Enviroment, Cultures, and Social Change on the Great Plains: A History of Crow Creek Tribal School

Robert W. Galler, Western Michigan University


This study explores the socio-cultural history of a school for Native American students on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation in central South Dakota. The case study places the school's history ( 1886-present) within the context of the historic interaction between environment. cultures, and social change on the Great Plains.

This work focuses on a Catholic school and the multi-dimensional students and staff who constitute its story. These individuals acted neither as perpetually passive students nor simplistically sinister administrators. Instead, this dissertation broadly explores the challenging nature of intercultural relations that led to the founding of the school and how tribal/Catholic interactions evolved within the campus environment. Study of the region's history, examination of federal and school administrative documents, and oral histories from students and staff reveal the complex history of education at a school known variously as Immaculate Conception Indian Mission, Stephan Indian Mission, and Crow Creek Tribal High School.