Indian Ministry

Indian Ministry

The primary purpose of the Department of Indian Ministry is to be at-one-with the Indian people within the diocese, a listening presence in their midst and a promoter of Catholic Indian celebrations. Established in 1993 and continuing through a grant from the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, the department sponsors retreats, days of recollections, special Kateri Tekakwitha celebrations and an annual Indian Harvest Mass.  The director attends/leads the Kateri Circle Meetings and the National Tekakwitha Conference at which she has been a presenter.  

We are very proud of our youth Kateri Circle on the Grand Portage Reservation, though inactive at the present, the first in the state.

The director represents the diocese at various church, civic and tribal functions and serves as the voice that brings Indian concerns to the attention of the Bishop, the diocesan officers, and other directors of diocesan offices.  .  

The Anishinabe, also known as Ojibwe and Chippewa (each name having variations in spelling), live within the Diocese of Duluth.  These, the first people in our area, generously shared the gifts of Mother Earth with the early trappers and fur traders who came to the Arrowhead region of Northeastern Minnesota. Wild rice is one of these gifts - a special gift of the waters of which the Spirit had directed the Ojibwe to search in their migration West. 

In general, the director is present to the Anishinabe.  This "presence" takes many forms and many times it is a silent presence of just being one with them. 

Rejoice with us as we continue to celebrate the Canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha - an event that took some of us to Rome for this festive occasion on October 21, 2012. We were joined by 800, 000 other Pilgrims in Rome for the canonization of our seven new saints. To Bishop Paul Sirba, the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Office, and the many contributions from members of the Diocese of Duluth and elsewhere we thank you for this wonderful gift and assure you that you were present in our prayers as we made our pilgrimage in Italy. You were there as we received the special blessings from the Holy Father and at each Mass. May St. Kateri Tekakwitha continue to walk with us as we strive to imitate her in reaching out to the young, our elders, the sick, and to hold close to our hearts her devotions to Jesus on the cross and to His Mother.


Kateri Circles

A Kateri Circle is a group of Women and Men and/or Youth of all cultures within a parish/mission who want to belong to a prayer circle/group for the purpose of learning and promoting the saintly life of Kateri Tekakwitha, patroness of the Tekakwitha Conference. At each meeting we say a prayer in honor of St. Kateri and ask our Creating God to be with us as we strive to be more like Jesus and our elder sister, St. Kateri Tekakwitha.  As her name tells us she is "one that makes order" - may she help us make order in our lives that we may live in harmony and union with all of creation.   

Cass Lake, MN
St. Charles Church
Meets: Check with the parish

Cloquet/Duluth, MN
Holy Family Church
Meets: After the 8:00 AM Mass on the third Sunday
Join us for prayers before St. Kateri's statue after Mass each third Sunday even if you can not stay for our meeting.  Everyone is welcome.  

Ball Club Area
Sts. Joseph & Mary Kateri Circle
Meets: 6:00 PM on the second Wednesday of each month

St. Mary Church
Deer River, MN

Duluth Area
St. Lawrence Kateri Circle
Duluth, MN
Meets:  1:00 PM on the second Sunday of each month
Contact: Michele at 218-591-0556  

Grand Portage Youth Kateri Circle
Holy Rosary Church 
Grand Portage, MN
Meets: Inactive at the present time

During this season we experience the presence of our Creator in the flowers, many wild plants, and trees as they display their splendid colors.  Join us in mending the Sacred Hoop where all creation is one with the Creator...... sisters and brothers are we.   

April 17, 1680
The day when St. Kateri Tekakwitha died.  Let us join in thanking our Creating God, the Great Mystery, for giving us such  a worthy role model.  St. Kateri, pray for us.  
Consider visiting one of the many places in our diocese where we have a statue, a shrine, a relic, or a stained glass window of St. Kateri.  

July 14
Join us as we show our love and honor to St. Kateri in our prayers, works and sufferings on her Feast Day.  May she be a source of inspiration in our daily lives as we walk with her  to greater holiness, love of Jesus and his cross, and devotion to Mary, his Mother and ours.     

 **Watch for important events in your parish bulletins and in our Diocesan Newspaper:The Northern Cross.


Annual Harvest Mass and Celebration        

Place:   TBA
Date:    TBA
Time:    TBA
Celebrant:   TBA



Let us join in prayer with our sisters and brothers throughout the United States for the canonization of:
         the Missionary and Native American Martyrs (1549-1706) of La Florida (The Floridian Martyrs).  

On July 4th of 1704, the Last Battle in Apalachee for the Catholic missions took place. 

     "Let the untold story unfold to acknowledge the courageous early evangelization efforts which included First Peoples of this land who shared the story of Jesus among the people." - Sister Kateri Mitchell, SSA

     "Let us unite our prayers to the Floridian Martyrs, always seeking their intercession as we invite all people to venerate their holy memory and aid us in the ongoing work of evangelization." - Reverend Wayne Carroll Paysse

     " I find tragic that 21st century Christians in Florida are unaware of the lives and heroism of the first Christians in Florida.  How can we treasure their legacy if in fact we do not know their story?" - Bishop Felipe J. Estevez, Bishop of St. Augustine, FL.

for the canonization of Nicholas Black Elk, Lakota Holy Man (1865-1950) who, as a lay catechist on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, is credited with leading over 400 Native People to baptism.  Fr. Michael F. Steltenkamp entitles his 2009 book on Black Elk as - Nicholas Black Elk - Medicine Man, Missionary, Mystic.  Two of us from our diocese were able to join the Diocese of Rapid City, SD at Holy Rosary Mission on the Pine Ridge Reservation on October 21, 2017 for the opening of the Cause of Canonization of this holy elder.  May we, like Nicholas, lead others in walking the Sacred Red Road to Jesus.    


Prayer for the Canonization of Nicholas Black Elk
Grandfather!  Great Spirit!  Behold us,
who stand before you, singing our song
of thanksgiving for your beloved servant,
Nicholas Black Elk.  Faithfully he walked
the Sacred Red Road and generously
witnessed the Good News of our Lord,
Jesus Christ among Native people.  
Grandfather, we humbly ask you, to hear
the prayers we plead through his
intercession.  We ask Holy Mother
Church to recognize his sanctity, by
acknowledging his presence among the
company of saints and as one to imitate
in his zeal for the Gospel.  Open our
hearts to also recognize the Risen Christ
in other cultures and peoples, to the
glory and honor of God the Father.  
Mitakuye Oyasin (All my relatives)


Other prayers you may wish to say with us: 

 "Creating One, we ask that you 
protect each person,
open their eyes,
their ears,
their mouths 

to see as you see,
to listen as you listen

to speak words of truth   
remembering always that we are your children, sisters and brothers, one family in you.  
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.  
Holy Man Nicholas Black Elk, intercede for us." 


"God of peace, we bless you and we thank you because you have sent us your beloved Son, Jesus, the source of all peace.  Open yet more our hearts to the needs of all our brothers and sisters, so that we may be better able to build a true peace.  Remember, Father of mercy, all who are in pain, who suffer and die in the cause of a more just world. For the people of  every race, of every tongue - may your kingdom come.  Amen."      -  Pope Paul VI




Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

• Born at (Ossernenon) Auriesville, New York, 1656
• Baptized at (Caughnawaga) Fonda, New York, 1676
• Died at Kahnawake, Quebec, April 17, 1680
• Declared Venerable by Pope Pius XII, January 3, 1943
• Beatified by Pope John Paul II, June 22, 1980
* Canonized by Pope Benedict XVI, October 21, 2012

Prayer in Honor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha:

"Creator, we thank you for the gift that you have given us in Kateri Tekakwitha. May we ever imitate her and keep you in front  of our eyes, leading us on our sacred journey back to you. May our daily works be pleasing to you as we reach out to others  especially our children, our elders, and our sick. As You continue to bless Kateri's people, the First Inhabitants of North  America, may all recognize the many gifts her people have to offer each of us. Finally may our dying words be, like hers, 'Jesus, I love you.' We make this prayer in the name of You, the Great Mystery, our Brother Jesus, and the ever present  Spirit who live as One surrounding us in the circle of life and love.  Amen"                     -  Composed by local parishioners


Phone: (318) 483-3908      Toll Free Number: (844) 483-3900    
Fax: (318) 483-3909
E-mail: [email protected]
Robert Barbry II  - Executive Director

Vision Statement:
The Tekakwitha Conference is the Voice, Presence and Identity of Indigenous Catholics of North America under the protection and inspiration of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.  

Mission Statement:
We, as members of the Tekakwitha Conference inspired by Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk/Algonquin woman of the 17th century, renew our faith and reaffirm our baptismal call as followers of Jesus to proclaim the Good News.  We pray with faith and hope for the continued intercession of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha in the lives of all Peoples.  

Rev. Henry Sands, Executive Director
2021 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-4207
(202) 331-8542 or (877) 237-1605
(202) 331-8544
[email protected]


Rev. Michael Carson 
Assistant Director for Native American Affairs
311 Fourth Street NE
Washington, D.C.
Phone: 202: 541-3427
Email: [email protected]





Diocese of Duluth
Phone: 218-724-9111
Fax: 218-724-1056

Diocese of Duluth
Indian Ministry
2830 E. 4th Street
Duluth, MN 55812


Main Indian


"Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion is to take off our shoes - for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on another's dream. More serious still, we may forget that God was there before our arrival."
                                      - Author Unknown

     "Thus the one faith is expressed in different ways. There can be no question of adulterating the word of God or of emptying the Cross of its power, but rather of Christ animating the center of all cultures.  Thus, not only is Christianity relevant to the Indian peoples, but Christ,  in the members of his body, is himself Indian."                                                                   - Pope John Paul II, 1984


"Every culture contains the seed of the Gospel.  
The challenge facing the missionary
is to uncover the seed,  
replant it if necessary,
and then allow the Holy Spirit
to nourish it as it is revealed
in a new light
within the old context."
- Unknown 


"The world in which you were born is just one model
of reality.  Other cultures are not failed attempts  
of being you: they are unique manifestations  
of the human spirit."  
- Wade Davis 


"When we refuse to step over social and
cultural boundaries,
when we associate only with our own,
we miss the chance to grow spiritually.  
Those most unlike us
have more to teach us
than our friends."
- Adapted from Sister Joan Chittister


"Let us put our minds together 
and see what life we can make for our children."
-  Sitting Bull


"Ge-gii-izhi-gikinoo amawind,
mii iw ge-dooding ani-gitizid."
("That which one learns so
shall one do in life.")
- An Ojibwe Proverb


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