Produced by the Knights of the Columbus and available to view for free on its website (also on DVD), Enduring Faith: The Story of Native American Catholics traces the history, spiritual and cultural gifts of the first Americans to convert to Catholicism.
From the website:
Discover how in the 16th century, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to an Indigenous elder as a mestiza woman and generated the largest conversion in world history.
Hear the inspiring story of the first canonized Native American saint, St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Learn about a 20th-century Lakota healer, Nicholas Black Elk, whose cause for canonization is currently open in Rome.
The documentary also deals with the tougher parts of Native Catholic history. From the website:
This film will inspire in viewers a deeper appreciation for the spiritual and cultural gifts of Native American Catholics, a greater awareness of the wrongs inflicted upon them by the unjust policies of the British and American governments, and a sense of hope at how Native American Catholics continue to live out their faith in fully enculturated ways today
The Knights of Columbus have joined the Windrider Institute as a presenting sponsor for 2021-22. Windrider is a production company, and an esteemed partner of Family Theater Productions in several films.
Windrider is also an official partner of the Sundance Film Festival, as host of the year-round Windrider Summit and an event at the Sundance Film Festival (in which FTP is also a participant).
Together with the Knights, Windrider produced an episode of its conversation series The W, focusing on Enduring Faith.
FTP Senior Producer Megan Harrington, a recent Emmy-winner for our sports doc The House That Rob Built, interviewed Father Henry Sands (Ojibwe, Ottawa and Potawatomi), a longtime Knight and executive director of the Black and Indian Mission Office in Washington, D.C.; and the Knights' Supreme Secretary Patrick Mason (Osage Nation).
Click here to watch the whole thing, but below find highlights of the conversation.
"In a lot of ways, our communities have a very unique chance to bring that message of love in this modern world, where there's so much hurt going on.
"And we say, 'Look, we've been through this. We've experienced pain, we've experienced suffering, and yet we still love Christ.'
"We want to bring that love to you as we live in community with each other, all of our communities are going to be stronger for that interaction."
Some of the common traits among the various Native tribes and nations that can be shared with others are: the strong sense of family, commitment to family, respect for elders, the respect that we give to the land and also living in community. Those are values that are very important.
Image: Deacon Ben Black Bear, Jr. (screenshot)/Knights of Columbus
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.