Call for Applicants: St. Joseph’s Indian School Čanté Wašté Fellowship Pilot Year

For the first time, in fall 2023, St. Joseph’s Indian School offers this unique, one- to two-year fellowship for those interested in advancing the lives of Native American students at our residential school nestled on the banks of the Missouri River in Central South Dakota. Čanté Wašté is Lakota for “good heart.” If you are over age 21 and wanting to pour the goodness of your heart into guiding and caring for Lakota youth as a houseparent, the Čanté Wašté Fellowship is for you.

Community. Service. Spirituality. Culture.

The Čanté Wašté Fellowship is a community model. Four to six fellows live together as housemates, exchange ideas about the professional work in which they engage in the houseparent role, participate in outreach to some of South Dakota’s nine Native American Reservations, and benefit from numerous opportunities for prayer and reflection in the Catholic tradition.*

St. Joseph’s Indian School is an environment rich in Lakota heritage. Čanté Wašté Fellows learn about Native American culture through our annual powwow, travel along on cultural field trips such as the buffalo hunt, study the Lakota Language, participate in Lakota spiritual ceremonies and immerse themselves in the wealth of culture at our on-campus Aktá Lakota Museum.

The Fellowship Experience

Čanté Wašté Fellows serve as houseparents in one of 20 on-campus residences. There are a maximum of 12 students to two houseparents, who receive additional support as needed. The homes are divided by gender in age-related communities:

  • First through third grade
  • Fourth through sixth grade
  • Seventh and eighth grade
  • High school
2nd Grade

Grade school students attend the on-campus school, while high school students attend the local public school to begin the transition to life beyond high school.

Fellows work a six-day-on, three-day-off shift. When working, they live with students in campus residences. During time off, fellows participate in training, fellowship group activities and have time to pursue their own interests. The fellowship’s dual focus is the role of houseparent and role modeling for students. Specific guidelines for on-duty and off-duty time are provided as part of the hiring process.

Čanté Wašté Fellows receive the starting houseparent salary and benefits. St. Joseph’s Indian School is eligible for the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program.

Professional Development

Čanté Wašté Fellows receive valuable training and hard-to-match life experiences. In addition to the first-hand benefits of partnering with Native American children and families to educate for life – mind, body, heart and spirit – you are provided generous tools to equip you for a successful life working with youth:

  • Life Space Crisis Intervention
  • Crisis Prevention Intervention
  • Love & Logic
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Medication Administration Safety
  • First Aid
  • CPR
  • A.L.I.C.E.
  • Stop the Bleed
  • Role-specific trainings

The St. Joseph’s Indian School Campus

Our scenic campus is situated in Chamberlain, S. D., where opportunities for water sports, fishing, hunting and enjoying wildlife abound. So do the four seasons! The campus is a microcosm with its own grocery; maintenance garage; support services like electricians, plumbers and carpenters; Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel; Health Center; Recreation Center; Equine Therapy Center and more.

Schedule and Additional Information

The Čanté Wašté Fellowship runs from the beginning of the third week of July through May.

This website provides additional links to explore our school and other features, such as our Circle of Care model. You can also learn more about the role of the houseparent from our Hóčȟoka podcast found on this site.

Call our Human Resources Department at (605) 234-3311 for specific information regarding salary, benefits, the hiring process and employment expectations or email Melissa Hall at


*While St. Joseph’s Indian School is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, we respect and value all faiths and welcome all applicants. Participation in our faith community is an essential part of the fellowship experience.


To Apply

  • Complete our online application for the houseparenting role.
  • Provide three letters of recommendation, which can be uploaded during the application process
  • Write and upload an essay covering “Why the Čantê Wašté Fellowship Is for Me.” The essay should be a maximum of 600 words and discuss the benefits you bring and those you hope to receive from the experience.