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Message from Father Hatcher

Dear Friend of St. Francis Mission Among the Lakota:

Bringing hope to the people of Rosebud Reservation—a people on the “outskirts” of both the Catholic Church and American society—is the goal of the St. Francis Mission Jesuit and Lakota staff.

The Lakota will not become fully involved in the greater Church community until a genuine reflection of Lakota culture and religious heritage is present. The Mission staff are striving to help members of the Lakota community gain a realistic understanding that the Church cherishes Lakota culture. In this effort, we are raising up Lakota leadership within the Church community, inviting the Lakota to share their understanding of God, incorporating Lakota religious traditions into the liturgy, and encouraging traditional Lakota spirituality.

yesWhen I came to St. Francis Mission ten years ago, I saw the many problems the Lakota people face. Rather than be preoccupied with those, I chose to look for ways to help them create their own brighter future. The many programs presented to you in this brochure, all led by local Native people, show my effort to create local leadership. Over the past several years, these Native people have developed into competent leaders who need little direction from me. They are signs of hope to their brothers and sisters. They prove that it is possible to live a good, productive life and create a better future for others.

The Lakota leaders and their programs address the afflictions of those on the “outskirts” of our Church and society, offer many signs of hope, and help us see an even greater hope in the future:

  • To those caught up in the death spiral of alcohol and drug addiction, the recovery programs offer real hope that there is a way out.
  • To those oppressed by despair, the crisis hotline offers immediate hope that life can get better and ending one’s life is not a solution at all. Hotline staff provide ongoing counseling and support to hurting individuals.
  • To those in darkness, our five parishes and multiple religious education programs shine the light of Christ. Our message centers on the reality that Jesus is alive and cares for every individual, and He died on the cross not to lose people but to gather as many as possible to himself.
  • To those losing their cultural identity, the radio station, language program, and museum offer hope that the Lakota culture will be preserved and the Lakota language revived in the younger generations.

With this need to establish confident hope in the future among the people of Rosebud Reservation, we must also address the need for quality education of the Lakota children, so they may grow into sober, ethical, and educated men and women capable of leading their Church and their community into a bright future. To meet this educational need and turn back the forces that would destroy the faith and culture of the Lakota people, we are founding the Sapa Un Catholic Academy.

To lay a foundation for the Sapa Un Catholic Academy and foster the necessary support programs, I am launching the St. Francis Mission Foundation Triumph of Hope Campaign with the goal of raising $10 million in gifts. The fulfillment of this campaign will enable St. Francis Mission to offer immediate hope through the successful programs already in place, and hope for the future through education. I am inviting you to contribute to the establishment of this solid foundation for St. Francis Mission, as together we provide genuine hope for the people on the “outskirts.”

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The bottom line for me is this: without tapping the potential of the children,
there is no solution to the long-term problems of the reservation.
David Emery

David Emery, member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, is the president and CEO of Black Hills Corporation (parent company of Black Hills Power).

During the Great Depression, Mr. Emery’s grandfather, a blacksmith, moved from Rosebud Reservation to the Black Hills, and began working for Black Hills Power in the 1950’s. Mr. Emery’s father served in the armed forces but returned to the Black Hills to earn his degree in accounting. He too went to work for Black Hills Power.

Upon graduating from high school, David was anxious to see the world outside of South Dakota. He attended the University of Wyoming and became a petroleum engineer—working in several oil cities of Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas during the 1980’s. When he got married, he sought a more pleasant quality of life. The Black Hills appealed to David and his wife, Deanna. He was hired by Black Hills Corporation as a petroleum engineer. Soon David was promoted to drilling and engineering manager, then vice president, and finally president and CEO in 2004.

In his role as chair of St. Francis Mission Foundation, Mr. Emery is a strong proponent of Father Hatcher’s vision of a Mission that is for the Lakota, of the Lakota, and by the Lakota. Mr. Emery believes that the key to ultimate transformation of Rosebud Reservation is the education of its children through Sapa Un Catholic Academy.