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INCULTURATION TASK FORCES RECORDS OF THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS


Records from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee on Native American Catholics and dioceses, which pertain to Native American-Catholic inculturation in the Catholic Church in the United States. Included are recordings, transcripts, surveys, summaries, and related documents.

Gift from Rev. John E. Hatcher, S.J., September, 1996-2009, and the USCCB Department of Education, 2003. Processed by Mark G. Thiel, CA (Certified Archivist), 1997-2009.


Historical Note

In 1993, the USCCB established the Ad Hoc Committee on Native Americans in response to a written request for dialogue from Cardinal Francis Arinze, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, and a desire by American Indian Catholics in the United States to clarify the relationship between indigenous and Catholic traditions.

The Committee on Native Americans then authorized the Inculturation Task Forces at the request of local diocesan bishops. The Task Forces became the first efforts by the Church in the United States to seriously address the question of the relationship between Native American cultures and religion and the teaching and rites of the Catholic Church.

In 2008, the USCCB replaced the Committee on Native Americans with a subcommittee on Native Americans under a new Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Native American Catholics

Key to Symbols:

[1] = Correspondence included in records of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions (Series 1).

[2] = Personal papers (Series 7) included in the records of Holy Rosary Mission-Red Cloud Indian School (Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota).

[3] = Related materials included in records of the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota within the Holy Rosary Mission-Red Cloud Indian School Records (Series 8).

[4] = Related materials included in the Sioux Spiritual Center Records of the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota.

Chair Bishop Donald E. Pelotte, S.S.S., Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico [1]
Member Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, formerly Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota [1] [3]
Member Archbishop Alexander J. Brunnett, Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington
Member Bishop Michael J. Kaniecki, S.J., Bishop of Fairbanks, Alaska [1]
Member Bishop Anthony M. Milone, Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana [1]
Staff Monsignor William P. Fay, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C.
Consultant Monsignor Paul A. Lenz, Director, Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, Washington, D.C. [1]
Consultant* Reverend Raymond A. Bucko, S.J., Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, formerly LeMoyne Jesuit College, Syracuse, New York [1][2]
Consultant* Reverend John E. Hatcher, S.J., Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota [3] [4]

*Specialists in anthropology, liturgy, and theology who worked with the diocesan Inculturation Task Forces. These consultants reported to the bishops of their respective diocese as well as the Committee on Native Americans.


The Diocesan Task Forces

The diocesan Inculturation Task Forces were comprised of local Native Catholics who together examined three areas of concern:

  1. What ritual items can be used in liturgical and prayer services;
  2. What religious elements in their native life and ceremonies prepare the way for the reception of the Gospel and its expression in the Church; and
  3. Their native philosophy and theology.

Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, Lakota Inculturation Task Force (authorized 1995)

As the first task force, the Lakota group served as the model for the Tohono O'odham group. Its members, who were Brulé, Hunkpapa, Oglala, and Sans Arc Indians, graduated from the Diocesan lay ministry formation program and were involved as lay ministers, catechists, and/or deacons. Meetings were held in Plainview at Mahpiya na Maka Okoigna, the Sioux Spiritual Center, 1994-1995, 1998, 2002; Rapid City, 1997; and at other locations not identified, 1995-1996, 1999-2001. The Lakota Task Force built on the earlier discussions of the Medicine Men and Clergy Meetings directed by Reverend William Stolzman, 1973-1978, the records of which are within the St. Francis Mission Records.

Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, Tohono O'odham Task Force (authorized 1997)

The Tohono O'odham Task Force met in Tucson, Arizona, 1996-1997, 1999.


Scope and Content

Restrictions: Unpublished materials are restricted for 25 years after their date of creation, which ranges from 2022 to 2027. Access to these materials requires permission from Reverend John E. Hatcher, S.J., Diocese of Rapid City, 605-343-3541, P.O. Box 678, Rapid City, South Dakota 57709.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Native American Catholics, Series 1: This series contains the final report, Native American Catholics at the Millennium.

Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, Lakota Inculturation Task Force, Series 2: This series is further divided into three sub-series -- 2-1: Correspondence, Meetings, and Reports; 2-2: Meetings (recorded on diskettes with Word for Windows); and 2-3: Meetings (recorded on audio cassettes). The transcripts includes discussions on the inculturation process, native-Catholic relationships, native ceremonial leadership, and the use of native language, music, symbols, and ceremonies. The Lakota transcripts also include in-depth talks on singing, 1995, pp. 2-10 and on Sundance, 1995, pp. 70-77. Audio recordings were made at all task forces meetings from which summaries or/and complete transcripts were produced. Rev. Hatcher prepared all summaries and the 1995 Lakota transcript.

Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, Tohono O'odham Task Force, Series 3: This series is further divided into three sub-series-- 3-1: Correspondence, Meetings, and Reports; 3-2: Meetings (recorded on diskettes with Word for Windows); and 3-3: Meetings (recorded on audio cassettes). The transcripts includes discussions on the inculturation process, native-Catholic relationships, native ceremonial leadership, and the use of native language, music, symbols, and ceremonies. Audio recordings were made at all task forces meetings from which summaries or/and complete transcripts were produced. Marquette University and students prepared the Tohono O'odham transcripts, 1997.


More Related Resources

  • Christianity and Native America: Checklist to all Marquette Native Catholic collections plus access to detailed information about them including genealogical records; access to digital image collections and The Indian Sentinel historic magazine online; information for educators about Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and her Native Catholic followers.

  • Guides to Catholic-Related Records about Native Americans in the United States: Over 1,000 repository entries in PDF format to help genealogists and historical researchers find the records they need on American Indians and Alaskan Natives. The entries provide contact information on the repositories, brief descriptions about the records, the Native groups served, and the associated Catholic organizations. Many of the entries include institutional chronologies to explain the history of the records.

Black and Indian Mission Office > Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions

Tekakwitha Conference National Center

U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops > Cultural Diversity in the Church