Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 18, 2022

Catholic Church Reaps Millions from Genocide of Native Children

Historic photo of St. Joseph's Indian School.

Native Children: Victims of fundraising and abuse by the Catholic Church

Brenda Norrell
Cenosred News
August 18, 2022

St Joseph's Indian School used young Lakota children in a television fundraising commercial today. It was broadcast on the Food Network.

Several Native children were used in the commercial for the school, operated by the Catholic Church in Chamberlain, South Dakota, with a history of horrific abuse.

Nick Estes, Lower Brule, describes the sexual abuse and beatings of Lakota who attended the school. It led to suicides.

Estes said the pedophiles and rapists at the school terrorized the children and girls who were impregnated by the priests.

"For my relative (who wishes to remain anonymous) the death and grief came after he left St Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota, which he attended from 1968 to 1977."

"A lot of people ended up killing themselves, he says of friends and classmates who attended the Catholic-run school," Estes writes in The Guardian.

"My uncle, also a survivor of St Joseph’s, took his own life at the age of 23 in 1987, when I was just two."

"My relative calls St Joseph’s 'a smorgasbord' for pedophiles and rapists who preyed on and terrorized Native children. He describes beatings and nights of terror as priests took their pick of the children as they slept.

"The abuse was worse for the girls, who were sometimes impregnated by their rapists, he tells me. His experience was not unique and has been documented elsewhere by journalists and scholars."

Earlier, CNN said St Joseph used a fictitious student in need. The school raised $50 million in one year.

"The story, begging for help, is part of a massive national marketing campaign involving 30 million pieces of mail a year. And it’s a successful one, raising more than $50 million last year," CNN reported.

"According to its own financial statement for 2013, St. Joseph’s has abundant assets. Cash on hand was listed at more than $122 million in June 2013, an increase of more than $18.5 million over the previous year."

The school is located near Crow Creek, Lower Brule and Cheyenne River Nations.

Oglala Lakota Nation halts children's photos for poverty porn for churches

Meanwhile, in Pine Ridge, the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota passed an ordinance in July restricting the use of Lakota children's photos for fundraising. Lakota youths told the Council they did not want to be used as "poverty porn" for church fundraising.

Church reaped millions from poverty porn scam of Northern Cheyenne children

Another boarding school, St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana, was successfully sued for using Native children as "poverty porn," and funneling millions of dollars to the Catholic Church.

The church school's PR campaign used photos of Northern Cheyenne children who never received the funds. The children were left in need, while millions of dollars went to the church, the lawsuit said.

Catholic Church Confesses to Genocide of Native Children in Canada

The Catholic Church confessed to the crime of genocide of Native children in residential schools.

The Pope confirmed to reporters that the Catholic Church is responsible for genocide. The confession came after the Pope toured Native communities in Canada in July.

Survivors describe the horror of rape, torture in electric chairs, beatings, and witnessing children murdered by Priests. 

Thousands of Native children died from starvation, medical experiments, abuse and homicide. They died far from home.

The search for unmarked graves of the children continues.

Read articles:

Nick Estes: My Relatives Attended St. Joseph's, it was a place of horrors
The Guardian

St Joseph's Indian School films commercial

CNN: Investigation of St. Joseph's fictitious boy in fundraising

Lakota Youths say 'No' to being used as poverty porn in church fundraising

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