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Only a very select and rare few can be called a Flandreau Indian

Dear Editor,

Either you attended, graduated or know someone from Flandreau Indian School (FIS) in Flandreau, SD. You, your aunt, uncle, sister, brother, mom, dad or grandparents were a Flandreau Indian. And, of course, you know Mr. Groos, Ron Goodeagle or one of the Renvilles. And, you have proudly worn the scarlet and blue. Does anyone remember the food? I can only think of the wojopi (spelling may be off).
FIS is an all-Native boarding high school with Sioux, Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Chippewa, Oneida, Blackfoot, and Kickapoo students coming from Arizona, South and North Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, Iowa, Nebraska and many other surrounding tribes. FIS has been in existence as a boarding school since 1893 (1893 - Flandreau Indian Boarding School opens as "Riggs Institute." The first boarding school in the United States. *from "An Historical Building Study of Ten Buildings at the FIS" article by Carol Mashek - Historical Research Services.)

This March marked the 115th birthday of FIS.
Only a very select and rare few can be called a Flandreau Indian. Just to mention FIS to certain individuals bring up many memories of honor dorm, canteen, IRG outings, Major and Minors. I could say, "I was on Honor Dorm and was able to go to the dance at the canteen on Friday or to Sioux Falls on an IRG outing, but now I have a Major and I'm stuck stripping and waxing the dorm halls." Remember that? I won't even mention holding up the walls.
On December 6, 2007, I received an e-mail from Keith Smith, a fellow classmate and graduate of FIS - Class of '85 - recently. Here is what it said:
Comments/Questions/Concerns: Please forward this info to Yvette McGeshick. This is Keith, FIS Class of '85 and I'm in the process of setting a forum for some alumni to go back to FIS to share our stories of life and careers to the graduating class of '08. I was wondering if you would be interested in being on this panel. If so, contact me and we can go over some details and contact information so I can keep you posted on this project. Hope all is well and I that I hear from you soon. Talk to you soon, Keith.

 
I think I had an anxiety attack. I kept thinking about the people I used to know. My mind was flooded with ideas, memories, songs (who was that that used to blast "Stairway to Heaven" out of their dorm room window on those warm, sunny days?), teacher's advice, and pictures of what the place would look like after twenty some years. I sent Keith a reply telling him I would love to be on the forum.
 
Since then Keith has given me the go ahead with the following info.
Keith ran into Ron Goodeagle at the 2007 Oneida Powwow during the fourth of July weekend. Goodeagle had a booth with the intent to recruit future FIS students. It was then the idea to form an alumni drum came to light. Keith was able to form two drums since. One of the drums will be hosting the Senior Honoring Powwow on Saturday, May 3, 2008. The forum for the seniors will be held on Friday, May 2, 2008.
Keith said he talked to alumni from '85 - Chuck Jacobs, Darren Jacobs, Dave Kelly, and Julie Beaulieu. All agreed; it would be beneficial to speak to the graduating class of '08 and give them a heads up on what to expect after FIS life. As any boarding-school student can relate - a well structured, yet independent, boarding school life can leave you with little knowledge or real insight to "living on the outside."
 
"We've been there. We know what life is like at FIS. We also know what life was like after we graduated. It would be helpful to give the students some information they can use when they are heading into their adult life," said Smith.
As of April 11, 2008, a block of rooms have been set up at the Royal River Casino and Hotel, 607 S. Veterans Street, Flandreau, SD 57028. Call Sara Treetop at 1-800-833-8666 and mention the FIS Senior Honoring Powwow. We are still looking for donations to suppport this event as well.

For more information on the events, please contact Keith Smith - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or dial 1-800-782-4560 ext. 8262 Monday - Friday during the day. Also contact Julie Beaulieu - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or dial 1-800-881-0712 ext 6090 Monday - Friday during the day.

You can also find information on the FIS Website: www.fis.bia.edu or try classmates.com.

Yvette McGeshick
Potawatomi Traveling Times
715-478-7473
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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