St. Mary's Mission

Red Lake, MN

March 1st-March 7th, 2015

 St. Mary's Mission School

(Photo from


Red Lake Reservation

Red Lake Indian Reservation is home to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. It is one of two closed reservations in United States. Closed reservation means that only members of the tribes and their family is allowed to live on the reservation.

St. Mary's Mission School and Church

In 1888, two Benedictine Sisters from the monestary here in St. Joseph founded St. Mary's Mission School. Originally a boarding school for girls, St. Mary's was a resource for the natives on the reservation to learn English and expand in their faith.  Grounded in the Benedictine Values, St. Mary's Mission School today provides pre-school-sixth grade schooling enriched with faith and the Anishinaabe culture for any child living on the Red Lake Reservation.

This ABE provides students with the opportunity to experience the rich culture of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. Participants will learn that, in reality, they themselves are the immigrants of Minnesota. Some of the work students may experience would be helping out the teachers at the Mission School. Unemployment and poverty are also issues  significantly present in the lives of those living on the Red Lake Reservation. They will learn about how those issues affect the present and future of the community at Red Lake.

What to Expect:

  • Cost: Each ABE trip costs $375.
  • Travel: The group travels from campus to Red Lake by van.
  • Lodging: Participants will stay in the building that is next to the Mission School.
  • Food: Most meals will be provided by the Mission. Any meals not provided by the work sites will be supplemented with funds given to the Co-Leaders following the SNAP Challenge.
  • Work: Participants will work at St. Mary's Mission School and help out in the classrooms. The school also provides extra Math and Reading classes that students may be asked to help out with as well. Participants will also get to experience the day-to-day lifestyle of the community.
  • Extra Fun: Get to know the culture of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwea
  • Focus: Inter-cultural learning and understanding, community, education, learning, economic issues


Interested in applying to co-lead or be a participant on the St. Mary's Mission trip?  Apply here to co-lead or here to participate!

Please note: $100 due with acceptance of a position!

Any questions about this trip can be directed to Alternative Break Experiences at

ABE Spring Trip

 Packing List

Special Points of Interest:

  • Ojibwea/Annishinaabe Culture
  • Education
  • Cross-cultural learning
  • Poverty
  • Community
  • Local Issues
  • Future volunteer opportunity
  • Tribal Sovereignty