Tell School to Stop Sending Fundraising Letters from Fake Students


Target: Chairperson of St. Joseph’s Indian School, Mr. Doug Knust

Goal: Stop sending letters from fictitious students to raise money for St. Joseph’s Indian School

CNN recently uncovered a case where a Native American school was sending millions of fake letters to families around the nation soliciting them for money. The letters were written by fake students who had a history of abuse, illness, and other social ills. The school has admitted that this is a marketing ploy, but many citizens, including Native Americans, find the tactic to be offensive. Urge the Chairperson of St. Joseph’s Indian School to stop this practice, as it is misleading and fake.

The letters sent out by the school are filled with heart-wrenching anecdotes: “My dad drinks and beats me… my mom chose drugs over me… my home on the reservation isn’t a safe place for me to be.” The letter is signed by Josh Little Bear, but this boy does not exist. St. Joseph’s Indian School sends out 30 million pieces of mail each year, asking for a few dollars in donations. It is a massive national marketing campaign, and the school raised more than $50 million last year. The letter is a collection of various harsh realities that many Native American children face, but according to Native American leaders these claims are false and tarnish the community’s image.

The school sends out letters such as these three or four times a year. For Christmas the school uses another fake student by the name of Emily High Elk, who was feeling hopeless during the start of the school year, but now is eager to learn thanks to donations. While the donations made to the school have been used ethically, many citizens are uncomfortable with the manner in which the money is collected, especially the Native American community. With the Crow Creek Lakota Sioux Indian Reservation mere miles away from St. Joseph’s, the concern is very real. It paints the community in a harsh light and spreads lies. Sign this petition and urge Chairperson Dough Knust to stop this unethical practice.


Dear Chairperson Doug Knust,

CNN recently covered a story regarding fake letters being sent out to various Americans, soliciting them for money for St. Joseph’s Indian School. While the funds collected have been used for legitimate means, many are unsettled and upset with the manner in which you are collecting money. Child abuse and other social ills do exist, but it is not ethical to craft a fake character to garner the sympathy of Americans.

These letters are a great injustice to the Native American community, and those outside of the community are concerned as well. CNN has received complaints about these letters for two years and only recently investigated these claims. If you care for the children in your school you will stop this practice and look for more ethical means to raise funds.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Petar Milošević via Wikimedia Commons

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