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Natives  Roman Catholic saints of the Americas

Child Martyrs of Tlaxcala

Saints of the Cristero War

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Juan Diego

Martin de Porres

Rose of Lima

Kateri Tekakwitha

Rose of Lima was Reverend Chaplain Eric Michel  RC Parish when living in Gatineau

The EMMI Catholic respects the sovereignty, lands, histories, languages, knowledge systems, and cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit nations. 

Nicholas Black Elk

 Nicholas Black Elk, daughter Lucy Black Elk and wife Anna Brings White, photographed in their home in Manderson, South Dakota, ca 1910. Black Elk wears a suit, his wife wears a long dress decorated with elk's teeth and a hair pipe necklace. 

(Source: The Sixth Grandfather, edited by Raymond DeMallie p. 260) 

Heȟáka Sápa, commonly known as Black Elk (December 1, 1863 – August 19, 1950), was a wičháša wakȟáŋ ("medicine man, holy man") and heyoka of the Oglala Lakota people. He was a second cousin of the war leader Crazy Horse and fought with him in the Battle of Little Bighorn. He survived the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. He toured and performed in Europe as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West.

Black Elk is best known for his interviews with poet John Neihardt, where he discussed his religious views, visions, and events from his life. Neihardt published these in his book Black Elk Speaks in 1932. This book has since been published in numerous editions, most recently in 2008. Near the end of his life, he also spoke to American ethnologist Joseph Epes Brown for his 1947 book The Sacred Pipe. There has been great interest in these works among diverse people interested in Native American religions, notably those in the pan-Indian movement.

Black Elk converted to Catholicism, becoming a catechist, but he also continued to practice Lakota ceremonies. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rapid City opened an official cause for his beatification within the Roman Catholic Church in 2016. His grandson, George Looks Twice, said, "He was comfortable praying with this pipe and his rosary and participated in Mass and Lakota ceremonies regularly."

Black Elk and Elk of the Oglala Lakota as grass dancers touring with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, London, England, 1887 (source: The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt, edited by Raymond J. DeMallie, page 259. The men wear "sheep and sleigh bells; otter fur waist and neck pieces; pheasant feather bustles at the waist; dentalium shell necklaces; and bone hairpieces with coloured glass beads...

Photograph collected on Pine Ridge Reservation in 1891 by James Mooney. Courtesy National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution") 

For at least a decade, beginning in 1934, Black Elk returned to work related to his performances earlier in life with Buffalo Bill. He organized an Indian show at the Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns Dance Pavilion in the sacred Black Hills. Neihardt writes that, unlike the Wild West shows, used to glorify Native American warfare, Black Elk created a show to teach tourists about Lakota culture and traditional sacred rituals, including the Sun Dance.

Black Elk's first wife, Katie, converted to Roman Catholicism, and they had their three children baptized as Catholics. After Katie died in 1904, Black Elk, then in his 40s, converted to Catholicism. He also became a catechist, teaching others about Christianity. He married again and had more children with his second wife; they were baptized and reared as Catholics. He said his children "had to live in this world." His first wife, Katie, died in 1903. Black Elk became a Catholic in 1904 when he was in his 40s. He was christened with the name Nicholas and later served as a catechist in the church. After this, other medicine men, including his nephew Fools Crow, referred to him as Black Elk and Nicholas Black Elk.: 44  The widower Black Elk married again in 1905 to Anna Brings White, a widow with two daughters. Together they had three more children, whom they also had baptized as Catholic. The couple were together until she died in 1941. His son, Benjamin Black Elk (1899–1973), became known as the "Fifth Face of Mount Rushmore," posing in the 1950s and 1960s for tourists at the memorial.

n August 2016, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rapid City opened an official cause for his beatification within the Roman Catholic Church. On October 21, 2017, the cause for canonization for Nicholas Black Elk was formally opened by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, paving the way for the possibility of him eventually being recognized as a saint. Black Elk's conversion to Roman Catholicism has confused Indigenous and Catholic people. Biographer Jon M. Sweeney addressed this duality in 2020, explaining, "Nick didn't see a reason to disconnect from his vision after converting to Catholicism... Was Black Elk a true Lakota in the second half of his life? Yes... Was he also a real Christian? Yes."  Catholics now designate him as a "Servant of God," indicating that the Pope and the Catholic Church are investigating his life and work for possible canonization. His work to share the Gospel with Native and non-Native people and harmonize the faith with Lakota culture was noted at the Mass, where this was announced.

Damian Costello writes that Black Elk's Lakota Catholic faith was uniquely anti-colonial, stemming from his Ghost Dance vision. He says it was broadly analogous to anti-colonial movements from across the globe drawn from the Biblical narrative, such as the Rastafari in Jamaica.

Flag of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory 


Reverend Chaplain Eric Michel visited many times a month Tyendinaga while living in Belleville, Ontario, which is at 27 min (28.6 km). Tyendinaga is a township in the Canadian province of Ontario in Hastings County. The community takes its name from a variant spelling of Mohawk leader Joseph Brant's traditional Mohawk name, Thayendanegea. 

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is the leading First Nation reserve of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation. The territory is in Ontario, east of Belleville, on the Bay of Quinte. Tyendinaga is located near the site of the former Mohawk village of Ganneious. 

St. Kateri Tekakwitha 

 Église le Gésu 

Montréal - QC - CA 

Kateri Tekakwitha (pronounced [ˈɡaderi deɡaˈɡwita] in Mohawk), given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine, and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680), is a Catholic saint and virgin who was an Algonquin–Mohawk. Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died, and her face was scarred. She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen. She took a vow of perpetual virginity, left her village, and moved for the remaining five years to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, just south of Montreal. She was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter's Basilica on 21 October 2012. 

The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory (French: Territoire Mohawk de Kahnawake, pronounced [ɡahnaˈwaːɡe] in the Mohawk language, Kahnawáˀkye in Tuscarora) is a First Nations reserve of the Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, across from Montreal. Established by French Canadians in 1719 as a Jesuit mission, it has also been known as Seigneury Sault du St-Louis and Caughnawaga (after a Mohawk village in the Mohawk Valley of New York). There are 17 European spelling variations of the Mohawk Kahnawake. 

Kahnawake is located on the southwest shore, where the Saint Lawrence River narrows. The territory is described in the native language as "on, or by the rapids" (of the Saint Lawrence River) (in French, it was originally called Sault du St-Louis, also related to the rapids). This term refers to their village being located along the natural rapids of St. Lawrence. But in the mid-20th century, the river's path was changed with the construction of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Canal, and the people lost access to the river.

The French colony of New France used Kahnawake as part of a southwestern defence for Ville-Marie (later Montreal) and placed a military garrison there. The Jesuits founded a mission to administer to local Mohawk and other First Nations. This was also a base for those missionary priests sent to the West. Jesuit records give a settlement date of 1719.

Tekakwitha is the name the girl was given by her Mohawk people. It translates to "She who bumps into things." She was born around 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon in Northeastern New York state. According to Dean R. Snow and other specialists in New York, a nineteenth-century claim that Auriesville developed at the site of Ossernenon has been disproved by archaeological findings, according to Dean R. Snow and other specialists in Native American history in New York.

She was the daughter of Kenneronkwa, a Mohawk chief, and Kahenta, an Algonquin woman, who had been captured in a raid and adopted and assimilated into the tribe. Kahenta had been baptized Catholic and educated by French missionaries in Trois-Rivières, east of Montreal. Mohawk warriors captured her and took her to their homeland. Kahenta eventually married Kenneronkwa. Tekakwitha was the first of their two children. A brother followed.

Tekakwitha's original village was highly diverse. The Mohawk absorbed many captured natives of other tribes, particularly their competitors, the Huron, to replace people who died from warfare or diseases.

When Tekakwitha was around four, her baby brother and her parents died of smallpox. She survived but was left with facial scars and impaired eyesight. She was adopted by her father's sister and her husband, a chief of the Turtle Clan.

The Jesuits' account of Tekakwitha said that she was a modest girl who avoided social gatherings and covered her head because of the scars. She became skilled in traditional women's arts, like making clothing, weaving mats, and preparing food. As was the custom, she was pressured to consider marriage around age thirteen, but she refused.

Lamberville wrote in his journal in the years after her death about Tekakwitha. This text described her as a mild-mannered girl who behaved well before being baptized. Lamberville also stated that Kateri did everything she could to stay holy in a secular society, which often caused minor conflicts with her longhouse residents. These conflicts suggested that there was no violence, which contradicts future texts.

Judging that she was ready, Lamberville baptized Tekakwitha at 19 on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1676. Tekakwitha was renamed "Catherine" after St. Catherine of Siena (Kateri was the Mohawk form of the name).

After Kateri was baptized, she remained in Caughnawauga for another six months. Some Mohawks opposed her conversion and accused her of sorcery. Lamberville suggested she go to the Jesuit mission of Kahnawake, located south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River, where other native converts had gathered. Catherine joined them in 1677.

Tekakwitha was said to have put thorns on her sleeping mat and lain on them while praying for her relatives' conversion and forgiveness. Piercing the body to draw blood was a traditional practice of the Mohawk and other Iroquois nations. She lived at Kahnawake for the remaining two years of her life. She learned more about Christianity under her mentor Anastasia, who taught her about repenting for one's sins. 

Father Cholonec wrote that Tekakwitha said:

I have deliberated enough. My decision on what I will do has been made for a long time. I have consecrated myself entirely to Jesus, son of Mary, I have chosen Him for husband, and He alone will take me for a wife.

The Church considers that in 1679, with her decision on the Feast of the Annunciation, Tekakwitha's conversion was indeed completed. To biographies of the early Jesuits, she is regarded as the "first Iroquois virgin." Although Tekakwitha is rather often regarded as a consecrated virgin, she could, owing to circumstances, never receive the Consecration of Virgins by a bishop. Nevertheless, the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins took Kateri Tekakwitha as its patroness.

More About Saint Kateri

Kahnawake was created under what was known as the Seigneurie du Sault-Saint-Louis, a 40,320-acre (163.2 km2) territory that the French Crown granted in 1680 to the Jesuits to "protect" and "nurture" those Mohawk newly converted to Catholicism. When the seigneury was granted, the government intended the territory to be closed to European settlement. But the Jesuits assumed rights as seigneurs of the Sault and permitted French and European colonists to settle there and collect their rents.

The Jesuits managed the seigneury until April 1762, after the British defeated France in the Seven Years' War and took over their territory east of the Mississippi River in New France. The new British governor, Thomas Gage, ordered the reserve to be entirely and exclusively vested in the Mohawk under the supervision of the Indian Department.

Despite repeated complaints by the Mohawk, many government agents continued to allow non-Native encroachment and mismanaged the lands and rents. Surveyors were found to have modified some old maps at the expense of the Kahnawake people. From the late 1880s until the 1950s, the Mohawk were required by the government to make numerous land cessions to enable the construction of railway, hydroelectric, and telephone company industrial projects along the river.

As a result, Kahnawake today has only 13,000 acres (5,300 ha). In the late 20th century, the Mohawk Nation pursued land claims with the Canadian government to regain lost land. The modern claim touches the municipalities of Saint-Constant, Sainte-Catherine, Saint-Mathieu, Delson, Candiac and Saint-Philippe. Led by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and the reserve's Inter-governmental Relations Team, the community has filed claims with the government of Canada. It is seeking monetary compensation and symbolic recognition of its claim.

Oka is a small village on the northern bank of the Ottawa River (Rivière des Outaouais in French) northwest of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Located in the Laurentians Valley on Lake of Two Mountains, where the Ottawa River confluences with the St. Lawrence River, the town is connected via Quebec Route 344. It is located 50 km (30 miles) west of Montreal.

The area was first established in 1721 by Roman Catholic Sulpician Fathers as a mission to serve the needs of Mohawk, Algonquin, and Nipissing converts, as well as of French settlers. In 1730, the mission site was moved about 1.5 km west along the shore to Pointe d'Oka (Oka's Point), close to where the first stone church was built in 1733, and around which church evolved the village that eventually became known as Oka. The Mohawks had been assigned to a west-side village that eventually became known as Kanesatake, whereas the Algonquins and Nipissings had been assigned to an adjacent east-side village. Kanesatake's status is as an interim land base within the Constitution Act of 1867 and not as an Indian reserve within the meaning of the Indian Act.

Kanesatake (Kanehsatà:ke in Mohawk) is a Mohawk (Kanien'kéha: ka in Mohawk) settlement on the shore of the Lake of Two Mountains in southwestern Quebec, Canada, at the confluence of the Ottawa and Saint Lawrence rivers and about 48 kilometres (30 mi) west of Montreal. People who reside in Kanehsatà:ke are referred to as Mohawks of Kanesatake (Kanehsata'kehró:non in Mohawk). As of 2022, the total registered population was 2,751, with about 1,364 persons living on the territory. Both they and the Mohawk of Kahnawake, Quebec (Kahnawà:ke in Mohawk), a reserve located south of the river from Montreal, also control and have hunting and fishing rights to Doncaster 17 Indian Reserve (Tiowéro: ton in Mohawk).

The Mohawk people historically are the most easterly nation of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois). By 1730, this confederacy comprised six Iroquoian-speaking nations based primarily east and south of the Great Lakes, present-day New York along the Mohawk River west of the Hudson, and Pennsylvania. They also controlled hunting territory by right of conquest that extended into the Ohio and Shenandoah valleys.

After French exploration and its beginnings of colonial developments, its traders worked with the Mohawk in villages in the Mohawk Valley. Jesuit missionaries evangelized their people. Some Mohawk moved closer for trade with French colonists in what became Quebec, Canada, or settled in nearby mission villages. In the mid-nineteenth century, after Great Britain had taken over the former French territory east of the Mississippi River following its defeat of France in the Seven Years' War, its colonial government formally recognized the people of Kanehsatà:ke as one of the Seven Nations of Canada. These were First Nations who were allies of the British.

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The Canadian Martyrs, also known as the North American Martyrs (French: Saints martyrs canadiens, Holy Canadian Martyrs), were eight Jesuit missionaries

from Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. They were ritually tortured and killed on various dates in the mid-17th century in Canada, in what is now southern

Ontario, and in upstate New York, during the warfare between the Iroquois (particularly the Mohawk people) and the Huron. They have subsequently been canonized and venerated as martyrs by the Catholic Church. 

Patron saints of Canada. St. René Goupil, St. Isaac Jogues, and St. Jean de Lalande are the first three U.S. Saints, martyred at Ossernenon, 9 miles west of the confluence of the Schoharie and Mohawk rivers. Their feast day is celebrated in the General Roman Calendar and in the

United States on October 19 under the title of "John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs," and in Canada on September 26.

The Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario, the Jesuits' missionary work site among the Huron, is the National Shrine to the Canadian Martyrs.

A National Shrine of the North American Martyrs has been constructed and dedicated in Auriesville, New York. It is located south of the Mohawk River, near a Jesuit cemetery containing remains of missionaries who died in the area from 1669 to 1684, when the Jesuits had a local mission to the Mohawk.

The martyrs are

Holy card for the Canadian Martyrs

Date circa 1930

Source Patron Saints

Unknown author

This Canadian work, of which the author or

authors are unknown, is in the public domain

in Canada because:

50 years have passed since the end of the calendar year of its publication; or 75 years have passed since the end of the calendar year of its creation