Volume 2: Midwest United States
Minnesota: MN-30

Catholic Church. Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Archives and Records Management
777 Forest Street
St. Paul, MN 55106

Phone: 651-291-4400
Email: See website (Contact Us)


Hours: See website

Access: See website

Copying facilities: Yes


History: The Diocese of St. Paul was erected, 1850, with territory derived from the dioceses of Dubuque and Milwaukee. St. Paul was elevated and renamed the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 1889. With its territory reduced to the St. Paul-Minneapolis metropolitan area, the archdiocese reported 10,900 baptized Native American Catholics, 1999. The Archdiocese and its predecessors have administered the following Native missions, parishes, and schools in Minnesota and North Dakota/ Dakota Territory:

1818-1823 (closed) (St. Paul, 1874)

St. Francis Xavier School (Métis, Ojibwa), Pembina, Dakota Territory

1821-1823 (closed) (St. Paul, 1889)

St. Francis Xavier Church (Métis, Ojibwa), Pembina, Dakota Territory

1834-ca. 1870s (no longer Native) (St. Paul, 1850-1875)

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (Métis, Ojibwa), Pembina, Dakota Territory

1851-1856 (closed)

Our Lady of Seven Sorrows/ Winnebago Mission and School (Winnebago), Long Prairie, Minnesota

1851-1884 (no longer Native)

St. Joseph Academy (Ojibwa), St. Paul, Minnesota

1852-1873 (no longer a Native mission center)

St. Francis Xavier Church (Ojibwa), Crow Wing, Minnesota

1853-1870s (no longer Native) (St. Paul, 1865-1875)

St. Joseph Church (Ojibwa), St. Joseph, Dakota Territory 1856-1862 (closed) Winnebago Mission (Winnebago [Ho Chunk]), Blue Earth, Minnesota

1865-present (St. Paul, 1865-1875)

Holy Rosary Mission (Ojibwa), Grand Portage, Minnesota

1867-1879 (closed)

Mendota Convent School (Ojibwa), Mendota, Minnesota

1873-present (St. Paul, 1874-1875)

St. Benedict Church (Ojibwa), White Earth, Minnesota

1874-present (St. Paul, 1874-1875)

Seven Dolors/ Our Lady of Sorrows Church (Dakota, Santee, Sisseton, Wahpeton), Fort Totten, North Dakota/ Dakota Territory

1884-1896 (closed) (St. Paul, 1884-1889)

St. Rose/ St. Francis Xavier School (Hunkpapa, Ojibwa), Avoca, Minnesota


St. Stephen Church (Ojibwa, others), Minneapolis, Minnesota


Holy Rosary Church (Ojibwa, others), Minneapolis, Minnesota                                  

1975- 2009 (succeeded by Gichitwaa Kateri Church)

Archdiocesan Native American ministry, Minneapolis


Gichitwaa Kateri Church, Minneapolis


Holdings of Catholic records about Native Americans:

Inclusive dates: 1835-1948, 1975-ongoing, undated

Volume: At least 2.4 cubic feet

Description: Records within four series of its archival holdings and 23 special collections received from the now defunct Catholic Archives of St. Paul, late 1980s.


Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Archives:                           

/1 Archbishops Papers 

Inclusive dates: 1852-1880

Volume: 2 folders

Description: Arranged chronologically by administration. 

A. Bishop Joseph Cretin, Accession No. 1995.3, 1852-1853, 30 letters (translations): contain references to evangelization of Winnebago and Ojibwa Indians and Métis

B. Bishop Thomas Langdon Grace, Accession No. 1989.4, 1861-1880, 1 folder: includes correspondence with references to Native evangelization


/2 "General Files"

Inclusive dates: 1975-ongoing

Volume: At least 2 folders

Description: Records (e.g. correspondence, clippings, notes) arranged alphabetically by subject or name.

A. Gichitwaa Kateri Church, 2009-ongoing

B. Indian Ministry, Office of: Correspondence between the Chancery and the Archdiocesan Office of Indian Ministry, 1975-2009


/3 "Sacramental Records"

Inclusive dates: 1848-1895 

Volume: 1 reel of microfilm

Description: Reel number 390 includes sacramental records (baptisms, marriages, and confirmations) for Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph churches (Métis, Ojibwa), Pembina, North Dakota. 


/4 Archdiocesan Newspaper

Inclusive dates: 1911-ongoing

Volume: Few articles

Description: The Catholic Bulletin, formerly The Northwest Chronicle, has included occasional articles about Native Americans and Catholic evangelization.   


Collections from the Catholic Historical Society of St. Paul:

/1 "Aubert, Rev. F." 

Inclusive dates: 1846 

Volume: 1 letter (typed copy)

Description: Re: His evangelization of Ojibwa Indians and Métis in the Red River border area of Manitoba, Canada and North Dakota.


/2 "Auclaire, Elie"

Inclusive dates: 1908 

Volume: 1 folder 

Description: Includes a paper (copy) on Rev. Joseph Goiffon from an annual Report of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith.


/3 "Baraga, Rev. Frederick"

Inclusive dates: 1849 

Volume: 2 letters 

Description: The letters (copies), re: His evangelization of Ojibwa Indians in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 


/4 "Belcourt, Rev. George A. [Georges Antoine]"  

Inclusive dates: 1850-1859 

Volume: 1 folder

Description: 6 letters (copies) to Bishops Mathias Loras and Joseph Cretin, re: activities among the Ojibwa Indians and Métis and 2 copies of Rev. Belcourt's Indian catechism, Amamihe-Masinahigan Jesus of Ijjittwawin, 1859.


/5 "Chambers, [Iowa] Governor John"

Inclusive dates: 1842-1846, 1851-1856, 1860

Volume: 1 folder

Description: Correspondence (copies) and Indian agents' reports, re: Catholic evangelization of Winnebago [Ho Chunk] Indians in Iowa.


/6 "Clontarf Industrial School" 

Inclusive dates: 1877-1901 

Volume: .5 cubic foot

Description: St. Paul Industrial School, Clontarf, Minnesota.  

A. Correspondence, 1880-1901, 352 letters and 1 letterpress book of outgoing correspondence: major correspondents include Rev. Anatole Oster and Rev. John Malo and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs

B. Financial records, 1877-1898, 8 folders and 4 volumes: includes 3 day-books, a ledger listing receipts and expenditures of each student, and receipts

C. School records, 1884-1893, 2 folders: includes attendance reports and contracts


/7 "Cretin, Bishop Joseph"

Inclusive dates: 1846, 1850s, undated

Volume: Approximately 20% of .5 cubic foot


A. Correspondence, 1850s, 2 folders (includes copies): major correspondents include Canon Francis de Vivaldi, Rev. Augustine Ravoux, and General George W. Jones; a prominent subject is the Winnebago Mission at Long Prairie, Minnesota

B. Petition from the Ojibwa Indians in Minnesota, 1846

C. A biography of Bishop Joseph Cretin by Rev. James Reardon, undated, 1 folder


/8 "De Smet, Rev. J."

Inclusive dates: 1849, 1853

Volume: 1 folder Description: Reports (copies) on evangelization of Native Americans (e.g. Dakota-Lakota, Salish) by Rev. Pierre-Jean de Smet, S.J.


/9 "Fletcher, J.E." 

Inclusive dates: 1856 

Volume: 1 letter 

Description: To Bishop Thomas Grace from Fletcher, re: Canon Francis de Vivaldi and the Winnebago Mission (Winnebago [Ho Chunk], Long Prairie, Minnesota.


/10 "Galtier, Rev. Lucien" 

Inclusive dates: 1864 

Volume: 1 letter 

Description: To Bishop Thomas L. Grace from Rev. Galtier at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, re: evangelization of the Winnebago [Ho Chunk] Indians.


/11 "Goiffon, Rev. Pierre"

Inclusive dates: 1877, 1908-1910, undated 

Volume: 1 folder Description: 

A. Correspondence, 1877, 1908-1910, 4 letters

B. Partial autobiography beginning in 1824, undated, 50 pages: handwritten in French

C. Last will and testament


/12 "Grace, Bishop Thomas

Inclusive dates: 1860-1864, 1869, 1873

Volume: .5 cubic foot with approximately .1 cubic foot Native Catholic 


A. Correspondence to/ from Bishop Grace, in a 'folder labeled "Grace and Indian Affairs," 1860-1864, 1869, 1873, 26 letters

B. Journal of Bishop Grace's trip on the Red River, August-September 1861, 1 volume


/13 "Jesuit Fathers, St. Francis, S.D." 

Inclusive dates: 1927

Volume: 1 volume

Description: Hymnal and prayer book in Dakota-Lakota language.


/14 "Keenan, Agnes" 

Inclusive dates: undated 

Volume: 6 pages 

Description: A paper, re: Rev. Joseph Goiffon.


/15 "Loras, Bishop, Accession No. 2001.35"

Inclusive dates: 1840s

Volume: Approximately 40% of .25 cubic foot  

Description: Correspondence with references to evangelization of the Santee, Sisseton, Wahpeton, Menominee, and Winnebago Indians; major correspondents include Bishop Joseph Cretin and Rev. Lucien Galtier and Rev. Augustin Ravoux.


/16 "Oster, Monsignor Anatole and Contarf School, Accession 2001.29" 

Inclusive dates: 1881-1899 

Volume: Approximately .5 cubic foot within 1.5 cubic feet   Description: 

A. Correspondence, 1881-1899, .2 cubic foot; includes references to St. Paul Industrial School, Clontarf, Minnesota

B. Financial records for St. Paul Industrial School, 1884-1893, 5 volumes

C. Register of students at St. Paul Industrial School, 1885-1890, 1 volume (94 pages); includes name, age, ethnic group, parents, trade, religion, date entered and left, and remarks

D. Photograph, undated; 1 print of school

E. Clippings, undated


/17 "Parish Records" 

Inclusive dates: 1948 

Volume: .2 cubic foot 

Description: Arranged alphabetically by parish with a folder for each Indian parish in Minnesota and some in North and South Dakota. The historical data was derived from parish chronicles, which were published as an appendix to Rev. James Reardon’s The Catholic Church in the Diocese of St. Paul. The folders typically include a questionnaire containing historical data clippings, pamphlets, and historical notes.


/18 "Pierz, Rev. Franz, CHS No. 85"

Inclusive dates: 1835-1839, 1852-1864 

Volume: 1 folder


A. Correspondence, 1852-1853, 1855, 1857, 1864, 6 letters: re: St. Francis Xavier Church, Crow Wing, Minnesota, and its Ojibwa Indian missions and stations

B. Land deeds, 1864: for St. Francis Xavier Church, Crow Wing

C. Baptismal records, 1835-1839: for St. Francis Xavier Church, Crow Wing, and its Ojibwa Indian missions and stations on Lakes Michigan and Superior: La Croix, Saut, Arbre Croche, Canada, Cachkewang/St. Joseph, Lacloche, Michipicoten, Okwanikisinong (a) Riviere de Sabre, Grand Portage, Fort William, Kaochabaminagajikak, and Pik


/19 "Ravoux, Monsignor Augustin, Accession No. 1998.6"

Inclusive dates: 1840s-1906, undated 

Volume: .5 cubic foot

Description: Re: Santee, Sisseton, and Wahpeton Indians.   

A. Correspondence, 1840s-1906, several letters (copies): to/from Bishops Mathias Loras and Thomas L. Grace and Canon Francis de Vivaldi

B. Sacramental records, 1841-1847, 1862-1863, .1 cubic foot:

1. List of 24 baptisms (copies) from Mankato (re: condemned Dakota Indians from the Minnesota uprising) and Fort Snelling, Minnesota, 1862-1863, 1 folder

2. "Register of Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths among Dakota Indians, CHS No. 131,” Missouri River, Lac qui Parle, Fort Pierre, Fort M. Bouis, and Council Bluffs, 1841-1847, 1 volume

C. Works by Rev. Augustin Ravoux, 1890, 1899, undated, 3 volumes:

1. Reminiscences, Memoirs, and Lectures, published in 1890, 1 volume

2. "The History of the Christian Religion in the Sioux or Dakota Indian Language," undated, 1 volume

3. "Book of Instructions, Prayers and Hymns in the Sioux Language," undated, 1 volume: collection also contains Prayers, Instructions, and Hymns in the Sioux Indian Language, published by Rev. Jerome Hunt, O.S.B., 1899, from Rev. Ravoux's work</p>

D. Scrapbook and Clippings, 1903-1905


/20 "Shanley, Bishop John" 

Inclusive dates: 1908 

Volume: 32 pages 

Description: Includes an article on the establishment of the Catholic Church in North Dakota with its missions among Native Americans (e.g., Arikara, Dakota-Lakota, Hidatsa, Mandan, Métis, Ojibwa.


/21 "Smyth, Henry" 

Inclusive dates: 1856 

Volume: 1 letter 

Description: To Governor Willis A. Gorman, re: financial assistance to Canon Francis de Vivaldi for the Winnebago School (Winnebago [Ho Chunk], Long Prairie, Minnesota.     


/22 "Verwyst, Rev. Chrysostom [O.F.M.]" 

Inclusive dates: 1912 

Volume: 15 pages

Description: An historical account of the Ojibwa Indian mission at Fond du Lac, Minnesota.


/23 "Vivaldi, Canon Francis de" 

Inclusive dates: 1853-1857 

Volume: 1 folder 


A. Correspondence, 1854, 1856-1857, 11 letters: re: the Winnebago Mission, Long Prairie, Minnesota

B. Receipts, 1853-1856: regarding the Winnebago Mission, Long Prairie, Minnesota


Unless otherwise noted, the repository on this page holds (or held) the records described here and they are not held at the Marquette University Archives.