A day of celebration
Today, October 11, is a day of diverse celebrations. Although it has been commemorated by several states during the past few years, 2021 marks the first time that Indigenous Peoples’ Day is observed at the federal level. On October 8, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., wrote that “On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, our Nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations…”
“Now, therefore, I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., president of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 11, 2021, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who contribute to shaping this Nation.”
Click here to read the proclamation in full. Our thanks to St. Joseph’s Indian School for use of their Native American Day banner (the original name of the holiday in South Dakota) at the top of today’s Fridge Notes page.
Today is also Columbus Day, which commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. Indigenous Peoples’ Day was developed – in part – to address concerns tied to the holiday in regard to a sense of “occupation” of Native American lands by Europeans. The origins of Columbus Day as a national holiday primarily go back to President Benjamin Harrison, who proclaimed a nationwide celebration of “Discovery Day,” it was an attempt to acknowledge the contributions of Italian Americans on the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing (Columbus was Italian). At the time, Italian immigrants had faced significant bigotry and attack in American cities. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated it a national holiday named “Columbus Day”, and in 1971 Congress changed the date from October 12 to the second Monday of October.
Of course, another significant holiday today is Canadian Thanksgiving. It is celebrated as a federal holiday in all the provinces of Canada except New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Happy Thanksgiving to our northern neighbors, eh!
Among the other celebrations to note this year on October 11: the Boston Marathon is being run today (due to the pandemic, it was moved from its traditional date in April), it is General Pulaski Memorial Day (a Polish hero of the American Revolution it commemorates Kazimierz Pułaski’s death from wounds suffered at the siege of Savannah and was instituted to honor the heritage of Polish Americans), and today is the start of the fall break week at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. There are no classes, though staff will work Monday through Thursday, taking a holiday on Friday.
Touring province history
Join us on a quick tour of the US Province Archives! Fr. Wayne Jenkins, SCJ, and Fr. Ed Zemlik, SCJ, share several displays and artifacts, including mementos from the “Spitfire Grill,” a movie produced by the Priests of the Sacred Heart in partnership with Castle Rock Entertainment; the banner held by SCJs in the 1982 UN Disarmament Rally in New York City; the passport used by Bishop Joseph DePalma, SCJ, during his participation in Vatican II, and one of the first issues of Mission Call, the province’s first publication.
Farewell and best wishes!
After approximately three years with the SCJ community in Ottawa, Fr. Paulin Makiala, SCJ, returned to his home province in DR Congo last week. Fr. Paulin earned a master’s degree in Conflict Studies at the University of St. Paul. Back in Congo, he will serve as director of the Saint Laurent Centre, a program for children in crisis, many of whom have been trafficked and have suffered significant abuse.
Although he has been here for several years, as of today, October 11, Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, SCJ (“Ardi”), is officially a member of the US Province. He is pictured above during last week’s pet blessings in Mississippi.
Animal blessing at St. Joe’s
As birds gathered above the Wisdom Circle on the campus of St. Joseph’s Indian School on October 4, Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment, students and staff did the same below on the dewy morning grass.
At the center of the circle stood Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ, who led the group in prayer, including blessing some of the animals who are a part of St. Joseph’s. Fr. Greg is school chaplain.
Among those blessed were three horses from the school’s Equine Therapy program. The Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes represented at St. Joseph’s regard animals at a deep level. In particular, they revere the šúŋkawakȟán — horse — for its grace, bravery and ability to assist in healing from trauma, anxiety, and mental and emotional distress.
St. Joseph’s launched its Equine Therapy program in 2018. Ever since, the horses have been taking on trauma, grief or pain for students and helping them release it. Fr. Greg patted drops of Holy Water on their foreheads to shower the horses with gratitude.
Click here to read more on the St. Joseph’s Indian School blog.
Jewish Studies Seminar for Christians
The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at SHSST will host two Wednesday evening webinars as a part of its “The Jewish People and the Church Webinar Series.” The first is on November 17 and is titled “What Jews Do When They Pray.” The presenter is Rabbi Scott Shafrin. On December 1 the topic is “Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel: Visions of the Hebrew Prophets,” led by Rabbi Noah Chertkoff. The webinars run from 7:00-8:15 p.m. CST. Click on the desired date to register:
You must register for each event individually to take part.
Click here to learn more about the Lux Center.
St. Joe’s is a “big deal” on Main Street
Terry Woster, a columnist for the Mitchell Republic in South Dakota, recently wrote about Chamberlain’s Main Street and how it has changed since his high school days.
“The other day, driving home from a weekend cross-country meet in Huron, I came down the north hill on Highway 50 into town and realized Main Street these days is a lot more than I thought it was as a kid,” he wrote. “The real Main Street runs from St. Joseph’s Indian School at the north edge of town to the Interstate 90 exchange just past the south end of town. The business strip along that street still is filled with shops and stores, although only a few are the same ones we rode past again and again in my high school days.
“The thing is, the street now is bookended by a couple of places that qualify as really big deals. I mean, places of statewide, even national, importance. At the north end, on the St. Joe’s campus, is the Akta Lakota Museum. St. Joe’s has been on that spot since 1927, long before I came onto the scene. But the museum is a relatively recent addition. It officially opened in 1991, so it’s celebrating 30 years as a place where the culture and customs of the native people of the Northern Plains are explained, recognized and celebrated.”
Click here to read the full column. Note that after your first viewing of the article you may be asked to register for a free account.
On Wednesday, October 6, students in the English and Cultural Studies program at SHSST (formerly ESL) celebrated their annual fall multicultural Mass; 13 languages were spoken at the Mass. Click here to view a video of it.