St. Joseph’s Indian School Just Sent Me Shitloads of Gifts
Earlier this week I checked my mail to see if the disc for the newest season of [Hip Show for Hip People] had arrived from Netflix. Spoiler alert, it did not, but I still had mail nonetheless in the form of a suspiciously thick padded envelope. At first I thought some dang dirty trolls decided to send me Pampers samples again but when I looked at the mailer and saw it was branded with American Indian imagery my thoughts immediately shifted from “regular diapers” to “tee-pees for your pee-pees”. As it turns out someone managed to get a hold of my personal information and sold it to someone else and I was now receiving IRL spam because of it… so I had to find the nearest calendar to make sure I didn’t get sent back in time to the nineties and be forced to find a way back.
The last time that happened I… well, let’s just say there’s a reason why MC Hammer suspiciously spent all of his money.
Wait a second does that say “3 FREE GIFTS” with a “4” written next to it as if the “3” were a completely unintentional mistake at the St. Joseph’s Indian Free Gifts Factory? Holy shit. It does.
WELL SHIT THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING.
I tore this bad boy open and they must have really screwed the pooch at the Wannamakeanike tribe homeland because I got not 3, not 4, but 8 goddamn prizes (of varying quality) and I love prizes.
In the lore of Lakota Indians the notepad is a very sacred symbol. It is said that when the tribal chief would perform his rituals and sacrifices that he would frequently need to recollect his thoughts and required the assistance of a tablet to keep track of the steps of the rites. “Notepad” comes to us from the Indian words natto (meaning “to write down”) and pa (meaning “what the fuck was I just talking about”). That’s why when the Wannamakeanike tribe sent me two goddamn notepads I knew they were being serious. There’s enough pages represented between the two of these things for me to perform at least 120 sacrifices.
The notepads themselves are rather mundane as seen in the picture. One is bigger than the other and they both feature clashing fall-themed imagery. Seriously, nothing on either one compliments the other; they don’t even use the same fucking shades of orange. Both of them say “a note for you” which is a retarded sentiment because who else would it be for? One of them has it in a generic serif font and the other looks like what would happen if Curlz MT went into rehab. Our favorite picture of the little Indian boy shows up on the larger notepad but the picture is so blurry and the contrast too low that I seriously thought it was some kind of fox with a birth defect until I realized “oh it’s just little Mountain Dew Drinker giving us a bewildered expression while holding his feathers”.
That’s what I’m naming that kid, by the way. Mountain Dew Drinker.
Also, the cardboard backs of the notepads feature painfully generic Indian trivia such as some bullshit about eagle feathers and the fact that “pemmican” is a brand of beef jerky or something. Between the time I took that picture to when I started writing this article I managed to lose the back of the larger one. Surely it will become the lost tome of Lakota wisdom someday and will be discovered by archaeologists in the year 8000 so they may finally understand what mail fraud is.
Whenever an Indian mysteriously leaves you a calendar that’s bad news. Remember what happened when the Mayans left us their calendar? We’re still shitting our pants over it thinking the world is going to get sucked into a vortex to Hell or whatever it is that’s supposed to happen when their calendar rolls over. It’ll be like Y2K except instead of computers reaching “00” it’s just the opposite: a rock hitting “00”. I have learned that as a species mankind only operates in extremes. There is no middle ground.
This calendar actually includes December 22 – 31 so it looks like we’re in the clear (until 2013). I’m more willing to take advice from a shady charity sending me random shit in the mail than I am a formerly established and presently lost civilization that had a firm grasp on astrology. The Mayans never sent me any fucking notepads in the mail. Assholes.
This calendar is also the first of many instances you’ll see of St. Joseph’s Indian School & Casino putting my name on fucking everything. I assume it’s in case anybody steals this calendar and I later see it in their house so I can go “hey, you’re not ‘Roastmaster’, give me my fucking calendar back!” Also the calendar is approximately half the size of a sheet of printer paper. It’s not big enough to write anything on and it’s too big to fit anywhere convenient as a reference. It also now has a water ring on it from me inadvertently using it as a coaster.
The reverse of this thing is solid blue and has the phrase “WAKAN TANKA KICI UN” emblazoned on its center. I’m not sure what that means, but judging by the surrounding photographs my best guess is that it roughly translates to “seven pictures of kids wearing racist depictions of Indian garb that we stole from the Facebook pages of a high school drama club”.
Whether you’re 7 or 77 a sheet of stickers means only one thing: badass. Two sheets of stickers, though? Stop the fucking ride for a second, I think I’m going to have a stroke here.
These stickers are where it gets weird, though, assuming some mismatched notepads and a calendar loaded with pictures of children who may or may not be getting raped by St. Joseph’s staff this very moment (I bet you thought I was kidding) weren’t weird enough. Firstly I have no idea what I am going to do with a double-sided sheet of return address labels bearing my legal name and retarded iconography of Mountain Dew Drinker. Secondly I will apply that exact same logic to a sheet of generic inspirational stickers with sentiments ranging from “a gift for you” and “love you” to “missing you” and “take time to dream”. Seriously what the hell; there’s a sticker for every single possible scenario and all of them have tacky Indian imagery that I swear they just Photoshopped the iStockphoto.com watermark off of.
Now is as good of a time as any to bring up a sample of Lakota jargon these people really fucking love: pilamaya. It supposedly means “thank you”, as in “thank you in advance because we know you’re totally going to pay us back for all of this cool shit we’ve sent you”. Both sheets of stickers are adorned with the “pilamaya” phrase as well as the explanation “thank you for your help”. As if. Despite their ill-advised and preemptive gratitude the most confounding thing on these sticker sheets is the phrase appearing underneath both warm (fake) sentiments of thanks: “The enclosed stickers are a gift to you, and I’m sorry I am unable to fulfill additional requests.”
Who’s sorry? You better be apologizing for the fact that your custom stickers suck shit through a straw instead of not giving me enough of said stickers. For fuck’s sake, half a sheet of these tacky things is more than enough. I don’t think I have enough handwritten letters to people I hate to use up all of these address labels, and as far as getting extensions on late bill payments by posing as a senile old woman I think I still have two dozen too many sunflowers and buffalo. What the fuck am I going to do with all of these goddamn stickers? Write everyone from my high school graduating class a fucking letter?
Fuck those people.
Here’s a thought, what’s the best gift you can give someone when you know nothing about them? Gift certificates in the most random fucking denominations possible, but ones that nonetheless add up to $35. That’s right, three gift vouchers. One valued at $8 for meals, another $12 for beds and linens, and $15 for clothing. I don’t know about you but to me that sounds like a lower class Wal-Mart poverty shopping spree with my name written all over it.
Sure, the “gift vouchers” are made out to “A Lakota Child” and the “From” section has my name in a pseudo-handwritten font but who’s to say I’m not “A Lakota Child”? Maybe that’s a pseudonym. Like Roastmaster. I don’t really care what you have to say about the ethics of taking money from needy kids but to me this is lunch at Subway, a new pillow, and a new T-shirt with some tacky Wal-Mart humor on it all on someone else’s dime. Wal-Mart honors competitors coupons, so that means they have to honor $35 in Lakota Fun Bucks.
Turns out they don’t because I asked and then was promptly asked to leave the store.
The side of the coupons say “wopila tanka” which I’m told means “many thanks”. That makes some sense considering “pilamaya” means “thank you”, so we can infer that “pila” means “thank” and the prefix “wo-” denotes something plural and “tanka” therefore means “many”. I’m hitting you with this grammar quasi lesson because the back of that fucking calendar says “wakan tanka kici un” which actually does have a translation: “may God bless”. Right. “Tanka” shows up in both of these, and they apparently mean different shit. I am almost certain these dickheads are just plugging random fucking things into an online Dungeons & Dragons language translator because this spam’s intended audience doesn’t know any better.
The best part about these vouchers, save for the fact that they’re printed in Reader’s Digest-sized font, is that the entire backside literally just says “PILAMAYA – THANK YOU!!” on every single voucher. They’re also separately detachable because you’re supposed to put each one back in the return envelope (of which these assholes didn’t prepay the postage even though they sent me fifty bucks worth of fucking return address labels) so they can throw them away at the Indian school or something. Only idiots would assume these things have actual cash value.
And then they’d take them to Wal-Mart.
You know what’s great about charities involving kids? When those kids send you those letters talking about how great their 11 cents a day rice tastes. Wanna know how to make those letters even better? Download some off-beat kids’ handwriting font, type up a painfully generic bippity-boppity bullshit letter, stick a stock headshot of a kid on there that looks like it was Xeroxed from a Xerox of another Xerox made from a missing child report that was faxed somewhere, throw on some “hand drawn” hearts for good measure, and finally top if off by making the “printed date” September 11th. No, I’m not shitting you; this letter was “printed” on “Sept11”.
It’s a fake letter from a fake kid. To you this probably isn’t a gift or a prize, but fuck you for trying to tell me otherwise. This is just as much of a prize as the notepads on sheer comedy value alone.
The kid’s name is Aurora and in her letter she talks about how people cannot believe what she’s been through in her “life” at the reservation. She says that people “drink too much and don’t treat each other with respect”.
Whoa whoa whoa wait, where’s my hypothetical money going again? You’re just drinking it up? Are you shitting me? Why don’t we just cut out the middle man, Aurora? How about instead of sending back your stupid goddamn gift vouchers I just bribe the guy driving the Budweiser truck with a $50 bill and tell him to deliver the beer straight to the reservation instead? I’ll just put you on notice right now, I’m also going to tell him it’s a labor camp where children are sold as sex slaves so you better make with your half of the bargain if you want unlimited firewater, capish?
This next prize is kind of a bummer. It’s a serious letter from Friar Stephen Huffstetter (hereafter “Friar Steve”, because that’s how he signs his fucking name). I can tell it’s a serious letter because it’s not written in some crazy typeface from ZillionsOfFreeFonts4U.net.
Friar Steve proceeds to vomit pathetically about the various Lakota kids happily dreaming away in their beds apparently failing to see the glaring flaw in his childcare practices if the kids are happier when they are asleep than awake. For what it’s worth he executes the appeal for cash with the eloquent bullshitting skills of a high school sophomore half-assing a paper on the American Revolution. I give him a 4/10.
He kinda fucks with his credibility a bit, however, by starting the letter with “You could be a dreamcatcher” and ending it with “Will you please become a dreamcatcher”. Yeah, hold that thought Friar Steve; I’m just getting up to go glue a bunch of beads and feathers onto myself and get tangled up in a spider web. Fucking moron.
Friar Steve talks a lot about dreamcatchers, though I’m fairly certain he’s only getting his facts from what’s said on Wikipedia because the wording of the Wiki article and the vocabulary of the letter seem to corroborate one another pretty well. Either Friar Steve is the go-to guy for dreamcatchers and the Council of Aspergian Wikipedia Editors consulted him for the article’s contents or someone’s just a big fan of CTRL+C and CTRL+V with minor alterations. I’m not sure who to believe. Friar Steve really tried hard making his “signature” look like he actually hand-signed it with a ballpoint pen. Or he got a six-year-old still learning cursive writing to do it for him. One or the other.
I love this hollow award. It’s an award for my alleged “generosity to the Lakota children whose lives will be happier and futures will be brighter”. Keyword: alleged. The award is a goofy certificate that I can hang anywhere and brag to houseguests about how I helped save some kid named Aurora’s life by sending her beer and child predators; the certificate doesn’t define “what” the generosity was in regards to. Hell, maybe I sent them smallpox blankets. That seems to be the truly sincere American way to help out Indians in their time of need.
This “award” is 7″ x 8.5″, the same size as that retarded calendar. Most people who get a certificate of accomplishment for something generally have it framed; go to any doctor, teacher, dentist, or politician’s office and they’ll have their degrees, awards, and honors neatly framed and presented for the world to see. One thing you’ll never see on their trophy wall, however, is an awkwardly sized award proclaiming how fucking loose they are with their cash. If this certificate graces any wall of your house or office for any reason that isn’t the least bit ironic even by the longest stretch of the term then you deserve to have your identity stolen and your dog (because I’m assuming you have one if you’re this stupid) raped by furries.
Also nobody fucking sells frames that are 7″ x 8.5″, not even matted ones. If you wanted to hang this up with more grace than what a staple gun has to offer you’d have to have a frame made specifically in these dimensions. If you have the money for frivolous custom framing jobs for an award from a fake charity then you should be giving your money to causes that don’t do shit like selling your personal information to other advertisers (again, I bet you thought I was kidding). The only thing this award symbolizes is the fact that you’ll give money to anything because you suffer from white collar guilt.
For all this talk of dreamcatchers and whatnot imagine my surprise when I reached into the envelope and pulled out an entire fucking dreamcatcher.
Actually I guess I was more stunned by the actual item than the fact that they were continuing forward with this stupid ass “dreamcatcher” motif.
And we’ve come full circle; a circle that’s wrapped with cheap string and adorned with gaudy feathers, cheap plastic beads, and windchimes tied on with what appears to be fishing line because as we all know putting windchimes on something that hangs flat against the wall is a genius idea. That’s like castling in chess on your fourth move. Oh I’m sorry, you assume that because all of my pictures are taken on a Crossfire board that I know nothing about chess. Fuck you.
I don’t know what in the hell to say about this thing. This is easily both the tackiest and greatest thing a charity has ever thrown into the trash by proxy. Think about how much it would realistically cost to have thousands of these things made and compare that to how many people actually send money to St. Joseph’s Indian School. Think about it, the cost may not be that much on an individual basis but even the cheapest of dreamcatchers will add up quickly when you multiply that by a few thousand mailers. Hey, Friar Steve, why don’t you fucking buy some butter to put on the kids’ rice instead of sending out a million reasons why Native American heritage has been devalued in this country? Do your goddamn job.
Even better, how about you only send dreamcatchers to people who actually donate? This is a rhetorical question but I’m about to answer it in a second anyways.
I’m really handing it over to St. Joseph’s Indian School pretty heavily but that’s because these people are deserving of nothing but unrefined contempt for their shady “business practices” and questionable ethics. It takes some huge balls to send out guilt mail, balls that I’m sure were probably paid for with the money people sent in with honest intentions, even if said donators were tricked, manipulated, or flat out guilted into doing so by receiving a shitload of gifts. (Fun fact: “Guilt mail” is illegal in the United Kingdom.)
This charity’s target demographic, as you might have guessed, are elderly people. Wealthy, retired, and admittedly stupid/oblivious elderly people. People who want to do something with their nest egg to feel like they’re giving back to the world after having worked so hard through their entire lives. Take a look at what was included in this mailer:
- Notepads: Old folks forget shit all the time. My grandmother had an entire spiral notebook of reminders.
- Calendar: Okay, you got me on this one. Count the days until you die? I don’t know.
- Return labels: Who still sends traditional letters in the mail? Your grandmother.
- Vouchers: They give a sense of duty when they’re put in the donation envelope, a feeling retirees lack.
- Kid’s letter: It’s an emotional appeal that’ll work on the older generation because…
- Friar’s letter: …the Friar’s letter supports and validates the pleas of the kid’s letter.
- Certificate: It’s a symbol of your duty and ties back into retirees feeling left out and worthless.
- Dreamcatcher: 100% guilt appeal. Through and through, see the below picture:
The donation ticket is the last thing you see when you’re making the decision to give away your money, and look at that title. “Dreams of Hope for the Children.” Wow. Dreams and hope for children? Fuck, I’m in my 20’s but sign me up for that! That title is so trite and meaningless it could be anything; it is only there for guilt appeal. Of course you want kids to have hope and dreams. They’re fucking kids. You’re not supposed to be crushingly depressed and hating life until you’re at least however old Dracophile is this year.
So off to the left under that you have the generic empty response bubbles for the gift vouchers attached underneath the ticket. When you list them that way of course people are going to go for the $35 option. Who the fuck would look at that and say “well kid I’ll give you a taco and and a beanbag chair but as far as clothes go psssshhht… you’re going naked buddy, tribal style”.
But even if you don’t have $35 to spare look off to the right. There’s a box acknowledging the fact that you’re unable to properly contribute at this time but you want to reimburse Friar Steve for his stupid dreamcatcher at the cost of $5. I guess now is as good of a time as any to point out that the dreamcatchers were made in fucking China. Five bucks? No way, Stevey. Here’s fifty cents. Now shut the fuck up and get out of my face.
It gets worse when you flip the donation ticket over. Not only is there a little checkbox to show Friar Steve exactly what not to pray for in your name but there’s a box where you can willingly hand over your credit card information to a shady “charity” that just sent you a bunch of worthless tat completely unannounced. On top of that you can give these jerkoffs permission to charge your card on a monthly basis and if that’s not alarming enough might I point your attention to the highlighted line annotated with “HOLY SHIT”?
“I am considering St. Joseph’s in my will.” Do not, and may I repeat do-fucking-not say that line aloud or John Redcorn will materialize in your house and kick you square in the dick.
Here’s my final words on this charity. The Better Business Bureau has a list of 20 “standards” that they judge charities on. Friar Steve has managed to fuck up six of them. That’s teetering pretty damn close to half. In their defense a lot of them come down to simple things like missing paperwork and poor syntax but the one I’d like to draw your attention to is Standard 8, the BBB standard that details a certain percentage of a charity’s received donations must be spent on the actual causes outlined in their literature. Friar Steve sang his sorrow song to the tune of fifty-two million fucking dollars in 2010. That number alone makes me want to vomit Exorcist style while liquefied crap simultaneously fires out of my ass like a Super Soaker, but here’s the kicker: half of it was spent on business expenses.
They spent $26,000,000.00 on fucking return address labels in 2010.
PS: I would like to thank the blog Something Better To Do for their help with the preliminary research for the charity in this article.