Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2012

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Daniel Capper

Advisor Department

Philosophy and Religion


This thesis offers an investigation of the factors contributing to the devotion of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha among members of the United Houma Nation. Previous religious and ethnographic studies have examined the veneration of holy figures among minority groups and have produced valuable writings that increase the awareness and understanding of the religious participants’ social, political, spiritual, and personal motives for devotion. Interviews with members of the United Houma Nation reveal several factors contributing to their veneration of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha including themes such as shared native heritage, emotional religious connection, recognition for American Indian peoples, opportunities to express indigenous spirituality within the context of the Roman Catholic Church, and cross-cultural relationships established and maintained through active devotion to Kateri Tekakwitha. Additionally, interviews present Houma individuals’ before and after reflections on the long-awaited announcement of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha’s upcoming canonization as the first Native American saint.