Earth Day Meaningful to St. Joseph’s Indian School Students

Posted on: April 22, 2022

Thursday, April 21, fifth- and sixth-grade students from St. Joseph’s Indian School spent the afternoon giving their Uŋčí Makȟá (Grandmother Earth) a good cleaning in celebration of Earth Day. They collected garbage in the communities of Chamberlain and Oacoma, S.D., beginning at the elementary school, then sweeping through the Avenue of Flags, across to the city pool and on to Al’s Oasis. They completed the day with a snack and beverage provided by Buche Foods.

Bumping up the fun factor, teams received awards for the most trash, largest item, most awkward piece of garbage and more. Jevjuan Dian was enthused about his team’s prize, stating, “I was glad to win a prize for the most trash picked up by our group. [We] found some big items like a tarp, a piece of a broken sled and other stuff in the trees by the sledding hill in the middle of town.” The collection event is a repeat of last year’s effort that brought in a missing plastic kiddie pool.

But for students, it was about much more than the prizes. Sixth-grader LaKora Mills said she was happy to pick up trash because she felt helpful. Classmate Kayley Cournoyer added, “I was excited to go from the beginning. I found a piece of an old lawnmower by the Avenue of Flags. When I was done, I felt honored to help clean up Grandmother Earth.”

Keeping the celebration alive and present to community members, Buche Foods is selling attractive, reusable grocery totes made for St. Joseph’s for $4 each or three for $10. They come in blue, red-orange and green. Students selected the World Wildlife Foundation to receive 100% of the proceeds from tote sales. These bags were thoughtfully chosen because they are 80% recycled material, unlike many available products.

  • You can drive a mile on the amount of gasoline it takes to make 14 plastic grocery bags.
  • It takes up to 500 years for a plastic bag to break down in a landfill.
  • Plastic bags kill up to 100,000 marine animals a year.

Too much of a hassle?

  • Store your shopping bags in your car, where you will always have them handy. It really takes the guesswork out of the situation, and Uŋčí Makȟá and the wakȟáŋheža (children) will be grateful.