Rooted in Faith & Culture

Rooted in faith and culture, though St. Joseph’s Indian School is affiliated with the Catholic Church, we welcome children of all faiths and celebrate the dignity of each person created in God’s image.

Catholic spirituality and Native American culture enrich daily life at our school. We provide spiritual education through Religious Studies Classes for all students in grades one through 12. Catholic students make up between 60 and 70% annually of the student body. Others belong to Protestant denominations, follow traditional Native American practices or have no religious affiliation.

Our students learn about their Native American language and culture in Native American Studies Classes. The Aktá Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, located on campus, exists for students and visitors alike to broaden their knowledge of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota culture.


Here are additional ways that faith and culture make up the heartbeat of campus life:

  • When families request, preparation for their children for the sacraments of Baptism, First Reconciliation, Communion and Confirmation
  • Prayers in both the Catholic and Lakota tradition
  • Sunday Mass where children participate in choir and as altar servers, blessing ministers, readers and ushers
  • A tour of Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel
  • A monthly “Lakota Mass” with appropriate cultural elements including a traditional drum group, in regalia, and selected prayers and songs in Lakota
  • Our annual powwow each September
  • Inipi Ceremony (sweat lodge)
  • Smudge before and after school and at Sunday Mass
  • Sons and Daughters of Tradition for high school students
  • Lakota Circles of Hope for first through eighth grades
  • Seventh-grade cultural trip
  • Morning prayer and flag song to start the school day
  • Lakota phrase of the week for staff and students
  • Lakota Word Wednesday: Learn Lakota along with our students by watching Lakota Word Wednesday videos on YouTube and Facebook
  • Participation in language competitions such as Lakota Nation Invitational