The parents of the Little Flower Parish on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana invited the De La Salle Christian Brothers to start a school in Browning. They saw this as one way to develop their children’s dignity, talents, and learning abilities while awakening a vision of hope for the community.
Surrounded by spectacular country, Browning is the capital of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, home to 12,000 Blackfeet. Domination by western society tore traditional Blackfeet culture from its roots. It was replaced by a community that contains all of the problems characteristic of poverty: chronic unemployment, welfare dependency, poor housing, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and alcohol and drug addiction.
Browning is located in one of the poorest counties in the US, with per capita income on the reservation less than $12,000. There are few facilities for youth, and little opportunity for them to engage in positive social activities. The reservation has one of the highest high school dropout rates of the reservations in Montana. Nevertheless, the Blackfeet are determined to create a better future, one that marries the best of both worlds, a future that can recreate the prosperity and harmony of their community in days gone by.
Mission and Philosophy
De La Salle Blackfeet School serves young people on the Blackfeet Reservation offering accessible Catholic education with extended school days, small class sizes, and a community focus.
In this work:
- We support our students in all they hold dear as Niitsiitapii.
- We see the face of Creator God in students and one another.
- We believe that each student can excel through varied ways of learning.
- We bridge the Blackfeet, Lasallian, and Catholic communities to unite a family of prayerful people.
- We educate our stakeholders to uphold justice, heal traumas of colonization, and build a future where all people are respected.
- We accompany our students in growing their power to shape our communities.
Philosophy and Approach to Education
De La Salle Blackfeet School is a Lasallian San Miguel school dedicated to creating an environment that recognizes the reality of God’s living presence and nurtures the dignity of each student within a supportive community of teachers, parents, and guardians. We aim to develop individuals who are:
- Strong in self esteem, cultural identity, competence and faith.
- Sensitive to the poor and to the sacredness of all life.
- Inspired to bring their full creativity to their personal lives
Our innovative, student centered curriculum uses culturally sensitive methods to nurture each student’s imagination and creativity while challenging them to develop critical thinking and academic skills in the areas of reading, writing, and math. We keep classes small: a maximum of 16 students. We provide an extended day from 8:15 AM – 4:30 PM with plenty of experiential enrichment, sports activities, and weekly Blackfeet/Pikuni Studies class imparts to students a strong sense of their cultural heritage.
San Miguel Schools
De La Salle Blackfeet School is part of a network of schools following the San Miguel Model of Education. There are 11 San Miguel schools throughout the country. DLSBS is the only Network school in a rural area, and the first serving primarily Native Americans.
All San Miguel schools are Catholic, serve predominantly at-risk populations, are not tuition driven, have extended school days, small class size, and extend support to students beyond graduation.
The Mission of the San Miguel Network of Schools is to enhance the viability and vitality of member schools and strengthen their capacity to deliver a uniquely effective, faith-based education to the middle school students in their care.
From the President
Welcome to the De La Salle Blackfeet School website. Established in 2001 by the Midwest District of the Christian Brothers, DLSBS stands alone in many regards. Uniquely among the Lasallian Schools, it serves a remote region on an Indian Reservation bordered by Canada to the north and Glacier National Park to the west. Furthermore, it is the only San Miguel school providing quality Catholic educational advantages to the economically disadvantaged in a rural setting. To strengthen its Catholic identity, the school forges a supportive relationship with the Diocese of Helena along with the Christian Brothers. De La Salle Blackfeet has the privilege of being the only Catholic School on an Indian Reservation in this Western Montana diocese.
As a school surrounded by the above characteristics, De La Salle Blackfeet depends on the generosity of so many individuals. Since the beginning, the school has been heavily staffed by volunteers coming from virtually every region of the country as demonstrated by Jeb Myers. He was the first principal who served for five years with other members of his family. With a sprinkling of paid employees, the school staff has produced almost one hundred alumni. Nearly all have graduated from high school and many are continuing professional studies.
As is true of other San Miguel Schools, parents contribute toward their children’s education. Since seventy percent of our children are raised by adults other than their parents, it might be difficult to assume responsibility for our minimal tuition. For those who cannot, we ask them to provide some form of service to the school. This collaborative effort is essential for the education of this Pikuni generation. (Pikuni is how the Blackfeet call themselves.)
Finally, we depend on people like you to provide the bulk of the financial obligations to operate this rare educational opportunity for the children entrusted to our care. You, and the foundations that you represent or with whom you partner, have assured our success in the past and can continue to provide necessary support well into the future. Enjoy the information provided on this web site. I ask you to continue following your heart and give of your resources so that, together, we can prepare children for their future and ours.
Brother Dale J. Mooney
Saint Miguel Febres Cordero
Patron Saint of Miguel Schools
Born in 1854 to a family of prominence in Ecuadorian politics, Miguel was crippled from birth and had to overcome family opposition to realize his vocation to be a lay religious. He was the first native of Ecuador to be received into the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. A gifted teacher, he was not quite 20 years old when he published the first of his many books. Teaching remained his first priority. Transferred to the junior novitiate at Premia del Mar in Spain during a revolutionary outbreak in 1909, he supervised a dramatic evacuation of his young charges to the safety of Barcelona across the bay. Shortly after they were able to return, he contracted pneumonia and died.
Died February 9, 1910
Beatified October 30, 1977
Canonized October 21, 1984