GUIDE TO CATHOLIC RECORDS ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE U.S.
Volume 2: Midwest United States
North Dakota: ND-6

Catholic Church. Diocese of Fargo. Archives
1310 Broadway
Fargo, North Dakota 58102

Phone: 701-235-6429
Email: See website (Contact Us)

 

Open: See website

Access: See website

Copying facilities: No

 

History: The Diocese of Jamestown was erected, 1889, from territory in the Vicariate Apostolate of Dakota. It was renamed the Diocese of Fargo, 1897. Statewide for North Dakota, the Fargo Diocese reported 4,000 baptized Native American Catholics, 1900, and Bismarck and Fargo reported 1,800 and 1,000 respectively, 1999. Fargo and its predecessors have administered the following Native missions and parishes in North Dakota:

1818-1823 (closed) (Fargo 1889)

St. Francis Xavier School (Métis, Ojibwa), Pembina, near Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten and Turtle Mountain reservations

1821-1823 (closed) (Fargo 1889)

St. Francis Xavier Church (Métis, Ojibwa), Pembina, near Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten and Turtle Mountain reservations

1834-1870s (no longer Native) (Fargo, 1889)

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (Métis, Ojibwa), Pembina, near Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten and Turtle Mountain reservations

1874-present (Fargo, 1889-present)

St. Michael Church (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), St. Michael, Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten Reservation

1876-present (Fargo, 1889-1909)

St. Peter Church (Hunkpapa Lakota), Fort Yates, Standing Rock Reservation

1882-present (Fargo, 1889-present)

St. John Church (Métis, Ojibwa), St. John, near Turtle Mountain Reservation

1882-2007 (closed)

St. Louis Church (Métis, Ojibwa), Dunseith

1883-1894 (no longer Native) (Fargo, 1889-1894)

St. Paul Mission (Ojibwa), Tarsus, near Turtle Mountain Reservation

1885-present (Fargo, 1889-present)

Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), Fort Totten, Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten Reservation

1887-present (Fargo, 1889-present)

St. Ann Church (Métis, Ojibwa), Belcourt, Turtle Mountain Reservation

1887-present (Fargo, 1889-present)

St. Anthony Mission (Métis, Ojibwa), Alcide/Laureat, near Turtle Mountain Reservation

1889-1963 (closed) (Fargo, 1889-1909)

Immaculate Conception/ Sacred Heart Mission (Arickara, Hidatsa, Mandan), Packineau Dam Site/ Elbowoods, Fort Berthold Reservation  

1892-present

St. Jerome Mission (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), Crow Hill, Fort Totten, Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten Reservation

1894-present

St. Joachim Church (Métis, Ojibwa), Rolla, near Turtle Mountain Reservation

1896-present

St. James Mission (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), Porcupine, Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten Reservation

1897-1959 (closed)

St. Mary Mission (Métis, Ojibwa), Maryville, near Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten and Turtle Mountain reservations

1906-1969 (closed) (Fargo, 1906-1909)

St. Andrew Mission (Arickara, Hidatsa, Mandan), Nishu/ Armstrong, Fort Berthold Reservation

1906-1909 (closed) (Fargo, 1906-1909)

Holy Family/ St. Michael Mission (Arickara, Hidatsa, Mandan), Shell Creek/ Shell Village, Fort Berthold Reservation 

1907-1921 (closed) (Fargo, 1907-1909)

St. John Mission (Arickara, Hidatsa, Mandan), Crow Heart's Landing, Fort Berthold Reservation

1916-1950 (no longer Native)

St. James Mission (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), Warwick, Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten Reservation

1920s (some Natives)-present

St. Alphonsus/ Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church (Dakota, Métis, Ojibwa), Langdon/ Olga, near Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten and Turtle Mountain reservations

1920s-present

St. Boniface Church (Dakota, Métis, Ojibwa), Walhalla, near Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten and Turtle Mountain reservations

1929-present

Christ the King Mission (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), Tokio, Spirit Lake/ Fort Totten Reservation

1940-present

St. Benedict Mission (Métis, Ojibwa), Turtle Mountain Reservation

1948-2007 (closed)

Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission (Métis, Ojibwa), Dunseith, near Turtle Mountain Reservation

2007-present

St. Michael the Archangel Church (Métis, Ojibwa), Dunseith, near Turtle Mountain Reservation

 

Holdings of Catholic records about Native Americans:

Inclusive dates: 1818-ongoing, undated

Volume: At least 4 cubic feet

Description: 9 series include Native Catholic records:

 

/1 Parishes and Indian Missions 

Inclusive dates: 1818-1970, undated 

Volume: 1.5 cubic feet

Description: Arranged alphabetically by parish location, except for 5 folders of general Native-related correspondence, which are filed under "Indian Missions-Miscellaneous" and "Indian Affairs." 

A. Belcourt, St. Ann Church, 1891-ongoing, undated, .15 cubic foot:

1. Correspondence, 1891-1893, 1913-1917, 1924-1925, 1931-1968, 3 folders: major correspondents include Bishop John Shanley (1852-1909), Bishop James O'Reilly, Bishop Aloysius Muench, and Bishop Leo Dworschak, Rev. J. Perrault, Bishop L.A. Ducharme, Bishop Hildebrand Elliott, and Sister Genevieve.

2. Historical notes, 1899, undated, 1 folder: includes a history of St. Ann's by Rev. John F. Malo, 1899, 13 handwritten pages

B. Dunseith, St. Louis Church and St. Paul and Immaculate Heart of Mary Indian Missions, 1892, 1908, 1923, 1937-2000s, .1 cubic foot: major correspondents include Rev. Lucien Burque, Rev. Francis J. Lorscheid, Rev. John E. Wolf, Bishop Aloysius Muench, and Bishop Leo Dworschak

C. Fort Totten, Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church, 1913-ongoing, undated, 2 folders:

1. Correspondence, 1913-1916, 1926-1927, 1930-1937, 1949, 1952-1962, 1 folder: major correspondents include Rev. Timothy Sexton and Bishop Leo Dworschak

2. Historical notes, undated, 1 folder

D. Fort Yates, St. Peter Church, 1898, 2 letters from Rev. Bernard Strassmaier, O.S.B.

E. Pembina, Assumption Church, 1818-1880, undated, .35 cubic foot:

1. Correspondence, 1818-1880, .3 cubic foot:

a. Letters of Rev. George Anthony Belcourt, 1848-1857, 2 folders

b. Letters (copies) from the St. Boniface Archdiocesan Archives, Manitoba, Canada, 1818-1880, 3 folders

2. Rev. Joseph Goiffon's "Autobiography" (copy), undated, 50 pages: begins in 1824; from the Catholic Historical Society Collections of Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota

F. St. John, St. John the Baptist Mission, 1894-1895, 1908, 1914, 1920, 1927-1929, 1936-1967, 2 folders: major correspondents include Rev. J.E. Pacaud, Rev. J.E. Ouellet, Rev. Jerome E. Filteau, Rev. Ervin Zerbes, Rev. Edward J. Sherman, Rev. William Crane, Bishop Aloysius Muench and Bishop Leo Dworschak

G. St. Michael, St. Michael Mission, 1893-ongoing, undated, .4 cubic foot:

1. Correspondence, 1893-1894, 1910, 1937-1970, .35 cubic foot: major correspondents include Rev.Rev. Jerome Hunt, Rev. Edward Berheide, Rev. Ildephonse Kreidler, Rev. Stanislaus Maudlin, O.S.B., Rev. Alan Berndt, Bishop Aloysius Muench and Bishop Leo Dworschak

2. Historical notes, undated, 1 folder

H. "Indian Affairs," 1890-1895, 1906, 1919-1965, .3 cubic foot: Correspondence; major concerns are the annual financial and statistical reports to the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions

I. "Indian Missions-Miscellaneous Correspondence," 1890-1893, 1895, 1939, 15 letters: Most pertain to the Fort Totten Reservation

 

/2 Bishops' Papers

Inclusive dates: 1889-1926 

Volume: 1 folder

Description: Arranged chronologically by administration. Most of the records in this series do not relate to Native affairs. Most correspondence between the bishops and missionaries is in the series, "Parishes and Indian Missions." Indian mission records are found in the correspondence of Bishop John Shanley, 1889-1909, 1 folder. Major correspondents include Bishop Martin    Marty, O.S.B. and Bishop Vincent Wehrle, O.S.B.

 

/3 Priests' Files

Inclusive dates: 1889-1970s

Volume: Approximately .2 cubic foot

Description: The files of most Indian missionaries contain no records pertaining to Native Americans. Most notable is the file of Rev. John F. Malo, which contains 50 letters, 1890-1898, 1904, primarily from St. Ann Mission, Belcourt.

 

/4 Annals, Diaries, and Histories 

Inclusive dates: 1874-1960, undated 

Volume: 1.1 cubic feet 

Description:

A. "Chronicles" (copies) of the Soeurs grises, Fort Totten Reservation Schools, 1874-1960, 1 cubic foot: in French and English; originals at the Soeurs grises Motherhouse (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

B. "History of Devil's Lake Reservation Missions, 1867-1935," undated, 1 folder: author unidentified

C. Brother Giles Laugel's [O.S.B.] "Diary" (copy), 1883-1929, 1 folder

D. "Establishment of the Fort Totten Catholic Indian Mission," by Rev. Vincent Wehrle, O.S.B., ca. 1901, 25 handwritten pages

 

/5 Financial Reports

Inclusive dates: 1890-1967

Volume: .5 cubic foot and 1 reel of microfilm

Description: Arranged alphabetically by parish location with records for 1923-1957 on microfilm.

 

/6 Statistical Reports 

Inclusive dates: 1916-1967 

Volume: .2 cubic foot 

Description: Arranged alphabetically by parish location. 

A. Belcourt, St. Ann Church, 1916-1921, 1925-1936, 1938-1967, 1 folder

B. Dunseith, St. Louis Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission, 1943-1967, 1 folder

C. Fort Totten, Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church, 1916-1921, 1924-1931, 1940-1967, 1 folder

D. St. John, St. John the Baptist Church, 1916-1921, 1924-1932, 1934-1967, 1 folder

E. St. Michael, St. Michael Church, 1916-1921, 1932, 1938-1967, 1 folder

 

/7 "Religious Sisters"

Inclusive dates: 1936-1979

Volume: .1 cubic foot 

Description: Arranged alphabetically by community name. 

A. Sisters of Charity [Soeurs grises], Montreal, Canada, 1936, 1938, 19601961, 1978-1979, 1 folder: correspondence regarding St. Michael's Mission and the Little Flower Indian School; major correspondents include Mother E. Gallant, Bishop Aloysius Muench, and Bishop Leo Dworschak

B. Sisters of St. Joseph, Crookston, Minnesota, 1943-1974, 1 folder: regarding Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission, Dunseith; correspondents include the mother superiors and the bishops

/8 Photographs: “Indian Missions and Missionaries”

Inclusive dates: 1890s-ongoning

Volume: Approximately 100 prints

Description: Arranged in a file entitled "Indian Missions and Missionaries" with the majority from St. Michael Mission through 1970s. 

 

/9 Sacramental Records 

Inclusive dates: 1848-ongoing 

Volume: At least 16 reels of microfilm 

Description: Arranged alphabetically by parish location; locations of records for closed parishes and procedures for requesting sacramental records available online.

A. Belcourt, St. Ann Church, St. Anthony Mission, and surrounding missions and stations, 1887-1969, 2 reels

B. Dunseith, St. Louis Church, 1883-ca. 1890s, 1943-1969, 1 reel: for St. Paul Mission, Tarsus, and Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission

C. Fort Totten, Our Lady of the Seven Dolors Church, 1918-1969, 1 reel

D. Leroy, St. Joseph Church, 1848-ca. 1870s (Native-related), 1 reel

E. Neche, Ss. Nereus and Achilleus Church, 1848-ca. 1870s; 1 reel: for Assumption Church, Pembina

F. Olga, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, ca. 1920s-1969 (Native related), 1 reel

G. Pembina, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1848-ca. 1870s, 1 reel

H. Rolla, St. Joachim Church, 1939-1969, 1 reel

I. Rolette, Sacred Heart Church, 1908-1959 (Native-related), 1 reel

J. St. John, St. John Church, 1882-1969, 2 reels

K. St. Michael, St. Michael Church, 1874-1969, 2 reels

L. Wahpeton, St. John Church, 1883-1886, 1908-1969, 1 reel: for the Sisseton Reservation and the Wahpeton Government Indian School

M. Walhalla, St. Boniface Church, ca. 1920s-1969 (Native-related) 1 reel

 

/10 Diocesan Newspaper

Inclusive dates: 1941-ongoing

Volume: Few articles

Description: Dakota Catholic Action includes occasional articles on Native Americans and Catholic evangelization within the diocese. 

 

Unless noted otherwise, the repository named above holds (or held) the records described and not the Marquette University Archives. However, Marquette’s holdings, e.g. Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records, include related records about these Native and Catholic groups and places.

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