Equity and Inclusion


In response to the proposal from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that congregations focus on the dismantling of racism, the Adrian Dominican Sisters began by identifying resources that can assist us in raising our consciousness of white privilege and white supremacy, both personally and systematically.

Since January 2021, our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters have collaborated on a project to provide information on prominent Black and Indigenous Catholics who have made significant contributions to the church and society, along with reflection questions and a prayer.

In May of 2022, Kevin D. Hofmann was named the founding Director of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion for the Congregation. With the goal of normalizing conversations about race and culture and discussing what it means to feel included and excluded, Kevin began contributing to this blog in June of 2022 and shares his unique experience of growing up Black in a white family in Detroit.

 

Equity and Inclusion Project

rss

Click here to return to the latest update


Nicholas Black Elk

Nicholas Black Elk, Lakota Holy Man and Catechist

Servant of God Nicholas Black Elk:
Lakota Holy Man and Catechist

We have investigated racism in light of outstanding African Americans who were known for their deep faith and commitment to Catholicism. This month we focus and reflect on the horrors of racism regarding our indigenous brothers and sisters. We reflect on Black Elk or Heȟáka Sápa, which is his Lakota (Sioux) name. Black Elk was known as a visionary of the Oglala Lakota tribe, a traditional healer (Medicine Man) and is a candidate for canonization in the Catholic Church.

What took place in the 400 years between Christopher Columbus’ arrival in what became the United States and the birth of Black Elk was horrific. Land grabbing and forced exile by the newly arrived colonists were key to life in the New World. Greed dominated transactions. Treaties were made between the Natives and the colonists and were quickly broken or disregarded. It was commonly thought that only Christian people were fit to inhabit the New World.

Black Elk was born in what is now Wyoming. Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, and part of both Dakotas were then known as Lakota Territory. Like his father, Black Elk was a warrior. He participated in both the Battle of Little Big Horn and the massacre at Wounded Knee. After Wounded Knee, his tribe was forced to live on a reservation. The Lakota became impoverished and prisoners on their own land that had been granted them by a treaty.

At age five, Black Elk had the first of two visions. It was revealed to him in his visions that he was destined to become a powerful leader. He believed that he was commanded to save his people and the planet.

Black Elk grew up participating in indigenous religion. His first wife converted to Catholicism; in 1904, shortly after his wife’s death, Black Elk was baptized and raised his children as Catholics. The story of his baptism is told that as a Lakota Medicine Man (healer), Black Elk, along with a local Jesuit missionary, were both called to the tent of a seriously ill young boy. Black Elk, using his drum and tobacco, began to sing, calling on the spirits to heal the boy. In the midst of the tribal ceremony, Father Joseph Lindbender, SJ, arrived. He was horrified of the pagan ways of this ceremony. The sick boy had been baptized. The priest did his healing ritual and invited Black Elk back to Holy Rosary Mission.

Two weeks later Black Elk was baptized Nicholas Black Elk. Nicholas Black Elk continued as a Lakota Medicine Man and as a Catholic Catechist. He was known to use both his pipe and his rosary on a regular basis while praying. He was able to integrate both the Lakota and Catholic religions into his spirituality.

In 2016, Nicolas Black Elk’s grandson, George Look Twice, petitioned a bishop to consider him for canonization.

 

Resources

Black Elk cannonization website
https://blackelkcanonization.com

Film on Black Elk
https://blackelkcanonization.com/black-elk-documentary/

Historia Magazine Article by Alec Marsh, 25 October 2021
https://www.historiamag.com/black-elk-lakota-sioux-holy-man-warrior-survivor/

Lecture by Greg Salyer, PhD (President of the Philosophical Research Society) for series “Voices of Wisdom from Native Cultures”
https://youtu.be/5mdgv2kfqTs

Lecture by historian Damian Costello “The Legacy of Nicholas Black Elk.” Costello is also author of the book Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism (Orbis Books)
https://blackelkcanonization.com

Knights of Columbus Article
https://www.kofc.org/en/news-room/columbia/2021/september/knights-of-the-heights.html


Reflection Questions

1. What interests you most abut the life of Nicholas Black Elk?

2. Name other noteworthy Indigenous people you are aware of.

3. If you have ever visited a Native American reservation, recall what life was like for our Indigenous brothers and sisters.


Prayer

Prayer of Nicholas Black Elk

Grandfather, Great Sacred One,
  you have been always,
  and before you nothing has been.
There is nothing to pray to but you.

The star nations all over the universe are yours,
  and yours are the grasses of the earth.
Day in and day out, you are the life of things.
You are older than all need,
  older than all pain and prayer.

Grandfather, all over the world
  the faces of the living ones are alike.
  In tenderness they have come up
  out of the ground.
Look upon your children
  with children in their arms,
  that they may face the winds,
  and walk the good road to the day of quiet.

Teach me to walk the soft earth,
  a relative to all that live.
Sweeten my heart and fill me with light,
  and give me the strength to understand
  and the eyes to see.
Help me, for without you I am nothing.

Amen.

© Diocese of Rapid City. Used with permission.

 

your Comment will be showing after administrator's approval







b i u quote


Save Comment
Showing 0 Comment


Subscribe to receive these blog posts directly to your email inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time and we do not use your information for any other purpose.

  • Equity and Inclusion Blog

Search Equity and Inclusion Blog

Recent Posts

  • Black History Month | Week One Posted 6 days ago
    Black History Month | Week One By Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion The theme for this year's Black History Month is “Black Resistance.” I thought there would be no better ...
  • Tyre Nichols, Our Ancestor Posted 5 days ago
    Tyre Nichols loved photographing sunsets. We share this photo in his memory. Tyre Nichols, Our Ancestor By Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion I didn’t plan on writing a blog this week. ...
  • 28 Days Posted last week
    28 Days By Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion In less than a week, we will launch Black History Month. I have mixed feelings about it. Part of me is upset ...
  • I’m So Glad He Didn’t Sneeze Posted 2 weeks ago
    I’m So Glad He Didn’t Sneeze By Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion “I’ve written a play and I was hoping you would consider playing a part in the play,” Sister ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Summary of Survey Results Posted 3 weeks ago
    Black Catholic Project: Summary of Survey Results Thank you to all who completed our survey inviting your feedback on the 25 profiles and contributions of Black Catholics. We value your opinions. Here is a summary ...
  • I Was Never Taught About Kwanzaa Posted last month
    I Was Never Taught About Kwanzaa By Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion When I think back about my own education, I get a little angry. My curriculum rarely included any ...
  • All Dad Wanted for Christmas Was a Snake Posted last month
    All Dad Wanted for Christmas Was a Snake By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion The downtown Detroit air was cold and every time the wind blew it reminded you that ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Kwanzaa Posted last month
    Black Catholic Project: Kwanzaa Kwanzaa, celebrated from December 26 to January 1, is a time for families and communities to come together to remember the past and to celebrate African American culture. Created in 1966 ...
  • One Awkward Uncomfortable Step Posted last month
    One Awkward Uncomfortable Step By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion During the pandemic, after we realized we would be sheltered in place for the summer of 2020, my wife and ...
  • Christmas from a Different Angle Posted 2 months ago
    Photo: St. Anthony Padua Parish Church in the Philippines decorated for Simbang Gabi, by Patpat nava, CC BY-SA 4.0.   Christmas from a Different Angle By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion As ...
Read More »

People of African Descent on the Path to Sainthood

Printable bookmark of African Americans on their Way to Sainthood (PDF)

U.S. Black Catholic History Links

Black Catholic History page by Seattle University

Timeline from the National Black Catholic Congress

Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series

News report on one of the oldest Black Catholic parishes in the U.S., St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (formerly St. Monica) in Chicago, Illinois