“Children are special. It doesn’t matter whose child.”

Every day when Dave arrives in the Native American Studies (NAS) classroom at St. Joseph’s Indian School, he knows the work he’s doing is for the children.

Dave became St. Joseph’s Cultural Associate at the start of this school year. Our newest strategic plan focuses on educating children for life - mind, body, heart and spirit. Teaching the Lakota (Sioux) culture plays an integral role.

Lakota students pose for a picture before performing hoop da
Dave accompanied St. Joseph’s students to perform hoop dancing for St. Joseph’s Annual Tiyospaye Banquet
the night before powwow.

Of Lakota and Ponca heritage, Dave earned his degree in Lakota culture, history and language from Sinte Gleska University in Mission, South Dakota.

“Initially, I intended to be a counselor and work with drug and alcohol addictions,” said Dave. “But now I’m a teacher instead.”

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, he assists with NAS class, leads drum group, teaches the Lakota language and facilitates ceremonies for students, like inipi - the rite of purification. “Bringing the Lakota (Sioux) culture, language and history to the children helps them even more than we realize,” Dave said. “To understand who they are and where they come from is vital for them to grow.”

Teaching the Native American children their culture and language is an integral part of St. Joseph’s program. All students in grades 1-8 have NAS as part of their regular school day. High school students, who live on St. Joseph’s campus but attend Chamberlain Public High School, learn the Lakota language and participate in the weekly class, Sons and Daughters of Tradition.
St. Joseph's students learning Lakota hand games.
Dave teaches seventh grade students traditional
Lakota hand games.

“I tell my students every day that getting an education is the most important thing they can do,” said Dave. “Without an education, you can’t make it anywhere.”

Wopila tanka - many thanks - for helping provide the Lakota children at St. Joseph’s an education for life mind, body, heart and spirit.


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