The Cooperative Extension Service’s programs and materials are available without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or handicap.
The same is true of Albina Shindelbower. From before the days when she and her husband went to work on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1931 until today, she cares about people.
“If I can help someone, I feel happier than if I think someone is in need and no one is helping,” the former school teacher said.
Her husband, Moses, started as a teacher and she as a cook in a rural Indian day school. Living and working in Oglala for seven years, they spent four years at Wanblee; four years at Porcupine and four years at Kyle. Albina began her teaching career in 1941 at Pain Sirte Day school at Porcupine.
When they were to be transferred to a North Dakota school, residents begged authorities to let them stay in Porcupine, which they did. They finished their career in education at Pine Ridge, then moved to Tripp to retire.
Whenever a supervisor came from a Washington office, they were directed to the Shindelbower’s school. The curriculum included regular classroom subjects plus canning, sewing, serving, weaving and livestock care.
Both of the Shindelbowers were 4-H leaders. Some classes were actually based on the 4-H project areas. With all the children in the same classroom, the little folks learned from the bigger ones and the learning multiplied. She was honored as an outstanding kindergarten teacher by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
While Moses worked with the men and boys, Albina went from home to home with her pressure canner and taught the women and girls to preserve garden produce.
The Indian families had community gardens near the school. At harvest time, they canned thousands of quarts of corn, beets and beans and the products were divided according to how many hours each family had worked in the garden. Then representatives of the government stopped the project because they were competing with private canning industry.
She helped start an Indian homemaker club at Oglala. Upon moving to Porcupine, she joined the Happy Hour Club.
Just as in their teaching, the Shindelbowers were strong, determined parents. The result was a closely knit family. Moses died last year after 52 years of married life. Both believed parents should be in charge and should train children to be responsible.
Education was a family affair with everyone obtaining a B.S. degree in education from Southern State Teachers College. Betty graduated first in 1951, Mose and Ethellyne received their degrees together the summer of 1953, Jim followed suit in 1954 and Albina was the last to graduate the summer of 1955.
Albina is now active in the Tripp Study Club, a group committed to study and community service. She has held all offices as a member of the Happy Hour and the Bar Nothing Extension homemakers club, is active in the Altar Society, and does volunteer work at the Good Samaritan Home.
Among her hobbies are sewing, pottery, latchhook, gardening, embroidery, beadwork, quilting, crocheting, knitting and wood working.