Mount Marty University Nursing and St. Joe’s Collaborate

Posted on: April 13, 2022

The spirit of Bishop Martin Marty, “Apostle to the Sioux,” blew in a strong wind through the campus of St. Joseph’s Indian School on Thursday, April 7. Eight nursing students from Mount Marty University, which bears his namesake, visited the school to learn more about the Lakota culture and Lakota students who attend there.

The eight young women made the trip as part of their Lakota Medical and Cultural Experience class. Health Center Director Jenna Hieb and Counseling Services Director Robyn Knecht introduced them to the Health and Counseling Services provided at the Dehon Health and Family Services Center. Students also enjoyed presentations on Lakota culture and spirituality and the traditional pȟežúta (medicines) available on campus.

The students shared their thoughts on the visit. “The inside of the church was outstanding and is a great way to help kids visualize their faith in a way that they understand. I was most amazed by the health care part of the tour. The amount of help and care provided for the students is phenomenal,” said Brook Bauman-Staab.

For Jerah Johns, the sense of thióšpaye (extended family) was memorable. She said “I gained so many benefits by being able to learn more about Lakota culture and experience the impact of this community. I love how everyone is treated like family and how big of an impact the community has on the children.”

The Benedictine Sisters, who call Mount Marty home, staffed St. Joseph’s from 1933 to 1971. In addition to a shared Benedictine background, the Mount Marty Nursing Program and St. Joseph’s Indian School have a common commitment to holistic care and service to Native Americans. The two schools reached out to one another to benefit from these connections shortly before the pandemic and now continue the collaboration.

Surely Bishop Marty, who once said, “Happy would I be if I could sacrifice for God what Custer threw away to the world,” would approve this joint effort to best serve the Native American people of South Dakota.