Native American

Renee Gadoua 10-17-2012
Robert Bohrer / Shutterstock.com

Statue of Kateri Tekakwitha in front of Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Robert Bohrer / Shutterstock.com

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Sister Kateri Mitchell was born and raised on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation along the St. Lawrence River. She grew up hearing stories about Kateri Tekakwitha, the 17th-century Mohawk woman who will be declared a saint in the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday.

She has long admired Tekakwitha for her steadfast faith and her ability to bridge Native American spirituality with Catholic traditions. In 1961, Mitchell joined the Sisters of St. Anne, and since 1998 she has served as executive director of the Tekakwitha Conference in Great Falls, Mont., a group that has spread Tekakwitha’s story and prayed for her canonization since 1939.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” she said of the canonization at the Vatican. “It’s a great validation.”

Renee Gadoua 7-30-2012

MOHAWK VALLEY, New York — Twelve-year-old Jake Finkbonner leaned over and ran his hand through a pool of water from a natural spring at the National Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, in Fonda, N.Y.. With that simple gesture, on a recent July weekend, the boy connected literally to the story of the 17th-century Native American woman who the Roman Catholic Church will elevate to sainthood on Oct. 21.

Jake had already connected to her story in what he believes is a miraculous way. The boy's inexplicable recovery from a flesh-eating illness in 2006 is attributed to prayers to Kateri (pronounced Gad-a-lee in Mohawk) on his behalf.

Jake, who is of Lummi descent, said he's gotten used to the attention he draws when people learn he's at the center of the miracle that led the Vatican to decide to proclaim Kateri a saint — a step that will make her one of the church's holy role models, and the first Native American to be canonized.

He likes to read and play basketball, and he loves video games. He and his 10-year-old sister, Miranda, are also training to become altar servers.

"I feel a great amount of gratitude and thanks to her," Jake said of Kateri.

Joshua Witchger 3-20-2012
Bald eagle via shutterstock.com

Bald eagle via shutterstock.com

We often hear that there’s a “war on religion,” that certain expressions of Christianity are under attack by secularists seeking a new age of post-God. And while things may or may not be easy for Christians, our rituals are not prohibited by law, like some of our Native American neighbors.

Until recently, it was illegal for Native Americans to acquire bald eagle feathers and parts – relics used for a variety of tribal rituals and ceremonies – by any means other than family or the National Eagle Repository in Denver. 

Duane Shank 9-09-2011

? U.S. troops on the front line believe that the war will go on for another 10 years after they leave.

? An audit shows that the surge of U.S. civilian advisers has cost nearly $2 billion.

? The U.S. mission in Afghanistan has suspended the transfer of detainees to several Afghan jails, following torture allegations.

Julie Polter 9-01-2011

Life Stories

Alison Owings interviewed members of 16 tribal nations for the oral history Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans, capturing intimate, engaging perspectives from long-overlooked communities. An inspiring antidote to the ignorance many non-Indigenous people may unwittingly hold about contemporary Native American lives. Rutgers University Press

Thelma Young 8-19-2011

Broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Princeton professor Cornel West just wrapped up their 18-city "Poverty Tour." The aim of their trip, which traversed through Wisconsin, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and the Deep South was to "highlight the plight of the poor people of all races, colors, and creeds so they will not be forgotten, ignored, or rendered invisible." Although the trip has been met with a fair amount of criticism, the issue of poverty's invisibility in American media and politics is unmistakable. The community organizations working tirelessly to help America's poor deserve a great deal more attention than what is being given.

The main attack against the "Poverty Tour" is Smiley and West's criticism of Obama's weak efforts to tackle poverty. For me though, what I would have liked to see more is the collection of stories and experiences from the people West and Smiley met along their trip. The act of collective storytelling in and of itself can be an act of resistance.

Julie Clawson 8-01-2011

1100801-cowboysandaliensAmericans have a hard time knowing how to respond to the sins of our colonial past. Except for a few extremists, most people know on a gut level that the extermination of the Native Americans was a bad thing. Not that most would ever verbalize it, or offer reparations, or ask for forgiveness, or admit to current neocolonial actions, or give up stereotyped assumptions -- they just know it was wrong and don't know how to respond. The Western American way doesn't allow the past to be mourned or apologies to be made. Instead we make alien invasion movies.

Brian McLaren 4-27-2011
I received a question from a reader recently that asked: You write a lot about the plight of the Palestinians.
Gary M. Burge 3-01-2011
I've been fascinated watching an earlier blog hunker down into a strong debate about Israel and the Palestinians (February 22, "http://blog.sojo.net/2011/02/22/when-will-3-5-million-palest
There is a Haitian proverb that says after every mountain, there is another mountain.
Allen Johnson 9-07-2010

"Yes, Muslims have the constitutional right to build a mosque near Ground Zero.

Daniel Groody 8-12-2010

[Editor's Note: This week we will have a series of reviews on films with a focus on immigration. Check back each day for a new film review, and visit www.faithandimmigration.org for more information]

Jeannie Choi 7-02-2010
iPhones. Broken oil rigs. The World Cup. Here's a little round-up of links from the web you may have missed this week:

Lena Horne is gone, but she remains a bright shining light.

Matt Hildreth 4-16-2010
After almost a century of debate and a four-year-long legal battle, the North Dakota Board of Higher Educat
Steve Holt 4-15-2010

The Tea Party Express -- the traveling band of conservative speakers, entertainers, and organizers -- stops in Washington, D.C., today on its nationwide effort to "vote them out of office" in the 2010 mid-term elections. Sarah Palin, one of the most galvanizing conservatives in years, has joined the Express in an attempt to bring more mainstream conservatives into its ranks.

Charles Honey 4-09-2010
The Grand River flows through Grand Rapids, Mich. with power and peace on its way to Lake Michigan 30 miles west.
Ike Arumba 4-01-2010
A legislative victory by opponents of immigration has had the unintended consequence of forcing the deportation of almost every U.S. citizen to their country of ancestral origin.

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