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Lakota children walk for sobriety, safety

St. Joseph's students participate in the Sobriety Walk
All students in grades 1-12 participated in the Sobriety Walk.
“Raise your hand if you’ve got friends.”

Investigator Wells watched as every hand in the room went up.

“Now, keep your hand up if you don’t want your friends to get hurt.”

Each year, St. Joseph’s Indian School holds sobriety celebrations to help students learn to say NO to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, and find healthy alternatives to substance abuse. This year, the walk was followed by a discussion about how drug and alcohol use contribute to physical and sexual violence.

After touching on definitions of words like assault, coercion, consent, force and victimization, Investigator Joseph Wells visited with St. Joseph’s students about peer pressure, communication and steps students can take to keep themselves and their friends safe.

St. Joseph's students walk together
Led by the red flag, students in first, second and third grades walked together.
“There is such a thing as good peer pressure,” said Wells. “Use the buddy system and always remember to communicate! Let your family know what time you’ll be home and stick to it. Get your friends to do the same and help them stick to it.”

Wells was joined by Sage Estes, a Teen and Youth Advocate for Project SAFE located on the Crow Creek Reservation in Fort Thompson, South Dakota.

“Drug and alcohol use really escalate the dangers of physical and sexual assault,” said Chris, St. Joseph’s Prevention Coordinator. “Helping students recognize these dangers and teaching them to say NO to drugs and alcohol will help Native American youth make better choices and get out of dangerous situations before it’s too late.”
“Follow the Tradition and Not the Addiction.”
“Follow the Tradition and Not the Addiction”. Kianna's winning design encouraged kids to walk for sobriety and safety.
Led by St. Joseph’s Sobriety Banner and flags, students, staff, families and friends walked from St. Joseph’s campus to downtown Chamberlain. They split into four groups, which represented each of the Four Directions.

Participants proudly donned T-shirts designed by Kianna, a ninth-grade student.


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