Michael F. Steltenkamp, S.J., Papers
Scope and Content

Correspondence, photography, manuscripts, interviews, recordings, maps, and Ojibwa linguistic materials pertaining to pastoral ministry and/or scholarly research among Native Americans in general; the Oglala Lakota Indians on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota; and Ojibwa Indians in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Diocese of Marquette) by Steltenkamp and Rev. Paul M. Prud’humme, S.J. The bulk of the collection pertains to the life and legacy of Nicholas Black Elk (Oglala Lakota) and Oglala Lakota culture. Included are material by daughter Lucy Looks Twice and others.

Gift from Michael F. Steltenkamp, S.J., 2019. Processed by Mark G. Thiel, 2019.


Biographical Notes

Rev. Michael F. Steltenkamp, S.J.: He earned his Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1987, and served as Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies, Wheeling Jesuit University, 1993-.

Notable books:

The Sacred Vision: Native American Religion and Its Practice Today, Paulist Press, 1982

Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala, University of Oklahoma Press, 1993

Nicholas Black Elk: Medicine Man, Missionary, Mystic, University of Oklahoma Press, 2009

The latter two were made possible by his collaboration with Lucy (Black Elk) Looks Twice (1906-1978). Steltenkamp also wrote numerous articles and book reviews, and his books received extensive reviews as well.

Rev. Paul M. Prud'homme, S.J. (1895-1975): He was born in France where he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained a priest in Montreal, 1927, and ministered to Ojibwa Indians (Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario), 1931-1939, and became fluent in their language. After the 1937 death of Rev. William F. Gagnier, S.J., who also ministered to Ojibwa Indians (Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan), Father Prud'homme began ministering to that flock intermittently. Two years later, he transferred to the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, where his ministry grew to encompass much of the Upper Peninsula by 1946. He served as pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Church (Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan), 1953-1968.

Scope and Content

Reformatted records: These and other records are or can be made available in digital formats via email. Reformatting fees may apply. Ask an Archivist for details.

Restrictions: Except as noted below, there are no restrictions regarding the use of materials from this collection. However, the researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright, which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information. Copies available on request.

Series 1, Correspondence: Letters, questionnaire responses, clippings and ephemera. The clippings include reviews of books by Steltenkamp, reviews of his books by others. Notable topics include Nicholas Black Elk and his legacy, Rev. Francis M. Craft, Oglala Lakota and Ojibwa history and culture, and contemporary Native American religious practice and pastoral ministry. Lucy Looks Twice's written responses to Steltenamp's questions about her father, Nicholas Black Elk, undated, ca. 1974-1975, have been transcribed (box/folder 01-01).

Restricted: Box/folder 02-02, undated, ca. 1974-1975, contains four pages (2 sheets) of original correspondence by  Lucy Looks Twice that have been restricted to 2045 to protect the personal privacy of descendants of Nicholas Black Elk. Box/folder 01-01 includes redacted copies of these pages (handwritten and typescript). For more information, Ask an Archivist.

Notable correspondents:

Name, Religious Community Initials (S.J. = Jesuits; C.S.P. = Paulist Fathers), box-folder numbers, e.g. 01-01

Boadt, Lawrence, C.S.P., Lawrence, 01-02

Brown, Joseph Epes, 01-01

Brown, Joseph Epes (+ enclosure from Bernard D. Fagan, S.J.), 01-01

Costello, Damian, 02-01

DeMallie, Raymond J., 01-01, 01-02, 01-03, 01-04

Drayton, John N., 01-01, 010-2, 01-03, 01-04, 01-05, 01-06

Fagan, Bernard D., S.J., 01-01, 01-06

Finn, Edward, S.J., 01-01

Foley, Thomas W., 01-05, 01-06, 02-01

Gruss, Most Rev. Robert D., Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, 02-01

Holler, Clyde, 01-05, 01-06

Linden, George W., 01-02

Lone Hill, Lisa, 01-01

Looks Twice, George (1935-), 01-01, 02-01

Looks Twice (1907-1978), Lucy (Mrs. Leo) Black Elk, 01-01, 02-02

Manhart, Paul, S.J., 01-01, 01-02, 02-01

Nester, Sarah, 01-04

Otradovsky, Liz, and Petri, Hilda N. (+ enclosure from Bernard D. Fagan, S.J.), 01-01

Peace, John, 01-03, 01-04

Prucha, F. P. (Francis Paul), S.J., 01-01, 01-02, 01-03, 01-04

Red Elk, Pat, 01-02, 01-04, 01-05, 01-06

Sander, Dorothy J., 01-02

Siegmund-Broka, Barbara, 01-04

Sheehan Joe, S.J., 01-04

Steinmetz, Paul B., S.J., 01-01

Thiel, Mark G., 02-01

Todd, Beverly L., 01-04, 01-05

Woodruff, Sue, 01-02

Zuern, Ted, S.J., 01-01

Series 2, Photography: Black & white and color photography regarding Nicholas Black Elk and extended family, Oglala Lakota history and culture, Ojibwa Indians in Michigan, and other concerns in Steltenkamp's scholarly research, priesthood ordination, and pastoral ministry. Included are notable unique and best quality images not found in other Marquette collections. Archival repositories (Marquette and elsewhere), Black Elk extended family, other friends, private collections, and Steltenkamp himself served as the principal sources.

Folder 1: Michigan, West Virginia, and Ontario: Rev. William Gagnieur, S.J., St. Isaac Jogues Church, various, [1937-1998], undated (before 1937-1980s) and Black Elk sculpture (Saginaw Valley State University), 1998.

Folder 3: South Dakota: Nick Black Elk and extended family (e.g. Ben Black Elk, Lucy Looks Twice), Lakota catechists (e.g. Paul Catches), Jesuits, and Catholic Sioux Congress, 1910-1911, 1916, undated (ca. 1901-1920).

Folder 4: South Dakota: Nick Black Elk and extended family, Lakota catechists, Lakota families, John G. Neihardt, and Duhamel Sioux Indian Pageant, 1927, 1931, 1937, undated (ca. 1921-1940)

Folder 5: South Dakota: Nick Black Elk and extended family, Lakota catechists, Lakota traditionalists (e.g. Little Warrior), Lakota families, Catholic Sioux Congress, 1944-1945, undated (ca. 1941-1960)

Folder 6: South Dakota: Black Elk extended family,  Lakota catechists (e.g. John Lone Goose), Lakota traditionalists (e.g. Frank Fools Crow), St. Agnes Church, ordination of Michael F. Steltenkamp, S.J., Wounded Knee Massacre site, 1969-1977, undated (ca. 1970s-1980s)

Folder 7: South Dakota and Unknown: Red Cloud Indian School (Pine Ridge), various, pouch identified as Black Elk’s, 1995, 1998, undated (ca. 1990s)

Oversize: Red Cloud High School boy's varsity football team with coaches (+ Steltenkamp), 1977; Jesuit Martyr-Saints of North America (Midland, Ontario), undated (ca. 1940s)

Series 3, Manuscripts: Unpublished manuscripts by Steltenkamp and others and published materials with marginalia by Steltenkamp regarding Nicholas Black Elk, Oglala Lakota and Ojibwa history and culture, and contemporary Native American religious practice. The authors and their topics are:

Steltenkamp, Michael F. Class papers and essays at Indiana University under Joseph Epes Brown, re Lakota religious belief and practice; notes, manuscripts and book with marginalia, re Native American religious belief and practice, Nicholas Black Elk.

DeMallie, Raymond J. Articles with Steltenkamp marginalia, re scholarship about Nicholas Black Elk and Lakota culture.

Foley, Thomas W. Article drafts, re Rev. Francis M. Craft, the American Sisters, and associated Lakota people.

Holler, Clyde. Article with Steltenkamp marginalia, re Nicholas Black Elk and Lakota religious belief.

Linden, George W. and Fred W. Robbins, Conference papers with Steltenkamp marginalia, re about the Black Elk Speaks narrative.

Manhart, Paul M. Manuscript, re about the Black Elk Speaks narrative.

Porter, William L. Address, re scholarship about Nicholas Black Elk.

Steinmetz, Paul B. Manuscript draft, re Native American and Christian belief and practice with the Sacred Pipe.

Smerczynski, Kristin. Class paper at Wheeling Jesuit University under Steltenkamp, re compares Lakota and Christian beliefs about Wakan Tanka (God).

Stolzman, William  F. Draft manuscripts, re comparing Lakota and Catholic belief and practice for the forthcoming book, The Pipe and Christ.

Author Unknown 1. Manuscript, re Dakota philosophy.

Author Unknown 2. Manuscript, re Lakota and Christian beliefs about White Buffalo Calf Woman.

Author Unknown 3. Classroom lecture transcript with questions and answers, re Lakota religious beliefs.

Series 4, Recordings: Interviews by Steltenkamp regarding Nicholas Black Elk in South Dakota and a presentation by Steltenkamp regarding storytelling among Native Americans at a Tekakwitha Conference in Michigan.

Series 5: Paul M. Prud'humme, S.J., Papers: Correspondence, clippings, and maps regarding Rev. Prud'humme and Ojibwa Indians in Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Prud'humme created the maps and unknown Jesuits in Canada, possibly with Prud'humme among them, authored the Ojibwa linguistice materials. Prud'humme compiled, but did not author the correspondence or clippings, most of which are about him. Notable correspondents include:

Baker, Narcissa L.

Besanceney, Paul H., S.J.

Noa, Most Rev. Thomas L., Bishop of Marquette, Michigan

Therrian, Fred

Terrian, Yvonne



Transferred within Special Collections: Set of 85 enlarged, matted, and laminated prints pertaining to Nicholas Black Elk and his family and associates; matted and framed dust jacket for Black Elk: Holy  Man of the Oglala transferred to exhibit storage. Most books donated by Fr. Steltenkamp transferred to Native American Book Collection.

Discarded: The articles and book reviews by Steltenkamp (see Biographical Note above), the reviews of books by Steltenkamp (see Biographical Note above), and the related published writings by others without marginalia by Steltenkamp were discarded. These items are readily available elsewhere and have not been retained by the Marquette University Special Collections & Archives. For related retained materials, see the Scope and Content Note above under Series 3, Manuscripts.

Related Collections

Several Marquette special collections contain additional materials about Nicholas Black Elk, Rev. Francis M. Craft, Rev. Paul M. Prud'humme, S.J., and Rev. Michael F. Steltenkamp, S.J. Most notable are the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records,  Holy Rosary Mission - Red Cloud Indian School Records, Nicholas Black Elk Collection (Nicholas Black Elk only), and the research collections of  Sr. Mary Ewens, O.P. (Rev. Francis M. Craft only), and Thomas W. Foley (Rev. Francis M. Craft only). See Search the Collections (digitized collections not included) and Digitized Collections.

Elsewhere, the Jesuit Archives & Research Center (St. Louis: MO-8)) holds papers pertaining to Fathers Prud'hjumme and Steltenkamp. For a description and contact information of this and other institutions, see Marquette's Guide to Catholic Records about Native Americans in the United States.

Questions: Ask an Archivist.