St. Joseph’s Indian School students worked with artist Marcia Holliway to design and create ornaments for South Dakota’s tree in the 2013 National Christmas Tree display! Chosen by the Office of the Governor, they join artists and youth from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia.

Students worked with a variety of materials to create ornaments
Students worked with a variety of materials to create their ornaments for the Christmas tree that will represent South Dakota in President’s Park.

Students worked with Holliway on the ornaments during workshops at St. Joseph’s Indian School as part of the South Dakota Arts Council’s Artists In Schools & Communities program.

“We were asked to share what Christmas in South Dakota is like,” said Holliway. “We focused on sharing the students’ unique heritage and the South Dakota way of life. Pulling inspiration from tribal flags and traditions, as well as cold Dakota winters, they planned out their designs and used several types of materials in the ornaments.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to be chosen for this project,” said Dave, St. Joseph’s art instructor. “We are the only school in South Dakota with the opportunity to communicate our way of life — what matters to our state — to a national audience. It’s a great responsibility and privilege to share a Christmas message in this way.”

“I am pleased that some of our young people from St. Joseph’s Indian School had the opportunity to participate in this project,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “I know our state will be well-represented in the National Christmas Tree display thanks to the work these students have done.”

As one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park.

The ornaments represent South Dakota's unique traditions
The ornaments represent South Dakota’s unique traditions and landmarks.

The 2013 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be Friday, December 6 and will air on South Dakota Public Television Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. For more information or to find your local listing, visit

The Artists in Schools & Communities program is sponsored by St. Joseph’s Indian School, with support provided by the South Dakota Arts Council with funds from the State of South Dakota, through the Department of Tourism and State Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

St. Joseph’s Indian School, an apostolate of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, partners with Native American children and families to educate for life mind, body, heart and spirit.


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