Shooting for Success
(Chamberlain, S.D.) –On February 1, 2020, St. Joseph’s Indian School archery students traveled to Huron, S.D., for the annual Dakota Oyate Challenge. This event kicked off the first archery competition for the school year so the students’ excitement was off-the-charts. “The archers were so excited as it was going to be our first time in competition for the year,” said Evan Fleury, St. Joseph’s Indian School Recreation Center Associate. “We had several students deal with nerves to start with, but once the first couple of arrows started to fly, they set their minds to what they had been practicing and were able to perform very well,” said Fleury.
Although the students were anxious, their nerves were understandable, as there were over 125 archers shooting for over 8 hours trying to win a 1st-3rd place trophy or a 4th-6th place medal. Out of 18 shooters, six St. Joseph’s Indian School students earned medals in the elementary boys and girls, middle school boys, and both boys and girls high school categories. The big victory that made the trip worthwhile was the championship title in both boys and girls high school categories. High School students, Andrew Bernie and ShyAnne Jumping Eagle both took home a large trophy and a personalized champion sweatshirt.
Historically, the “itázipa” (bow) and “waŋhíŋkpe” (arrow) served as protection and a source of life for Native American people. Today, students at St. Joseph’s Indian School have the opportunity to practice the skill of archery. While students do not have to construct their own bows and arrows, they still honor the bow, arrow and traditions by practicing their skills at archery competitions.