A Tradition True to the Season Continues at St. Joseph’s

Posted on: December 13, 2023

Amid the bustle of December – the lights, the trees, the Carols, the eats – there is another tradition at St. Joseph’s Indian School that offers a teachable moment for all of us about the true meaning of Christmas. It is an activity that turns most of our other holiday shopping on its head. It is that moment when students at the school shop free of charge to bring home gifts chosen in love for their families through the generosity of so many.

St. Joseph’s Indian School receives donations throughout the year, which are sorted with care to make sure that foremost all of the students’ needs are met. Sometimes there is an excess of donations. These items find a new purpose at the St. Joseph’s Annual Christmas Store where rows and rows of shelves are stocked with toys, clothing, books, blankets and other items.

The St. Joseph’s Annual Christmas Store allows students to select and wrap gifts to take back to their families over Christmas break. The experience is especially significant for the Lakota, for whom a key value is wówačhaŋtognakA (generosity) – the sharing and giving of life freely.

“I’m looking for something blue for my dad because blue is his favorite color!” said seventh-grader Rayne Grassrope, scanning the shelves.

“I’m getting my five-year-old brother a stuffed teddy bear,” said eighth-grader Kayley Cournoyer, squeezing it tight enough to break it in.

“I got my mom a blanket because it looks cozy and soft,” explained third-grader Athena Loudner as she worked diligently to wrap it at the wrapping station children visit sometime after selecting their gifts. Excitement and anticipation are tangible, festive music fills the room and even Old Saint Nick pays a visit.

As students head home for Christmas break, each excitedly anticipaties seeing their families and sharing joy, each carries a sack of presents slung over a shoulder Santa-style.

The staff and students of St. Joseph’s Indian School are grateful for the generosity of so many who make this annual experience possible. The school sends best wishes to all of our thiyóšpaye and looks forward to the New Year when we welcome students back.