On 28 January 1886, Crow Creek leaders sent a petition with over one hundred signatures to the Office of Indian Affairs affirming their interest in a Catholic mission school. Within the year, the first buildings were in place for an educational institution that served as a Catholic school for nearly one hundred years and currently exists as a tribal school. The question is how and why did this institution come into existence? This essay argues that late nineteenth-century Lower Yanktonai leaders followed tribal tradition in establishing alliances to promote the best interests of their people. Rather than being mere recipients of a mission placed unilaterally on their land by zealous missionaries, Lower Yanktonais found common cause with Catholic leaders to establish a local mission school to educate their children.

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