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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

120 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been contributing to St Joseph for over thirty years. I've always been troubled and appalled by our treatment of Native Americans, but, especially by, the taking of the children from their families, placing them in "Christian" schools and trying to destroy their culture, by forbidding them their beliefs, language and practices.
So, I have loved St Joseph for incorporating their culture into their everyday lives and education.
I have been to PowWow several times and loved sharing in the dances, sings and learning. I was especially was moved by the singing and drumming in Mass. How wonderful to combine the meaningful rituals.
I have never accepted the idea of Native Americans as "heathen". Their spiritual life is every bit as rich as the most devout Christian.
But, beyond book education, St Joseph meets their physical needs with food, clothing and a safe family home life with love and friends.
This school offers hope to the children of the reservations of the way to a better life for themselves and perhaps going back helping others.
I believe that St Joseph is more than worthy of any non profit organization, for honors and accolades. It's influence is not limited to the campus, but spreads through the whole state of South Dakota.
Dorothy M Rodgers

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 09/17/2018

Thank you so much for your continued support, and kind words about our mission. We are blessed because of you and other like you, that allow us to do this every year.

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been involved with St Joseph's for many years now. For most of this time we have relied on the wonderful information provided by the staff at St Joseph's to keep abreast of how our donations were being applied. The programs have always been impressive and we have felt the stewardship of our donations was being executed in line with our wishes and in excellent service to the children in their community. Several years ago we had the opportunity to visit St Joseph's on one of our cross country travels and we found the entire environment to be exactly as we expected. The facilities are first rate, the children all appear to be extremely happy and well adjusted and the programs are well planned and executed. As a result of our long relationship with St Joseph's we have continued to keep St Joseph's on our short list of major annual donations even as we have transitioned to a fixed retirement income. God Bless all associated with this outstanding institution.

Arthur P. Ryan III

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 09/17/2018

Thank you for taking the time to write this , and for stopping by! We are always glad when donor get the chance to stop on campus, and see where your donations are being used. We appreciate all of your support.

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been involved with St. Joe's for well over 30 years. We have watched them grow in their continued dedication to our needy and deserving Lakota-American children. Most recently we helped to erect a self-sufficient state of the art Health Care Center. Over the years only good things have emerged from this exemplary charitable institution. We pray they continue their beautiful work for as long as Divine Providence permits. . Dr. Robert and Eva Porto

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 09/10/2018

Thank you so much for your continued support and kind words about our mission. You are a blessing to us and the lives of the children.

Donor

Rating: 1

This is not a GreatNonProfit organization in my eye.
My wife and I regret sending small sums of $ to them.
We get frequent mailings, too many.
We sent them a check for $100 and asked them to only mail us once per year.
We continued to receive mailings anyway, even after a call to them to ask them to remove us from mailing list. They are wasting money on mailings and are unethical in their practices as apparently they will not remove us from mailing list. We still get mailings after reasonable efforts to have them stopped.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 09/12/2018

We are sorry if you received the wrong impression from us. We appreciate all the support we receive from generous donor like yourself, and we try to work hard to be good stewards of those donation. Thank you for letting us know you would prefer not to receive these item, we are always happy to make these adjustments for any donor. We do print our mailings 90 days in advance, so when a change is made to mailing preferences it does take several weeks for these to change. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. We would be happy to verify that you have been removed from our mailing list if you would like to call our Donor Care Center at 1-800-341-2235.

Donor

Rating: 5

The opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile organization where the outcome is visible!

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 08/13/2018

Thank you for your positive support and feedback.

DonandI

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

For many years I have contributed small sums to St. Joseph's Indian School, wishing that I could afford to give more. I am confident that every penny I've given has been used wisely and carefully to provide a loving home for Native American children whose parents cannot offer them this quality of life. In return for my donations, the School has sent me pictures of healthy, laughing children who are learning about their heritage and who are engaged in work that prepares them for higher education and meaningful futures. I am proud to help the dedicated staff in their work and will continue to support their efforts as long as I am able!

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 08/01/2018

Thank you so much for your kind words and continued support to the children in our care.

Previous Stories
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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have not been able to visit St. Joseph's School but donate an amount of my small funds to this mission because of what I view as excellent organization, a well-trained and dedicated staff, and the unfeigned happy, shining, healthy faces of the children in the regular pictures sent to me. when I think of the difficult circumstances of the Native American lives in our country, especially on the arid lands of the reservations where they were forced to live so long ago, I want to do my part, no matter how small, to help this mission move forward. I am grateful to the Director and staff of St. Joseph's who work so lovingly to change the present and future of such beautiful, precious children!

Comments ( 2 )

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stjo1927 05/17/2017

Thank you for your wonderful words and support! You truly do make a difference in the lives of the Lakota Sioux boys and girls. Please visit our website for pictures and updates as well! http://www.stjo.org

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stjo1927 05/18/2017

The Lakota (Sioux) children are blessed by your friendship. Your gift 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.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have had a lot of correspondence with this group. The kids send letters and handmade things throughout the year. They spend the money they receive wisely and with so many different areas they cover. At times I can give more then other times. They treat me with respect and as a important donor whether I give or not. I wish nothing but good fortune for these children and St. Joseph as a whole

Patricia Stock

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 07/11/2018

Thank you so much for your feedback! Pilamaya – thank you – for your care and support of St. Joseph’s students! God bless you!

Previous Stories
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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!

7

Donor

Rating: 1

I sent in a modest donation a few months ago. Instead of using my donation to help the children, it was used to send me almost weekly mailings with all kinds of cards, dream catchers, address labels, note pads and other trinkets. They spent many times more money on me than I had donated. I am saddened that my money never made it to the children.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 08/01/2018

We can certainly get your mailing preferences updated for you. Please call us at 800-341-2235 and we would be happy to assist you with. We appreciate your support! Pilamaya!

9

Donor

Rating: 3

I also agree that I do not want the gifts when I donate to any charity. I am sending an official letter to the school. I want my entire donation to go to the kids so I will not be donating in the future.

Comments ( 1 )

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stjo1927 02/26/2018

We can certainly get your mailing preferences updated for you. Please call us at 800-341-2235 and we would be happy to assist you with. We appreciate your support! Pilamaya!

18 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.

13

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

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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.

14

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!

6

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.

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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.

20

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

14

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

4

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

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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!

9

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.

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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!

4

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!