Significant Changes 1968-Present

Significant changes took place from 1968 to the present day as a move toward a more residential lifestyle, a more evidence-based approach to programming and a more strengths-based approach to working with our Native American students reshaped St. Joseph’s Indian School.

1968: The new school (Aktá Lakota Museum and Cultural Center today) was built to relieve overcrowding. The nuns were replaced with lay teachers when the school was built.

1970: The present dining hall was completed with modern facilities. Today, it provides lunch during the school day and serves as a grocery store for the homes.

1975: A new gym with a swimming pool was built to provide year-round activities for the students, especially during the long winter months.

1979: Ten students and two houseparents were housed in the St. Francis Home to give the students a more family-like setting. After evaluation, this living arrangement was found to be beneficial for the students.

1980-1983: The conversion from dormitories to residential living units was completed. Each home houses 10-12 students. Family living units changed the way St. Joseph’s operated by providing a holistic approach of care for the students.

1985: Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel, built in 1956, was completely remodeled. Catholic and Lakota traditions are brought together in the chapel design.

1989: The former boys’ dormitory, facing the Missouri River, was remodeled into classrooms to allow 12 students per class. Smaller classrooms were needed to better assist the various student needs.

1989: An additional family living unit was constructed.

1990: The development office and visitor’s center opened. The visitor’s center welcome 25,000 visitors to campus each year. The development office reaches out to millions of people each year to join in social service and apostolate of prayer programs.

1991: The high school boys’ home is purchased. This is the first family living unit located off St. Joseph’s campus. One of the reasons for locating the home in town was to integrate the program more closely into the life of the local community.

1992: The round school was converted to the Aktá Lakota Museum & Cultural Center to showcase and embrace Lakota culture.

1994: Tipi Press Printing opens providing an on-campus print shop to print direct mail for the development program. Tipi Press Printing brings greater flexibility and decreased costs.

1996: The Thiyóšpaye Center opens, allowing families of students a place to stay while visiting their children on campus.

2001: A new SCJ home was constructed for religious staff.

2003: The former SCJ home is renovated into two new high school homes.

2003: Purchased Main Street building for the Thrift Store.

2004: Sacred Hoop Center constructed to integrate family members into day-to-day student programming at St. Joseph’s.

2006: 30th Annual Powwow and ground breaking for two new high school homes.

2008: St. Joseph’s Indian School updated their Recreational Center with new flooring, lighting, and paint.

2009: Murals depicting tribal flags were created and mounted on the walls of St. Joseph’s Dining Hall. Renovation on the Cyr and Perky Homes is completed.

2010: Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel received underpinning and re-roofing. Renovation on the Fisher and Pinger Homes is completed.

2011: Renovation on the Speyer and Rooney is completed. Renovation begins in the Aktá Lakota Museum & Cultural Center.

2012: Renovation of the Stevens and Mathias Homes was completed. The Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi (We stood here in the beginning) Alumni & Historical Center is completed.

2013: Thrift Store opens at its new location on North Main Street. St. Joseph’s Personal Care Center opens on Main Street in Chamberlain. St. Joseph’s Donor Care Center opens in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

2014: With other home renovations complete, the David Home reopens to house 12 Lakota girls in grades 1-3 bringing St. Joseph’s home total to 20.

2015: St. Joseph’s Indian School opens two senior homes on campus. These homes provide opportunities for St. Joseph’s high school seniors to learn skills and responsibilities they will need to be successful after graduation.

2017: Ribbon cutting takes place at St. Joseph’s 41st Annual Powwow for the new Health & Family Services Center.