search : contact us : about us : site guide : home

  University of British Columbia Press
 Search Our Catalogue
  search by subject

 UBC Press
About UBC Press
Conferences & Events
Contact Us
Media Centre
Publishing With UBC Press
Publishers Represented
Staff Directory

Forthcoming Titles
How To Order
Recent Reviews
Review Copies

 Join Our Mailing List
Sign Up
Privacy Statement
Frequent Questions
Privacy Statement
Site Guide
Website Feedback

 Featured Title
Indian Pilgrims
Indigenous Journeys of Activism and Healing with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Michelle M. Jacob  

$57.95 Hardcover
Release Date: 10/4/2016
ISBN: 9780816533565    

192 Pages

Distributed for University of Arizona Press


About the Book

In 2012 Kateri Tekakwitha became the first North American Indian to be canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, an event that American Indian Catholics have awaited for generations. Saint Kateri, known as the patroness of the environment, was born in 1656 near present-day Albany, New York, to an Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father. Tekakwitha converted to Christianity at age nineteen and took a vow of perpetual virginity. Her devotees have advocated for her sainthood since her death in 1680. Within historical Catholic writings, Tekakwitha is portrayed as a model of pious, submissive femininity. Indian Pilgrims moves beyond mainstream narratives and shows that Saint Kateri is a powerful feminine figure who inspires decolonizing activism in contemporary Indigenous peoples' lives.

Author Michelle M. Jacob examines Saint Kateri's influence on and relation to three important themes—caring for the environment, building community, and reclaiming the Native feminine as sacred—and brings a Native feminist perspective to the story of Saint Kateri. The book demonstrates the power and potential of Indigenous decolonizing activism, as Saint Kateri's devotees claim the space of the Catholic Church to revitalize traditional cultural practices, teach and learn Indigenous languages, and address critical issues such as protecting Indigenous homelands from environmental degradation. The book is based on ethnographic research at multiple sites, including Saint Kateri's 2012 canonization festivities in Vatican City and Italy, the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation (New York and Canada), the Yakama Reservation (Washington), and the National Tekakwitha Conferences in Texas, North Dakota, and Louisiana. Through narratives from these events, Jacob addresses issues of gender justice—such as respecting the autonomy of women while encouraging collectivist thinking and strategizing—and seeks collective remedies that challenge colonial and capitalist filters.

About the Author(s)

Michelle M. Jacob is professor of education studies and director of the Sapsik’walá (Teacher) Education Program at the University of Oregon. She previously served as the founding director of the Center for Native Health and Culture at Heritage University on the Yakama Reservation, and as professor of ethnic studies at the University of San Diego. She is the author of Yakama Rising: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism, and Healing and has published articles in a wide range of academic journals. Jacob is a member of the Yakama Nation.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. Indian Pilgrims Honor Their Native “Sister”
2. Indigenous Environmentalism as Spiritual Responsibility: Heal Ourselves, Heal the Earth
3. Kateri’s Guidance in Building a Spiritual Community
4. The Ecstasy of Saint Kateri: Native Feminism in the Catholic Church
5. Conclusion: Join the Journey of Activism and Healing

Appendix 1. Discussion Questions
Appendix 2. You Can Join the Journey of Activism and Healing
Appendix 3. Interview Guide


"An excellent new contribution to Native and Indigenous studies, and the author's innovative approach promises to open up a powerfully important set of new conversations about the colonial and settler-colonial relationships between Native Christians and women who are producing counterhegemonic acts of resistance to Christian colonial traumas within the space of the Catholic Church."
- Andrew Jolivette, author of Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change

"An important contribution to both Native feminism and Native Christianity."
- Andrea Smith, author of Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances

"Indian Pilgrims focuses on Saint Kateri as the heart of worldwide Indigenous efforts to heal communities from the destruction of colonization, to care for Mother Earth, and to emphasize the Indigenous feminist views, and it highlights the importance of Indigenous activism as a vehicle for healing. This book represents a new view, a pioneering cultural depiction of a Catholic saint as a crucial core of Indigenous strength and healing."
- Gayle Skawen:nio Morse, editor of the Journal of Indigenous Research

Sample Chapter

A sample chapter of this title is not available at this time. For further information, please email

Related Topics

Women's Studies
Aboriginal Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Indian Pilgrims from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

© 2001 UBC Press
2029 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z2
t. 604.822.5959 | f. 604.822.6083 | e.
Vancouver Web Design by Internet-Exposure