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Native American Affairs


"The Catholic community is blessed, enriched and profoundly challenged by the faith of Native Americans in our midst. We ask the Catholic community to join us in seeking new understanding and awareness of their situation and in committing our church to new advocacy and action with our Native American brothers and sisters on issues of social justice and pastoral life which touch their lives."

Excerpt from the 2003 "Native American Catholics at the Millennium"

Welcome from the Subcommittee Chairman

Dear friends in Christ,

Thank you for visiting the web page for the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs.  Our country's Native peoples are the true "first Americans."  I'm very grateful for my own Native American ancestry (Prairie Band Potawatomi).  Yet the history of America's Native peoples has often been difficult, and the challenges facing them -- even today -- remain complex. 

This makes the Church's outreach to Native Americans all the more important.  Jesus Christ transcends sin and cultural divides.  Only He can heal the wounds, some of which linger today, of the many past conflicts that shaped this nation's growth across a continent.  The task of the Church in our time is to be the presence of Jesus Christ to Native peoples, providing support, solace, encouragement and the Gospel of salvation.  She also has the task of defending the dignity of Native Americans, deepening their self-respect as children of God, and insisting on that same respect for Native Americans from wider American culture.  This is worthy and rewarding ministry.  I'm proud of the Catholic community in the United States for embracing it.  And I invite others to join in it.

May Saint Kateri Tekakwitha grant all of us a spark of her faith and zeal, and may God use us to be a source of hope and confidence for all our Native people.

+ Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Chairman, Subcommittee on Native American Affairs


The Subcommittee Mandate

The subcommittee on Native American Affairs is under the direction of and assists the Committee on Cultural Diversity within the Church by working directly with the standing committee and collaboratively with other USCCB committees to address the pastoral concerns of Native American (North American Aboriginals) Catholics to affirm the gifts and contributions of Native American Catholics and to provide more opportunities for Native American Catholics to engage in the life of the Church and help shape its evangelization mission.

This mandate includes the following areas of responsibility:

The subcommittee is directly responsible for outreach to Native American Catholics under the direction of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.

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