st. Bonaventure school

St. Bonaventure Indian School is a private, Catholic school located at the southeastern edge of the Navajo Nation in Thoreau, New Mexico. The school is one of the ministries of St. Bonaventure Indian Mission which serves the Diné of the area.

The school enrolls approximately 200+ students annually from preschool through grade eight, more than 90 percent of whom live at, near or below the poverty level.

St. Bonaventure Indian School is tuition-free as are the nutritious breakfast and lunch provided daily to all students. Mission school buses transport the children to and from school each day. The board and staff of St. Bonaventure School are firmly committed to the ideal that education is the surest path out of poverty.

The beautiful Navajo culture and heritage invites us to live in balance with nature, our surroundings and all of Mother Nature’s inhabitants. The modern world of the 21st Century requires the students to become capable, life-long learners with extensive life skills. By respecting both Navajo and modern ways, educators in this Christ-centered environment bring the lessons of each world to the Navajo students for success in both.

As part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, St. Bonaventure Indian School is accredited by the North Central Accreditation Agency and managed by Sr. Natalie Bussiere, SND, who served as principal from 1992-2012.

Nutrition and Wellness Policy

Civil Rights Statement

NOTE: If you have any questions or concerns please contact the School Food Authority: Tracie Lee, Principal, or Celena Kahn-Hunter, Food Service Supervisor, at  505-862-7465, or by mail at St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School, PO Box 610, Thoreau, NM, 87323.



The St. Bonaventure Indian Mission preschool opens.


The elementary school is accredited.


St Bonaventure expands to include preschool through grade 12.


The high school is accredited.


Sr. Natalie Bussiere comes on board as principal.


A new campus building was dedicated to house an expanded library and the addition of a computer laboratory.


Thanks to generous donors, a new dining hall and kitchen facilities were constructed and opened, and the former dining hall was converted into a gymnasium.


The Board of Trustees made the difficult decision to scale the high school academic program back and continue instruction in preschool through grade 8. Because of historically high drop out rates among Diné children attending public school — 40 percent before the 8th grade — the Board of Trustees concurrently created a scholarship program for 8th grade graduates of St. Bonaventure to attend Gallup Catholic High School.


Construction begins on a new preschool.


Three new classroom buildings were added to house grades 2, 3 and 4, replacing older, unsafe structures.


All of our 8th-grade graduates went on to enroll in local high schools.


The St. Bonaventure Indian School campus occupies more than four acres. Thirteen modular buildings house classrooms, chapel, administrative offices, gymnasium, cafeteria, library and computer lab.

Our library is staffed by a full-time librarian. With a capacity of more than 14,000 volumes, the library’s reference collection of hardbound fiction and nonfiction and material via the World Wide Web is constantly being updated and expanded.

The computer laboratory has 25 student workstations and current computer software and internet connections are in use by both teachers and students. In addition, each classroom has four or five computer stations with printer access. The lab is staffed by a full-time computer teacher and a trained computer technician maintains the computers throughout the school.

The Mission food staff prepares and serves more than 3,800 meals (breakfast and lunch) each week for the students and support staff.

When the old Mission Hall was converted into a gymnasium, students gained access to physical education and health classes for the entire school year since classes can be held indoors, out of the New Mexico cold and high winds.


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