Red Cloud Indian School

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Red Cloud Indian School
Maȟpíya Lúta Owáyawa
Red Cloud Indian School, Feather Logo.jpg
Official Logo
100 Mission Drive

, ,

United States
Coordinates43°04′42″N 102°35′10″W / 43.07833°N 102.58611°W / 43.07833; -102.58611Coordinates: 43°04′42″N 102°35′10″W / 43.07833°N 102.58611°W / 43.07833; -102.58611
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1888; 131 years ago (1888)
Sister schoolOur Lady of Lourdes Elementary School
SuperintendentMoira Coomes
PresidentFr. George Winzenburg, S.J.
Principal (HS)Clare Huerter
Principal (ES)Roberta BIzardie
ChaplainFr. Peter Klink, SJ
Color(s)Blue and White         
Athletics conferenceSDHSAA
Team nameCrusaders
AccreditationNCA [1]
School fees$100/yr. or $200/ family
AthleticsDirector, Christian McGhee

Red Cloud Indian School is a private, Roman Catholic, K–12 school in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rapid City and serves Oglala Lakota Native American children on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.


The school was founded in 1888 as Holy Rosary Mission.[2] The Jesuits and Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity founded the institution at the request of Chief Red Cloud. Once the school had been approved, the construction of the main mission building began. All of the bricks for the building were made from local clay and lime on the grounds of what is today Red Cloud Indian School's Pine Ridge campus. It was the only two-story building in the area.[3] The four-school, K-12 school system was renamed Red Cloud in 1969.[3]

The student population quickly grew to more than 100 students. Students were divided into three classes: one for all younger students and separate classes for older girls and older boys. The older students spent half their day learning reading, writing, and arithmetic and the other half performing domestic duties to keep the mission running. The young women often worked in the kitchen and laundry rooms, while the young men spent their time in the wood and metal shops, or farming the land.[3]

Red Cloud High School opened in 1937. Five students graduated from the school in 1942, with Oryal Cuny as the salutatorian and Lyle Clifford as the valedictorian. Classes became integrated and the boarding parts of the school were closed. The farms associated with the school were converted to various uses like football fields, field houses, and parking lots. As enrollment grew, a second kindergarten through eighth grade campus, Our Lady of Lourdes, was opened in Porcupine, about 30 minutes from the Pine Ridge campus.[3]

In 1969, Holy Rosary Mission was officially renamed Red Cloud Indian School, both as a token of respect for the man whose work had made the school possible and as part of a program of re-identification to emphasize its native-American roots over cultural imperialism, and the lasting bond between groups from two separate cultures who wanted to enhance the best parts of both worlds to serve the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.[3]

Present day[edit]

- Red Cloud High School boasts 64 Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients, the highest per capita in the country.[4]

- Seniors have been awarded full tuition with room and board at Dartmouth College, Stanford University, Duke University, Marquette University, and Creighton University, among many others.[5]

- All graduates have plans to further their education and training, attending more than 25 colleges today, like Princeton, Arizona State, New Mexico, and Black Hills State.[5]

- Students intern at nationally recognized organizations including the Institute of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.[6][5]

- All of high school students volunteer on the reservation. Some travel as far as Washington DC to give back to other communities.[5]

- The Heritage Center is home to 10,000 pieces of the Native American contemporary and historical Lakota art, which has all been digitally cataloged.[5]

- The Red Cloud Indian Art Show welcomes nearly 200 artists, both seasoned professionals and emerging young artists, to showcase their work each year.[5]

- Outreach programs confront addictions like alcohol and drugs head-on, and offer health and wellness initiatives to families who may not have access to these programs otherwise.[5]

- More than 800 families are served through pastoral ministry programs in the various church communities.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wichahpi. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  2. ^ Marquette University. "Holy Rosary Mission/Red Cloud Indian School, Notable events and leaders". Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e Wichahpi. "Red Cloud History". Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  4. ^ "On the Pine Ridge Reservation, Five Red Cloud Indian School Students Earn the Gates Millennium Scholarship - Red Cloud Indian School". Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Wichahpi. "Our Story". Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  6. ^ "Breaking Barriers in Science - Red Cloud Indian School". Retrieved 2017-10-24.

External links[edit]