Preserving artifacts that were made here, used here, and remain here

Fr. Eugene Buechel, SJ, is shown in an undated photo from the Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum archives.

Featuring the Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum, St. Francis Mission

Fr. Jacob Boddicker, SJ

(Editor’s note: The first part of this series ran in the May 2020 West River Catholic, highlighting the Heritage Center at Holy Rosary Mission, Pine Ridge. Part II is a highlight of The Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum, St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.)

We are in a unique position to visit this phenomenal museum and appreciate the contrast between our archives and a museum.

In 1947 a Jesuit missionary priest named Fr. Eugene Buechel (beak-ull), celebrated his fiftieth anniversary in the Society of Jesus. That same year the Lakota Museum was built in St. Francis, offering a means of displaying the massive collection of Father Buechel’s. Today, seventy years later, the museum still stands. It has grown since his death in 1954 with continued donations of items entrusted to the safekeeping of the St. Francis Mission.

Father  Buechel was born in Germany in 1874, entering the Society of Jesus in 1897. From 1902 to 1904 he taught at the boarding school in St. Francis before going to St. Louis to finish his training for the priesthood, which occurred in 1906. He would move between Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations before returning to the St. Francis in 1929, remaining there until his death.

He dedicated his life to two pursuits: evangelizing the Lakota people and seeking to share the treasures of our faith with the native people of this land, and doing all he could to learn and preserve their culture, primarily by means of photography, artifact collection, and linguistic study.

One of his greatest accomplishments was the compilation of the first Lakota-English dictionary, containing over 30,000 words, including rare and archaic words nearly lost or forgotten in recent years. As he continued to learn from the Lakota people, they saw his love for their culture and desire to preserve it for future generations, leading to the donation of many personal items; the museum’s collection of authentic beadwork, clothing, weapons and other items dating as far back as the mid-1800s, before the establishment of the Rosebud Reservation.

It is thought that the museum contains one of the largest collections of Native American artifacts outside of major institutions like the Smithsonian and various universities. The collection is possibly the only  such collection still present among the culture to which its items belong: the items were made here, used here, and remain here.

Next to the museum is a small wooden church named Holy Family. It was originally located on the prairie northeast of Parmelee, and was closed in the 1940s. In the 1970s it was moved to its current location, repaired, and repurposed as an addition to the museum. On display within are a number of artifacts showcasing the Catholic faith of the Lakota people on the Rosebud. This tiny church represents the thirty or more small churches that once dotted the reservation, which once included Tripp and Melette counties, in addition to Todd county.

In November Father Boddicker tells what the museum has to offer.

What’s your pandemic story?

 

 

Preserving a Catholic Community
By Kathy Cordes, Diocesan Archivist

Has your prayer life strengthened? Has your family bonded like never before? Have you watched Mass at your parish on social media? A few of our greatest blessings during our quarantine time — priests on social media, Mass and being able to watch multiple homilies on any given day, talks concerning discernment and other areas of prayer-life, the Quarantine Quiz by the Office of Faith Formation, walking with the saints, learning how Star Wars relates to my faith and watching a priest humbly ironing altar linens!

These memories we create now in this 2020 pandemic are of great significance for our future history and for our archives.

The diocesan archives move has been completed and renamed the St. Anthony of Padua diocesan archives. St. Anthony is an archival patron saint, definitely mine! For example, while trying to locate a letter from the era of the 1960’s, I often say the little  prayer my grandmother taught me …. “Tony, Tony come around, somethings lost and can’t be found.” Do you do this, too? St. Anthony does come around, many times. This quarantine has been a boon to the archives as I am able to put, dare I say organize, the archives in working order after the Chancery merge and move.

Did you see the recently released “Walking the Good Red Road: Nicholas Black Elk’s Journey to Sainthood?” This docu-drama has been very well received. I have had many, many calls from all over the United States and Canada.

After talking with these Black Elk enthusiasts from all over the country, it has really come to light how blessed we are during this pandemic time to have internet and social media to connect with each other. While we pray daily for those suffering or those who have lost a loved one, we must remember past pandemics, when people were without the privileges of modern technology. The influenza pandemic in 1918 or the polio epidemic in which schools closed in South Dakota circa late 1940s … we must preserve the history that belongs with these events.

We must write our stories, photograph and share our stories so that future generations will be able to garner knowledge and valuable information. Future archivists and genealogists will be able to research and find answers to their questions, because of us.

Our parishes were recently asked to send in their pandemic plans to promote the gospel during these trying times. So, please, send YOUR story along with your parish story to the archives. Preserve your family and our church history. The archives are the foundation of our Catholic Church history.  Just like 1948, 2020 will be a year to remember.

1www.sdpb.org/blogs/images-of-the-past/west-river-childrens-hospital-polio-cneter-1949/

 

Difference between an Archive and a museum: The Heritage Center

Red Cloud Indian School students engage in object based learning through observation and interaction with The Heritage Center’s exhibits and permanent collection.

Archive: A collection of historical documents or artifacts.

Museum: A place that has displays for people to come and view historical documents and artifacts.

Many museums can be considered archives, but an archive is not necessarily a museum. My intention this month is to highlight the difference between an Archive and a Museum. The Diocese of Rapid City is in a unique position with two Native American Reservations holding phenomenal museums. The following is a highlight of The Heritage Museum in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.  —Kathy Cordes, Archivist

By Mary Maxon, Director Heritage Center

The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge is one of the earliest cultural centers and museums located on an Indian reservation in the United States. Our programming explores the rich skills and creativity that are mainstays of the local Lakota and other Native American cultures. We are deeply committed to our work to strengthen cultural pride and celebrate, as well as preserve, the local Lakota culture and artistic tradition.

We are more than just a museum or art gallery. We are also an economic engine on the Pine Ridge Reservation. With rates of up to 80%  unemployment here, the Lakota community faces challenging economic and social conditions in southwestern South Dakota. Yet through the Center’s gift shop and online store, local artists are empowered to increase their own economic self-sufficiency by making their incredible work available to a wider community and in doing so, preserve their work and extend appreciation for their artistry to all corners of the globe.

The Heritage Center program began through understanding that arts, creativity, and the making of beautiful objects are essential to Lakota culture and learning. The Annual Red Cloud Indian Art Show was started as an avenue to celebrate native art and artists on the reservation, and a way for native artists to get a foot in the door and learn about the ins and outs of gallery shows and retail selling. To support the show and the participating artists, Red Cloud Indian School staff purchased three award-winning pieces from the 1969 Red Cloud Indian Art Show. Each subsequent year, they continued to purchase new pieces, and ultimately amassed a diverse and important collection of works by local and national native artists.

The Heritage Center facility, located in historic Drexel Hall, is dedicated to protecting, growing, and exhibiting that collection. What began with those three early pieces now includes an estimated 10,000 pieces of Lakota and other native art, from priceless historical artifacts to cutting-edge modern works. Since its formal creation in 1982, The Heritage Center has continued to expand this unique  and diverse collection of native art — and uses it to create groundbreaking exhibitions and arts education programs.

The Heritage Center’s mission is to honor native art and to expand opportunities for native artists. The Center’s gallery exhibitions have brought tens of thousands of visitors to the Pine Ridge Reservation and been displayed in museums across the country. Through its gift shop, the Center purchases and sells works by local native artists to increase economic opportunity on the reservation and beyond. Also, its team develops innovative, arts-based educational programs to increase the public’s understanding of native art and Lakota culture.

Generations have risen to call his name Blessed — The Fruits of Fr. Columban

Fr. Columban Bregenzer, OSB

Preserving a Catholic Community By Kathy Cordes, Diocesan Archivist

Interview with the Very Reverend Fr. Columban Bregenzer, OSB, VG, on August 12, 1941, titled Easter Sick Call.  Some license was taken to correct grammar, terminology and it includes two interviews.  In his own words, “the following story illustrates the difficulties under which the early missionaries were forced to labor.” 

After conducting the strenuous Easter Holy Week services at St. Martin Convent I was called in the later afternoon of Holy Saturday, to accompany the doctor to a distant ranch on a sick call.  We traveled in the usual conveyance of that time, a spring wagon with a horse. 

It was close to midnight by the time I had completed the religious rites and I desired to return immediately. I knew that penitents would be waiting for me Easter morning, but the fatigue of the horse and condition of the roads, for it had begun to rain, made my return impossible until morning.

The sick calls in those days were awful working conditions. When the people came to get the doctor, I, Father Columban (as I wish to be called), went out with him. When it snowed, once, I got so lost so I let the reins loose and the horse went home. Sometimes, a team was hired at the livery stable for me.

In 1902, with Bishop Stariha as first prelate, there were five priests, including myself to take care of the 41,000 square miles. The country was full of cattle men who came in once or twice a year to get supplies and then went to holy Mass and communion — those days the church was packed! 

The best that the family could offer me for my lodging was the garret and a sack of straw. The scurrying of the mice over my body was not conducive to sleep. As early as possible I was on the road and reached Sturgis about eight o’clock in the morning. 

The sisters had been waiting for two hours for holy Communion; the soldiers from nearby Fort Meade crowded the church waiting for a chance to make their Easter duty. After giving holy Communion to the sisters and hearing the confessions of the soldiers it was time for the ten o’clock high Mass. After Solemn Vespers in the afternoon I could finally seek much needed repose. 

I was not the first Benedictine in the Hills. Father Joachim came here in 1892. My Abbot told me that he wouldn’t leave me here longer than holy week. He also did not tell me about the size of the field, or about traveling to Lemmon and Faith. I came out to a little church. Yet, I said “you ought to have a holy man for this work.” Little did I know, that weeklong assignment would turn into 39 years!

Fr. Columban was hailed for his charity, his sense of justice, and his great desire for unity. His efforts as a priest of God and the spiritual guidance he gave his parishioners was an inspiration to the entire community and the surrounding settlements.

On September 10, 1988, Father was entered into the South Dakota Hall of Fame. This award was posthumously accepted by Sr. Marmion Howe.

The history of our own diocese remains fruitful and continues to bear fruit as the Gospel of St. John commands, “your fruit shall remain” (Jn 15:16-19).

 

Clear vision for the diocesan archives

 

Preserving a Catholic Community By Kathy Cordes, Diocesan Archivist

(Writer’s note: These firsts do not encompass the of history of the five Indian Reservations in the Diocese of Rapid City.)

History will be made in 2020 with the first Catholic Pastoral Center in our diocese. Following are lists of the firsts we have recorded. Unfortunately, the claims for these firsts are not well documented and many dates contradict one another. These make for interesting history discussions. We would love for someone to say — “hey, wait a minute our marriage was the first recorded in …” and then we could record it as the diocesan’s firsts.  

From the Dakotas to New Dakota Territory to Lead City to Diocese of Lead City and finally, to the Diocese of Rapid City – The recorded first priest, diocesan or religious order; the first Mass, low or high Mass; first church (framed, wooden or structure).

The first West River Catholic issue was published in May 1973. Publisher: Bishop Harold J. Dimmerling, Editor: Fr. William J. O’Connell. The diocesan cathedral was dedicated on May 7, 1963. Ten years later to the day the first issue was published. It was “to serve as reminder to everyone that the Blessed Virgin plays an important part in our spiritual life.”

The first Mass in Rapid City was celebrated on Christmas Day, 1883 by Rapid City’s first resident pastor, Rev. Alfred Vigeant in the first church of any denomination to be built in the new town. St. Mary Catholic Church (framed) was constructed beginning in 1881. -Excerpt from Rapid City in Retrospect, published 1982.  

The first resident Jesuit Catholic priest in 1876 was Father Bernard Mackin, SJ. He was reportedly the first priest buried in St. Ambrose Cemetery. Interestingly enough, the first cemetery – St. Ambrose, the Catholic section (also called Mount Moriah) was established in Deadwood in the early 1880s. -St. Ambrose Parish 100th Anniversary booklet 1877-1977.

St. Ambrose was the first Catholic church in our diocese. Fr. John Lonergan presided at the first public low Mass in Deadwood on May 20, 1877. -The Black Hills Daily Times, Dakota Territory, 1877.

The first Mass reportedly was said in Kendall, Dakota Territory, in 1683 by a French missionary priest. Among the fur traders, he paused to say Mass for any group he came across. -Typewritten statement, author unknown. 

The first Spanish speaking missionary, Rev. Pedro Morante, was in charge of the Spanish mission people in the Black Hills. 

The first grammar school was named St. Martin Academy in honor of Bishop Martin Marty.

The first hospital, St. Edward Hospital was opened 1878 in Deadwood and staffed by Sisters of the Holy Cross. 

“In order to make this (these firsts) as interesting as possible I would appreciate any news clippings, photos, written historical remembrances that parishioners might have which would help tell the history of our diocese.” Fr. Eugene Szalay, May 1973, wrote in the first column “Heritage In the Faith” published in first West River Catholic newspaper. 

The well-known mantra of all archivists as reiterated in Fr. Szalay’s message above, of yesteryear and for the future, we must preserve and report history and send it to the archives! 

St. Joseph School in Gregory formed a rhythm band which made its first public appearing in Gregory May 2, 1929. — Dedication booklet, 1969 St. Joseph Parish

A sneak peek at the new diocesan archives

Those who have toured the basement love that I have put my title on the door already. (WRC photo)

Did you know there are three floors in our new pastoral center? Not many people do. A basement is often overlooked but in the new pastoral center this floor will be taking on new life as we move our current diocesan archives. The move in date has yet to be determined.

The diocesan archives have been on quite a journey. Over the years, we have moved from a 290 (est.) square footage one room Chancery building basement (behind the Cathedral) to nearly 2,000 square feet at Terra Sancta Chancery Annex to the upcoming new Pastoral Center in downtown Rapid City.

Our diocesan archives are at maximum capacity!  Making this new move will enable us to work more efficiently, timely, up to date. Currently, the archives occupy five rooms on two floors, and two small closets at Terra Sancta.  My main workspace serves as an office and processing area all in one.  At times, more often than not, it looks as if I am moving and there are boxes and artifacts all over! Packages and boxes are left on my doorstep, sometimes anonymously, as someone is usually downsizing or cleaning out their attic. 

The new floor space will be in a much larger room with the space needed to process files, artifacts and collections. These will be easy to access and items will not be stacked on top of one another. Additional surfaces for sorting and arranging collections and some storage for supplies will be beneficial. I will have ample storage space and I will be able to scan photographs and books without moving a separate desk around to line up with my computer. My hopes are to purchase a book scanner that permanently sits on a separate desk to use efficiently and not have to move and reinstall this piece of equipment every time I want to use it. I will be able to work among the ‘stacks’ and not have to move my research into a different office. 

Our diocese must adhere to record retention guidelines regulated by S.D. state law and our church Canon Laws. Canon law states a diocese must have adequate space to store records and artifacts.  Canon Law also defines what records need to be stored permanently. Records such as financial records, employee records, etc. must adhere to South Dakota State Retention guidelines. 

Windows are typically not used in archival storage areas. This practice is used to protect collections from light, humidity and excess heat gain or loss. Different areas to house such items as tin type negatives are individually temperature-controlled areas along with an area to house photos that will not be subject to the same elements as above.

Growth and expansion are important for our future, our history, and our especially Catholic history. We are called as Christians to reach out to the next generation, to pass on our faith. The foundation being the heart of Catholic history just may be found in the basement!

Curia Corner — Servant of God Nicholas Black Elk, Pray for Us

A look inside the shrine to Nicholas Black Elk that Red Cloud students created. It is on a little patch of land outside of the school in Pine Ridge. (Photo courtesy Red Cloud Indian School)

 

Preserving a Catholic Community by Kathy Cordes, Diocesan Archivist

Diocesan update on canonization cause

“We are basically waiting for the thumbs-up from the Holy Father, Pope Francis!” says Fr. Joe Daoust, SJ. “I am hopeful that Nicholas Black Elk is declared Venerable soon!” 

Now that the final reporting from our diocese was sent to Rome in June of this year, in hopes of continuing the canonization cause, the Black Elk working group has begun the task of promoting and furthering the cause of sainthood.

Members of that group are Fr. Luis Escalante, procurator for the cause; Vice -Postulators Fr. Joe Daoust, SJ, Bill White, Veronica Valandra and myself; Mark Thiel, Marquette University; Fr. Andre Benso, Italy; Joyce Tibbits; and Black Elk family descendants Myron Pourier, Penny Wolters, and Mitch Desera. We all are dedicated to promoting this cause, awaiting miracles to flow forth, and to see Black Elk become the first male Native American canonized saint in the U.S.

Many people are still learning the levels of deep respect that Native Americans have for family values.

Black Elk’s headstone reads, Chief Black Elk 1858-1950. At one of our group meetings, it was

explained that the word chief has other meanings to the Lakota. Although never technically a chief — someone who is a leader in the military, designated by rank, etc. — Ben Black Elk, Nicholas’ son, and his family bestowed the honor of chief to Nicholas because he was a humble Lakota and because of people’s devotion to him.

Black Elk is alive and well across the country, in South Dakota, at Red Cloud Indian School, and on the Pine Ridge Reservation. We must continue to bring that education and excitement to the world around us. The children at Red Cloud have built a shrine/grotto to Black Elk on a little patch of land outside of the school in Pine Ridge. They also have several school activities planned. Bill White is developing a talk for school children. 

John Corry, a layperson from St. Katherine Drexel Parish in Beaver Damn, Wis., promotes Nicholas Black Elk at every Mass he can. “I have a spiritual affinity, for some reason to Nicholas Black Elk,” he says. “I believe in the communion of saints, so I always add Nicholas and ask him to pray for me.” He goes on to say that he prays for Black Elk intentions for several others who are having health challenges. “Miracles happen everywhere, why not here in Wisconsin?” he said.

How can you help further the cause for Canonization of Nicholas Black Elk?

1) Pray. Through your prayers for the successful carrying out of this canonization process and by praying to him for his help in any distress so that all can walk the good red road toward God.

2) Evangelize. Spread the devotion to him as an exemplar of Native American

holiness, bringing the gifts of the Holy Spirit in indigenous spirituality forward in the church. 

3) Donate. You can help the Nicholas Black Elk Fund in the diocese of Rapid City which was established to help cover the costs of carrying this process forward at www.rapidcitydiocese.org under the “Make a Gift” tab. Please designate your gift to Nicholas Black Elk.

“Nicholas — pray for us as we open our hearts to recognize the risen Christ in other cultures and peoples, to your glory and honor” (from prayer for the Canonization of Nicholas Black Elk).

What does a Vice-Postulator do?

Once Nicholas Black Elk is declared venerable the vice-postulators will represent the Postulator, Father Luis Escalante, in carrying out any investigation and anything necessary to further the cause of Nicholas Black Elk. This includes talking a closer look at miracles and items attributed to Black Elk. Vice-postulators can include people from the diocese and other interested parties from across the U.S.

 

Curia Corner — Moments in the diocesan archives

St. Anthony, St. Anthony, dear St. Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and needs to be found. Please Grant me the serenity to accept the collections I cannot decline and the courage to decline the collections I can!

Did you know that archivists have their own serenity prayer and that St. Anthony is a major help when it comes to discovering and maintaining an archive and its historical artifacts?! 

Moments in the diocesan archives: Fr. Carlos Casavantes, FSSP, Immaculate Conception Parish, Rapid City, brought in this gem of an unidentified miter cap in a silk casing (right). Who does this belong to? Who wore this and when? Still researching but quietly hoping it is from the early years. St. Anthony …

A tourist couple from North Dakota was visiting Terra Sancta last week, inquiring as to the status of the cause of Nicholas Black Elk. After sharing their interest and collecting our brochures, and prayer cards of Black Elk, they asked for us to pray for them as they are in need of a family miracle. Nicholas Black Elk, pray for all those suffering and grant this couple the miracle they are so eagerly searching for.

Two newsletters have expressed an interest in publishing our accounts of Nicholas Black Elk. Exciting news as we continue to spread the word of this exciting cause and help Nicholas reach sainthood! 

I am assisting Fr. Joh Paul Trask with his hours of research of Eagle Butte and the land property on the Cheyenne Reservation. Eagle Bute has numerous parishes, missions and cemeteries. We are trying to preserve thos stories lost from the elders of family and the history that surrounds them before those parishes become only a memory. 

At the Summit 2019 last weekend, a few approached me and said “the picture you found of Bishop McCarty waving while driving a tractor” (right) that was used for the  Cathedral “Living the Mission Campaign” was fabulous.  They also curiously mentioned, “Are they really sticking you in the basement of the new pastoral center?” … The most infamous question as of yet! Stay tuned!

St. Anthony, St. Anthony pray for our diocesan archives and our daily work. Help us to uncover the treasures of our history and reveal our mission as we walk in HIS path! 

Curia Corner — Behind the scenes of the closing of the diocesan phase of Nicholas Black Elk

To examine all the writings and documents related to the Servant of God Nicholas Black Elk was the charge of the Historical Commission for the diocesan cause of the canonization.

We were comprised of Mark G. Thiel, CA, President of the Commission, Archives of Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University, Wisc; Father Michael Steltenkamp, SJ, professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies, Wheeling Jesuit University, W.Va.; and myself, representing the Diocese of Rapid City as archivist.

The final report, from the Diocese of Rapid City, supporting the canonization of Nicholas Black Elk, Servant of God, was signed and sealed with wax before it went to Rome. (Courtesy photo)

Forming a collaborative network was quite a task. We were to search out and gather all published writings, those not yet published as well as historical documents. Father Luis Escalante, Postulator from Italy, asked that we research local areas, repositories, Black Elk’s time spent in Yankton/Vermillion areas, and to check Wyoming where he was reportedly born. One finding incorrectly reported Black Elk as being born in Montana.

Many, many emails, phone calls exchanging ideas, hours of research, waiting for return phone calls and excitement shared that one of us had found this or found that. “Did you know, there is a park in Nebraska …” “Please check out …” read one email. Another remarked “ Hmmmm, I had never heard of that manuscript of his …”

Thiel said, “The Historical Commission’s quest for archival documentation has been an exciting adventure of hunting and stalking into the past. With pain staking scrutiny, we uncovered and studied holdings large and small, which illuminated Black Elk’s holiness and added clues about obscure parts of his life. (Did you know that our diocesan archives and Marquette have an extensive collaboration between the diocese and St. Francis and Holy Rosary Indian Missions?)

The final Historical Commission Report detailed why the name change to Black Elk Peak, several photos of Mass being celebrated on top of Black Elk Peak and much more. To view the full Historical Commission report, please visit our diocesan webpage www.rapidcitydiocese.org. The link to Black Elk, Servant of God is in the lower left corner of the home page.

Many others from the diocese also put in many hours of work on Black Elk’s cause. The personal letters written by Nicholas Black Elk in Lakota were verified by Father Joe Daoust, SJ, of Pine Ridge and translated by Patricia Catches the Enemy, both of Pine Ridge. Catches the Enemy was the Official Verifying Translator on the inquiring commission of Cause of Canonization of the Servant of God — concerning the Life and Virtues and Father Daoust is Episcopal Delegate of the Cause of Black Elk.

“Nicholas — pray for us as we open our hearts to recognize the Risen Christ in other cultures and peoples, to your glory and honor” (from prayer for the Canonization of Nicholas Black Elk).

Curia Corner — Match Game Edition

When it was announced that Bishop Robert Gruss was being moved to the Diocese of Saginaw, the Diocesan Archives received many questions regarding the history of the bishop’s office. The diocese has had eight bishops, an Vicar Apostolic of the Dakotas and a Coadjutor Bishop. Each of them developed their own crest and motto. Can you name which bishop goes with which crest? Need help? Here’s a list of bishops:

Bishop Martin Marty
Bishop John Stariha
Bishop Joseph Busch
Bishop William McCarty
Bishop Leo Dworschak
Bishop John Lawler
Bishop Harold Dimmerling
Bishop Charles Chaput
Bishop Blase Cupich
Bishop Robert Gruss

Notice there are eight crests and 10 bishops on this list. We don’t have a record the crests for two bishops. Answers are below. Good luck.

Answers: 1) Bishop Harold Dimmerling, fifth bishop, 1969-1987; 2) Bishop Robert Gruss, eighth bishop, 2011-2019; 3) Bishop John Lawler, third bishop, 1916-1948; 4) Bishop Blase Cupich, seventh bishop, 1998-2010; 5) Bishop Charles Chaput, sixth bishop, 1988-1997; 6) Coadjutor Bishop Leo Dworschak, 1946-1947; 7) Vicar Apostolic of the Dakotas Bishop Martin Marty, 1879-1895; 8) Bishop William McCarty, sixth bishop.