July 15

Reflection

Yesterday was the feast of Kateri Tekakwitha, called the “Lily of the Mohawks.” She was born in 1656 near Auriesville, New York. Her mother, a Christian, was a member of the Algonquin nation and her father was a Chief of the Mohawk tribe. Kateri lost her parents and brother to an epidemic of smallpox. She was adopted by an uncle. A convert to Christianity at age eighteen, she endured much suffering because of her desire to live a celibate and Christian life. In 1980 Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha became the first Native American to be declared a blessed. She is patroness of the environment and ecology,

Despite the recognition given to Kateri Tekakwitha, the story of the encounter between European settlers and America’s native population does not make for pleasant reading. It is the injustice of taking the native land of a people away from them for the prosperty and growth of others. The sad fate of our Native Americans represents a tragedy involving an irreconcilable collision of cultures and values, a victory of greed and lack of respect over justice.

Prayer

O God, teach us the true meaning of justice. Help us to respect the rights of others.

Action

Read or search the internet to learn the true facts of the history of the treatment of the Native Americans by the European settlers and later the United States Government.

Suggested Reading

All of us are inspired by the example of this young woman of faith who died three centuries ago this year. We are all edified by her complete trust in the providence of God, and we are encouraged by her joyful fidelity to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John Paul II

Our treatment of Indians…still affects the national consciousness….It seems a basic requirement to study the history of Indian people. Only through this study can we as a nation do what must be done if our treatment of the American Indian is not to be marked down for all time as a national disgrace.
John F. Kennedy

What we have done to the peoples who were living in North America is our Original Sin.
Sol Tax, anthropologist, foreword to This Country Was Ours

The mythology of America is based on the denial of the indigenous.
Winona LaDuke

When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, ‘Ours.’
Vine Deloria, Jr.

There is one God, and He made both Indians and white men. We were all made out of the dust of the earth.
Standing Bear 

In the John Wayne movies, the Indians were savages that were trying to scalp you. That culture has really suffered because of the stereotype you see in those westerns.
Ricky Schroder

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