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 Wopila Tanka Santa


December 16th was a big day for the students of North Elementary school located on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. The schools’ Holiday Christmas program was scheduled for the afternoon but not before the children had a very special visitor… Santa Claus and his Elves!

PWNA's SNRF Christmas program provides Santa Stops to select schools on Northern Plains reservations. This years Santa Stops were held at Pine Ridge Elementary and North Elementary. A total of 1000 stockings were provided for the students at the two elementary schools, each filled with love and several pounds of goodies!

The children were very excited to see Santa in their auditorium. One student shared her amazement with her friend “He’s Real!” she shouted. The room was filled with holiday music and the Christmas program decorations provided a festive backdrop for the gift giving. As children waiting in line to have their time with Santa, they were filled with questions for his Elves...

“Where is Mrs. Santa?”    “Baking cookies”
“Where is the Sleigh?”    “Getting shined up and ready for Christmas Day”
“Where are the Reindeer?”    “On the roof getting fed”

When the children finally got their time with Santa, he asked them one single question “Do you do anything special on Christmas Day?” Here are a few of their responses…

  • One young boy replied: “I’m going to do the chores for my parents and that will be their Christmas present from me”.

  • A young girl said “I’m going to bake cookies for my grandma because she isn’t feeling well”.

  • Another young boy answered “I’m going to let my little brother play with my toys—BUT only for Christmas”.

Santa was so happy to hear the children talk about how they would give to others on Christmas Day, he couldn’t stop smiling through his long white beard! The children were equally thankful for their time with Jolly Ole Saint Nick and one Lakota boy exclaimed “Wopila Tanka Santa” which translates to mean “the Greatest of Thanks or Many Thanks” in his Lakota language.


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A program of Partnership With Native Americans
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2022 Sioux Nation Relief Fund

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