October 19, 2012
Toronto, ON — Kateri Tekakwitha, also known as the “lily of the Mohawks,” will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012. She is the first person from an Indigenous Nation in North America to reach sainthood in the Catholic church.
A number of First Nations citizens are organizing trips to Rome to celebrate the international recognition of the achievements of a fellow Indigenous citizen. Members of the Mohawk Nation, including those from the communities of Tyendinaga, Kahnawa:ke and Akwesasne, will be in attendance along with Grand Chief Michael Ahríhron Delisle Jr. and Chief Rhonda Kirby of Kahnawa:ke.
Kahnawa:ke is busy in preparation for the celebrations and organizing the broadcast of the canonization throughout the community. Grand Chief Delisle Jr. states, “Kateri’s canonization is a very significant event, not only for the Mohawk faithful, but for Native people throughout North America…and beyond. We know that there will be millions of people sharing in the celebrations of this day. The fact that a quiet and unassuming woman of peace who died so long ago will be acknowledged and remembered at this level is something we can all be proud of.”
“The Chiefs of Ontario lend their congratulations to the Indigenous citizens who have long awaited this recognition of our Mohawk sister. This is a great opportunity for members of the international community, including those of all faiths, to learn more of our Nations here on Turtle Island,” stated Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy.
Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in the Mohawk community of Ossernenon, and served in a Catholic mission near present day Kahnawa:ke. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1980, and she has been honored by the Catholic Church as the patroness of ecology, nature, and the environment.
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and secretariat for collective decision making, action and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario.
For more information, please contact:
Andre Morriseau, Media Relations
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