is heartbreaking to learn of the suffering of our native culture and the plight of their people. It is my desire to encourage and uplift these precious children to embrace, love and have great pride in the rich and colorful history of their people. The truth must be told and the history of America must be forthright in acknowledging the poor treatment of our beautiful native Americans, the true inheritors of this land. It is our responsibility to see that these children are supported and encouraged to be all that they can be. I feel like my small gifts, along with others will help fill the needs of these children and assure that they get a good education and a stable and loving environment. St. Joseph's Indian School has been a good place for me to start in helping these young people to achieve their highest potential and stay connected to their roots, their culture and their families.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 09/26/2017

Wopila tanka - many thanks - for your generous support of St. Joseph's! The Lakota (Sioux) children are blessed by your friendship. Your support makes a positive difference in the lives of Native American youth and families because of you, we can provide boys and girls with vital services for future growth and success. Your help ensure we can continue caring for the American Indian children in need. Once again, thank you for your support.

14

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Received the large packet yesterday- great timing as I was on the Blackfoot Reservation 2 days ago and was able to buy Indian- made art at the Museum of the Plains Indians.
Packet contained a Dreamcatcher which was Made In China! How does that help a Native Economy?

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 09/26/2017

This is a question we receive from time to time. Yes, we mail items made in China. Your concern on this important issue is appreciated and I hope you understand this is not a decision we take lightly. We believe the children in our care deserve time to be children, playing outside and enjoying after school activities. Because such a large quantity of products is needed in a limited time frame, mass production is our only option. We work with local Lakota artists as often as possible, and feature their work in both exhibits and the gift shop at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center on campus. We only work with reputable companies in China, most of which have been suppliers to us for years one for more than fifty years. They are also very supportive, monetarily, to our cause and make direct donations for the education and welfare of the Lakota children at St. Joseph’s Indian School. With special donors, and supportive business partners like them, we are able to make a real difference

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Received a thick packet in the mail yesterday for the first time. Don't know how I got on their list. Way too much unwanted merchandise, so wasteful. Made me suspicious, so I checked GuideStar...no information on the organization, but a link took me here. Lots of negative reviews going back some years, and then, suddenly a whole bunch of positive reviews, all dated in May or June of 2017. Makes me even more suspicious. I will not donate to this organization and hope I can get them to take me off their list.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 09/08/2017

Your concern on this important issue is appreciated. We have tested many different forms of mailings and the response to the gifts we send out has proven beneficial. They are also very supportive, monetarily, to our cause and make direct donations for the education and welfare of the Lakota children at St. Joseph’s Indian School. You can always read more about our organization on the Council of Accreditation's website http://coanet.org. Please call us at 800-341-2235 if you have questions or would like us to remove you from our mailing list.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I was introduced to St. Joseph's Indian school a long time ago- I had been married for just 41 years when I found out my husband was terminal He loved St. Joseph and prayed to this saint everyday in his work area- I found the St. Joseph school in a web site as I was looking to find a prayer for my husband- I wrote to them, requested prayers for my husband and never stopped, even after his death, to make the St Joseph's Indian school my turn to friend.
I have been a donor to the school, and also sent them school supplies when they need them.
They have always shown great respect for life, for grief and for all who ask for help.
The children are always included in their messages. I have been sent many hand drawn papers from the children and even voice messages in emails. They do not forget your help.
They are so consistent in keeping me informed of what ever is going on, If I were younger, I would take the trip I am so generously offered by the children, so see them graduate. Cannot for physical restrictions. But I know they remember to thank and pray for everyone they come in contact with- That is the beautiful and loving warmth you receive from this school.
I truly know that the gifts you send are welcomed and that you are prayed for as a friend
I consider all these great kids, and priests friends of mine- Altho I have never personally met them, for the past several years we have kept in touch..

God has blessed me with the knowledge that the belief in God lives forever in St. Joseph Indian School and is celebrated everyday in these smiling children.
God Bless- Andrea Nichols

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 06/09/2017

Thank you so much for your kind and beautiful words. Our donors are definitely part of our Tiyospaye-extended family. We are always grateful for the support we are shown for the Lakota Sioux boys and girls at St. Joseph's! Many blessings to you!

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been following and donating to the Saint Joseph Indian School for many years. In an imperfect world, I have come to admire the work they do. A couple of years ago I was able to make the long trip out to the annual Pow Wow and that solidified my belief in Saint Josephs. Seeing the children and their families in a traditional environment was an amazing experience for me, but that is not the important thing. What I found most amazing was the link between the application of what IS today's world, with that of the Lakota history and spirituality. It made my heart feel good to witness it. The downside is that, to me, the Lakota seeme like a People that are both here and gone t the same time. They live in a world that IS because they must physically, but at the same time they are not present, but are in a remote spiritual world that is no more.....And we, collectively must bear the responsibility for that.
As to the campus, it was wonderful, modern and clean. The dormitories are designed as little mini Lakota villages and the children have enough room to do their work and still have some privacy. The school buildings, gym and fields are all excellent too. The best part of the campus though are the lakota structures. There is a medicine Wheel , a ring of giant oak tree, a sweat lodge and a magnificently designed Chapel of Our lady of the Sioux, including all carved wood statues, crucifix etc in a warm welcoming setting. Again, and not to go on and on, but I feel like I got more than I gave in my Saint Josephs experience. I will return again some day and hopefully be ablee to give of my time. The Lakota deserve at least that.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 06/08/2017

Thank you so much for your kind words. It is always wonderful to hear when supporters are able to make it to campus. By supporting St. Joseph's Indian School, you are helping Native American children in need reestablish pride in the Lakota (Sioux) culture by learning the Lakota language, studying Native American culture and healing the broken family circle from which they come. You are welcome back anytime!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

St. Joseph's Indian School is a very worthwhile charity and continues to receive my support. They are located in one of the poorest counties in S. Dakota. The young children they serve, and the community where they are located are in need of educational, medicial and social supports. Please consider donating to St. Joseph's.

Comments ( 2 )

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stjo1927 05/26/2017

Thank you for your support and comments! You are correct, many of the reservations in South Dakota are some of the poorest counties in the nation. All of our students come from the 9 various reservations here in South Dakota, but St. Joseph's is located in Chamberlain, SD and not directly on a reservation.

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stjo1927 05/30/2017

Thank you for your comment! Reservation life in South Dakota is extremely difficult. Poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and lack of medical services are just some of the issues faced. Students at St. Joseph's receive free medical and dental care, loving homes, education, and cultural awareness among other things. All of these things are possible because of wonderful people such as yourself. Wopila tanka — many thanks — for helping St. Joseph’s reach out and provide hope to Lakota (Sioux) children all year long!

5

Donor

Rating: 5

I chose this charity with children because I believe they are the poorest of the United States and are the most misunderstood. No child should have to suffer from hunger, cold, and other circumstances beyond their control.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 05/22/2017

Several of the reservations in South Dakota are some of the poorest areas in the nation. In addition to poverty, alcohol, drug and suicide rates are high on the reservations. Many kids never make it past 8th grade. Supporters like you provide a safe, loving, environment for the kids to flourish. We thank you!

9

Donor

Rating: 4

I have visited St. Joseph's indian museum several times over the years and have had a personal tour of the school. I think they do a great job trying to preserve native american heritage and spirituality and they provide a valuable service to the surrounding reservations for children of families in crisis. Visit the reservations, visit the school, learn their history in the museum. I can never atone for the evil done to their ancestors, but i can do my small part to assist the current generation.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 05/22/2017

Thank you for comment and support! Preserving and sharing the Lakota (Sioux) culture is a core part of our mission at St. Joseph's Indian School. It is amazing to hear that you have seen that in action and visited the campus and museum! Bless you!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have visited St Joe's 3 times.

Excellent facility and staff

Larry Woerner
Columbus, OH

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 05/22/2017

Thank you for your comment and support, Larry! It is wonderful to hear that you have been to campus three times. Your friendship is appreciated!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I became interested in Indians when I was a young child and was given an Indian book. I read it over and over. Then I married a man that was part Indian. When I found this website I had the inspiration that I needed to give back and what better way of doing it then donating to this wonderful school. They care for their young people, not only in education, but also with a safe warm place to live, warm nourishing meals and clothing. The children are happy here. I love seeing their happy faces and smiles. Thank you St. Joseph's for caring!

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 05/19/2017

We are truly grateful for the blessings you share with the Lakota children. Donors like you are so important to the work we do! If you would like to see more pictures and the smiles you help create, please check out our Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stjo1927/

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a program that works within the community that it respects and serves. I am very confident that my support is used to actually improve the lives of the children and to provide them the opportunity to succeed, grow and become all that they can be. The smiles on the faces and the stories the children share let me know that they are doing well. My mom was a semi orphan raised in an Irish convent school in the early part of the last century. She would have been so happy to have the love and care that this program provides.

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stjo1927 05/19/2017

Wopila tanka - many thanks - for your support! Appreciation of the children's cultural heritage is infused in our daily routine both at school and in the homes. St. Joseph’s Native American Studies classes focus on Lakota language, culture and traditions. We have cultural experts on staff and also regularly invite Lakota (Sioux) elders and advisors to assist with ceremonies like Inipi, a purification rite, on campus. St. Joseph's also operates outreach programs on three reservations. We have a shelter for battered women, provide counseling services, run soup kitchens, maintain and run thrift stores and other service programs to help the Native American people.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a woman of 60 who loves to think and help others. St. Joseph's is the perfect school to help. They are kind and love both to the children and donors. some day I can't wait to meet all these wonderful people. The children draw and write wonderful letters. It makes you feel warm inside! Being in an tiyospaye is nice, Pilamaya- you make me feel special, as you are! I will send picture snail mail, since I don't know how over internet. Hugs!
Smiles, Joyce
P.S. Pilamaya for all the graduation photos. That's very sweet!

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stjo1927 05/19/2017

Pilamaya – thank you – for helping us meet each Lakota child’s basic needs … and giving them so much more such as college scholarships, programs that strengthen families, nutritious food and a cultural education. Your monthly support is so very important. Bless you!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting st Joseph Indian school monthly for several years.They believe in promoting the Catholic Faith,family,and culture of the beautiful Indian children,many of whom live in poverty and broken homes.St Joseph gives these PRECIOUS children HOPE AND LOVE

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stjo1927 05/17/2017

Thank you for being part of our Tiyospaye! St. Joseph's mission is developing the mind, body, heart and spirit of Lakota (Sioux) boys and girls since 1927.

1

Donor

Rating: 3

I felt that is as a direction from God to help St. Joseph's Indian School. I hope God blesses you this year with his special gifts and grants all your wishes. May the promises of God rests upon you.

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stjo1927 05/17/2017

Thank you so much for your kind words and wishes.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My name is Connie Rowden & I have been a supporter of St. Joseph Indian School for many years. They do amazing work out there with the children teaching them all they need to know to make it out in the world, as well as preserving their precious Native American customs & languages so they can be passed down from generation to generation so as not to be lost forever. They have so very little to sustain them in their everyday lives. It's as tho tho the world has completely forgotten them. Yet they somehow are the greatest at being the best stewards of the precious little money that comes their way. They have to be. My experience with the children & elders at St. Joseph are humble, appreciative & thankful for your donations that help them improve their way of life. Many have no heat, no running water, holes in the roofs & walls, dirt floors, & on & on. There is no reason for these proud people to have to live in these conditions in our United States of America where we have been Blessed. Please help where you can, give from your heart, they desperately need help, & there is no greater way to help than to donate to our Native Americans . This is something I feel very deeply about & carry in my heart everyday. Thank you. Connie Rowden

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stjo1927 05/17/2017

Connie, thank you so much for your input, comments, and support. The Lakota (Sioux) children are blessed by your friendship. Your support makes a positive difference in the lives of Native American youth and families and because of you, we can provide boys and girls with vital services for future growth and success. Your help ensures we can continue caring for the American Indian children in need.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been giving to St. Joseph for several years. My small donations go a long way toward providing shelter, education and guidance to a wonderful group of children. Their appreciation is always shown as they share photos and successes with their donors.

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stjo1927 05/17/2017

We have been blessed with wonderful supporters such as yourself for 90 years. Our supporters create a safe, stable home away from reservation hardships; Individual counseling and guidance; Carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota (Sioux) culture and individual student needs; Tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem, improve cultural awareness; All of this and more to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.