ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Some Mohawks are treating the naming of the nation's first Native American saint with skepticism and fear that the Roman Catholic Church will try to use it to marginalize traditional spiritual practices.
They see the story of Kateri Tekakwitha (KA'-tehr-ee teh-kuh-KWIH'-thuh) as a reminder of colonial atrocities and religious oppression.
Many Catholics and Native Americans speak of Kateri as a uniting figure and hope her elevation to sainthood will help heal old wounds.
The daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Catholic Algonquin woman, Kateri was born in 1656 in Auriesville, about 40 miles northwest of Albany and in the heart of the Iroquois (EER'-uh-koy) Confederacy to which the Mohawks belong.
She and six others were made saints last Sunday by the Catholic Church.