Special Collections 
	and Archives

TEKAKWITHA CONFERENCE RECORDS


Records of meetings pertaining to Catholic evangelization of Native Americans in the United States and Canada, primarily after 1980, which include extensive audio, video, and still photographic holdings and the newspaper Cross and Feathers. Also included are visits by Pope John Paul II and Vatican officials; the beatification and canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, 1980, 2012, and related commemorative events, 1980s-2013; and the ordinations of Bishops Donald E. Pelotte, S.S.S. (Abenaki) and Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. (Potawatomi), 1986, 1988.

Gift of the Tekakwitha Conference National Center, 1992-[ongoing]. The bulk of the minutes between 1939 and 1962 are facsimiles copied in 1989 from originals borrowed from Reverend Stanislaus Maudlin, O.S.B. Processed by Mark G. Thiel, CA (Certified Archivist) with student assistants, 1993-[ongoing].

See e-Archives for select materials available online.

Restrictions: Restricted records are described below in the Scope and Content Notes. Access to these records requires permission in writing from the Tekakwitha Conference National Center. In addition, the researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information. 

Historical Note

The Tekakwitha Conference began in 1939 as an annual meeting for Catholic missionaries who evangelized American Indians in Northern Plains states. In 1969, initial attempts began to transform it, but meaningful change did not start until 1977. Then it was reorganized as an association of American Indian Catholics, which was incorporation came two years later and followed thereafter by substantial involvement by native peoples from throughout the United States and Canada.

Since the middle of the 20th century, many Indian Catholics had drifted away from the Church. As Indian populations grew and expanded beyond reservations and rural communities, Indian people found non-native parishes to be culturally different and uncomfortable for their families, so they dropped out. The Church also failed to attract indigenous leadership and to embrace Indians' renewed interest and pride in their heritage.

Blessed Kateri serves as a focal point for this convergence of spirituality. Among the Mohawk, Kateri devotions and Anglo-French Catholicism are hundreds of years old, but elsewhere Indian awareness of Tekakwitha was minimal until the time of the revival. This revival of expanded devotions coincides with the Conference's growth since 1975. Owing to diverse tribal backgrounds and varying overlays of Catholicism, Kateri devotions continue to develop in a number of unique ways as well as retain spiritual themes common to all tribes.

Notable Events

Notable events of the Tekakwitha Conference and the legacy of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha among Native Catholics. Included are conference annual meeting dates, locations, topics, themes, and highlights.

Notable Participants

Lists of conference officers (before and after 1977) and notable presenters and attendees.

 

Scope and Content

Materials pertaining to the activities of annual meetings since 1977 form the bulk of the collection. With the reorganization of the Conference at that time, the volume and diversity of the documentation expanded dramatically. New formats were used to document its increasingly diverse activities, which now included inculturated prayer services and liturgies, workshops and training programs, and powwows and social events.

The collection is divided into format-based series arranged chronologically. Throughout the container lists some Catholic and Mohawk Nation places appear repeatedly. Therefore, they are identified with the following abbreviated place names with additional descriptions added as needed in specific situations.

Akwesasne -- St. Regis Mission, St. Regis Indian Reservation/ Reserve, Akwesasne (Hogansburg Post Office), New York/ Québec

Auriesville Shrine -- Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs, Auriesville (Fultonville Post Office), New York; a.k.a Martyrs Shrine, National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, National Kateri Center

Fonda Shrine -- The National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Fonda, New York

Immaculate Conception Basilica -- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.; place names accompany other basilicas with similar names.

Kahnawaké -- St. Françis-Xavier Church and the Kateri Centre, Kahnawaké Reserve, Kahnawaké, Québec

Vatican City/ Rome -- St. Peter's Basilica, et.al., Vatican City, Gesù Church, North American College, et.al, Rome, Italy

Principal source: The Official Catholic Directory, P.J. Kennedy & Sons.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 1, Correspondence: The correspondence of Fr. Gilbert F. Hemauer, O.F.M. Cap., as president and executive director, 1979-1985, and Sr. Marie Therese Archambault, O.S.F., as urban outreach facilitator, 1992-1995, comprise the bulk of the series, which is arranged chronologically. Interfiled among the letters are news clippings, articles of incorporation and bilaws (1979), grant applications, autobiographical statements of board candidates, membership mailing lists, minutes of affinity groups and allied organizations, and reports. Most news clippings report on specific annual meetings.

The correspondence describes several notable events and developments. It includes a search for a national office outside of Great Falls (181-1982), the appointment of Bishop John F. Kenney as Episcopal Moderator (1983), a meeting of the Northeast Tekakwitha Conference board of directors in Auriesville, New York (1984), a national urban survey of Native American Catholics (1992), meetings of the national urban sub-committee (1992-1993), an evaluation of Tohono O'odham Reservation pastoral ministry by Sr. Carla Riach, O.S.F. (1993), a report on Native American Catholics in Oakland, California (1993), a statement on the Kateri Circle of Denver, Colorado (1993), leadership development talks at the Amawim Center, Chicago, Illinois (1993), an evaluation of national workshops for catechists held 1985-1990 (1992), a program of the South Dakota Regional Mini-Tekakwitha Conference in Stephan, South Dakota (1994), and a report on Native American Catholics in St. Louis, Missouri (1995).

Letters, memos, notes, and proposals relating specifically to board meetings are included in the proceedings of the board of directors.

Restrictions: Access to records in this series is restricted for 25 years after the date they were created.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 2, Proceedings: The Index of Notable Participants lists a number of key participants identified throughout the collection, e.g. proceedings, publications, photography, recordings.

Series 2-1, Annual Meetings: Proceedings arranged by year.  They contain agendas, minutes, correspondence, and notes to 1980, and programs and handouts thereafter. Some years include photocopies made from borrowed original documents then held by Rev. Stanislaus Maudlin, O.S.B., a long-time participant, and the Center for Western Studies (Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota), which thereafter held his papers. The annual meeting proceedings have been microfilmed through 1980.

By 1984, preliminary programs combined tentative agendas, destination and lodging information, and the registration form. Also by this time, comprehensive program booklets distributed at the meetings included general conference information as well as information identifying specific activities. In 1988, the program booklet added an evaluation form, in the following year it added the vision statement, and in 1991, it added listings of Kateri circles. Song texts and/or musical scores about Kateri Tekakwitha were repeated in several program booklets, most notably in 1991 and 1995. The container list also notes unique information contained in the program and worship booklets, such as Native languages used in worship. Statistical records begin in 1995 and feedback comments and/or summaries began in 2001. The newsletters, proceedings of the Board of Directors, and recordings contain additional documentation from the annual meetings.

Series 2-2, Board of Directors: The proceedings contain board meeting agendas and minutes (1979-) and letters, memos, notes, and proposals relating specifically to its meetings. The board's principal business focused on management of annual meetings and the newsletter, membership at large and of the board, and assessments of Native American Catholics in the United States. Published statements by board of director candidates and election ballots are included in series 4-2 General Publications.

Restrictions: Access to records in this series is restricted for 25 years after the date they were created.

Series 2-3, Institutes: Arranged by date.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 3, Reports: Reports and special surveys related to the reports. 


Tekakwitha Conference Series 4-1, Newsletters: The national conference newsletters are arranged chronologically and contain announcements and reports on the annual meetings and institutes, the Kateri circles, and other groups and events of interest to the membership. Titles, format, and frequency of the newsletters varied, which is noted in the container list. Full-text transcripts are included for some annual meeting presentations (1990-2002). The Index of Notable Participants lists a number of key participants identified throughout the collection, e.g. proceedings, publications, photography, recordings.

With two exceptions, the newsletters have been microfilmed through Vol. 20, no. 1-5 (June, 2002). Not included were -- Newsletter #1 (1969) and Kateri Urban Circles (1990?-1995). Newsletter #1 is interfiled within the 1969 annual meeting proceedings.

Since 2011, the national conference newsletters have been archived online.

Tekakwitha Conference Series 4-2, General Publications: The conference general publications contain published statements by board of director candidates and election ballots (1983-), brochures, pamphlets, prayer cards, and the newsletter Kateri Urban Circles. Not included are program materials from annual meetings, which are in series 2-1 Annual Meetings.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 5, Photography: Various formats of still photography comprise a substantial portion of the collection, the bulk of which were taken at the annual national meetings. The Marquette Archives received the bulk of all black & white and color prints compiled in albums. The albums have been unbound and separated into sub-series for black & white and color prints. But before doing so, staff compiled a black & white photocopy set of facsimiles to record the original arrangement of the prints within them. For a number of years, as noted in the container lists to the prints, archives staff have added the three-letter airport abbreviations plus the year on the versos of original prints to indicate national annual meeting sites with the appropriate year. A number of images have been published in the Tekakwitha Conference newsletters (Series 4). The Index of Notable Participants lists a number of key participants identified throughout the collection, e.g. proceedings, publications, photography, recordings.

Since 2012, the Tekakwitha Conference website has included substantial photography of its annual meetings and special events, but with limited descriptions.

The following other Marquette collections contain more photography of Tekakwitha Conference national and regional meetings plus the beatification and canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha and related events in North America and Vatican City/ Rome. Notable photographers at these events include Rev. Daniel Madlon, O.S.B., 1980s, Rev. Emmett Hoffmann, 1980s, Anne M. Scheuerman (AMS), 1980s-2013, Catherine Walsh, 1980s-1990s, and Herman D. Ray (HDR), 2011-. Most prints by Scheuerman, in the Tekakwitha Conference photography series and other Marquette collections, are so identified by her initials AMS.

Marquette University Digital Collections: Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, 1964, and Holy Rosary Mission - Red Cloud Indian School, 1965, 1982.

Anne M. Scheuerman Collection, -- Tekakwitha Conference national meetings, 1979-1980, 1983-1994, 1997, 1999-2012; Tekakwitha Conference Northeast regional meetings, 1983-1984, 1989; St. Kateri Tekakwitha events, 1971-2013; includes an index of notable subjects; includes negatives for most photography by Scheuerman.

Herman D. Ray Collection -- Tekakwitha Conference national meetings, 2011-; St. Kateri Tekakwitha events, 2011-; includes an index of notable subjects.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 6, Video Recordings: Primarily consumer-grade recordings from the annual meetings and institutes, which are separated by format and arranged chronologically with names of speakers and their presentations noted in the container list. In some instances, the annual meeting proceedings (series 2-1) and/or newsletters (Series 4) contain excepts or transcripts. The Index of Notable Participants lists a number of key participants identified throughout the collection, e.g. proceedings, publications, photography, recordings. The St. Francis Mission Records, series 10, contains motion pictures and reformatted recordings of the 1949 Tekakwitha Conference annual meeting.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 7, Sound Recordings: Recordings from the annual meetings and institutes are separated by format and arranged chronologically with names of speakers and their presentations noted in the container list. In some instances, the annual meeting proceedings (series 2-1) and/or newsletters (Series 4) contain excepts or transcripts. The Index of Notable Participants lists a number of key participants identified throughout the collection, e.g. proceedings, publications, photography, recordings. Many of the speakers were reported in the Tekakwitha Conference newsletters (Series 4). In some instances transcripts of presentations were also published. For some speakers, additional related materials are included in other Marquette collections, which are noted by the bracketed numbers following the speaker's name.  


Tekakwitha Conference Series 8, General Publications and Recordings: Publications and recordings collected or distributed by or presented or sold at the Tekakwitha Conference annual meetings. The Index of Notable Participants lists a number of key participants identified throughout the collection, e.g. proceedings, publications, photography, recordings.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 9, Objects: Select materials sold and given away at annual meetings. Since the 1990s, the Tekakwitha Conference National Center sold recordings (series 6), books (series 8) and related merchandise (series 9) during the annual meeting, and with local volunteers and host committees, they distributed gift tote bags (series 9) and program handouts (series 2-1) to attendees. The National Center sold branded T-shirts and other merchandise featuring the Tekakwitha Conference name, logo, meeting theme, and related images. The gift bags varied from year to year and reflected the historical, cultural, and geographic backgrounds of the local contributors. They included basic program handouts and writing materials and sundries plus a variety of snacks, rosaries, prayer cards, religious and patriotic medals, tiny bags of aromatic herbs or incense (medicines), bottles of holy water, and hand-made arts & crafts. Descriptive notes accompany some items.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 10, Financial Records: Comprised of budgets, financial reports and statements, cash books, ledgers, and journals.

Restrictions: Access to records in this series is restricted for 25 years after the date they were created.


Tekakwitha Conference Series 0, Unprocessed Records: These records have not yet been prepared for research use and some restrictions may apply. Please consult the archives staff regarding their availability.


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


Mark G. Thiel, CA (Certified Archivist)
Archivist, Marquette University
Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Reverend John P. Raynor, S.J., Library, R360
1355 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233

Raynor Memorial Libraries, P.O. Box 3141
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-3141

Telephone: (414) 288-5904
Fax: (414) 288-6709
mark.thiel@marquette.edu

ALL VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS ARE WELCOMEReturn to top of page.
 

Ask an Archivist