St. Joseph’s students enjoy learning about the museum artifacts.

St. Joseph’s students enjoy learning about the museum artifacts.

The Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center at St. Joseph’s Indian School is committed to honoring and preserving the culture of South Dakota’s Native Americans and educating the thousands of people who visit the museum each year. The museum was recently recognized with the 2015 George S. Michelson Great Service Award, which “honors businesses or organizations that have done an exemplary job of exceeding visitors’ expectations in customer service.”

There was a time in American history when eradication of Native American people and their culture plagued our nation. The facts of history cannot be changed; however, the future of Northern Plains people, especially children, can be shaped through the restoration of their heritage.

Because St. Joseph’s and our donors believe cultural awareness and appreciation lie at the center of healing and growth, the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center was opened on St. Joseph’s campus in 1991. As a “living museum,” the cultural center’s purpose is to honor the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people in South Dakota.

Children at St. Joseph’s often come to campus with little understanding of who they are as a people. Part of their educational experience comes from our cultural center. While in our care, youngsters attend classes in our cultural center, listen to speakers and learn the Lakota language.

Classes in our cultural center help our students learn more about their culture.

Classes in our cultural center help our students learn more about their culture.

Additionally, the cultural center is open to the general public. As a living museum developed specifically with Northern Plains heritage and culture in mind, guests will find:

  • Contemporary issues receive as much attention as past battles;
  • Today’s art is exhibited alongside yesterday’s artifacts and
  • The education of young Native American students is as important as state-of-the-art research and conservation.

The Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center shares its collection through traveling exhibits. All efforts and programs are funded through private donations and promotion of Northern Plains art.

In May 2013, we proudly dedicated the opening of our historical and alumni center, Tokya uŋk njiŋpiWe stood here in the beginning. The center uses displays, audio visuals and artifacts to preserve the memories of St. Joseph’s Indian School and shares accomplishments of the students, religious staff and benefactors.

Come explore and learn about the Native American culture! Take a few hours or a full day. You’ll be glad you did. Admission is free, every day for everyone.

Guided and self-guided campus tours are available upon request at the reception desk. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 800.798.3452 or email

Summer hours (May-October) are 8:00am- 6:00pm Monday thru Saturday and 9:00am-5:00pm Sunday. Winter hours (November-April) are 8:00am-5:00pm Monday thru Friday.


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