Father Francis M. Craft, Missionary to the Sioux

By Thomas W. Foley | Go to book overview

XI
A SPECIAL ENVOY

Craft: returned to Sacred Heart Mission at Elbowoods in the fall of 1889. The building neared completion, but he was concerned about the silence that had followed Stephan’s attack in Chicago that past summer. He desperately needed supplies, and winter was setting in. There was a box of schoolbooks, but no money for fuel or stoves and no school furniture, and what building materials remained were in short supply. Coal would soon be frozen in the ground. In November the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions told him that the benefactor of the mission, Katharine Drexel, would not provide equipment or operating costs. Moreover, she wanted the school to be named St. Edward’s, after a member of the Drexel family.1 Craft replied that they could name the school whatever they pleased, “but the mission of the Ree, Gros Ventre, and Mandan tribes, which I founded, I have named Sacred Heart Mission.2

Katharine Drexel, a wealthy Philadelphia heiress and philanthropist, had provided $12,000 toward the construction costs. Both Bishop Marty and Father Stephan relied heavily on her generous financial support. They first visited her in 1885, seeking money for St. Francis Mission on Rosebud Reservation, where Father Craft had been expelled only a year before. At the request of the two ecclesiastics, Katharine Drexel and her sisters, Elizabeth and Louise, traveled to Dakota Territory to learn firsthand the plight of the Sioux. During fall 1887 the three young women visited St. Francis Mission at Rosebud and Immaculate Conception Mission at Stephan (now in South Dakota and named after their host), before journeying on to St.

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Father Francis M. Craft, Missionary to the Sioux
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xv
  • I- The Formative Years 1
  • II- Path to Priesthood 6
  • III- Spotted Tail’s Quest 10
  • IV- Conspiracy on Rosebud 17
  • V- Conflicts on Standing Rock 24
  • VI- Settling in on Standing Rock 31
  • VII- Missionary Labor and Sacrifice 48
  • VIII- Humor and Whimsy 59
  • IX- The Land Boomers 67
  • X- Fort Berthold 71
  • XI- A Special Envoy 78
  • XII- Wounded Knee 87
  • XIII- Bitter Aftermath 94
  • XIV- The Origins of the Indian Sisterhood 100
  • XV- The Death of Sacred White Buffalo 107
  • XVI- Illusions of Success 114
  • XVII- A Malicious Assault 119
  • XVIII- A Strategic Retreat 127
  • XIX- Was Father Craft Insane? 137
  • XX- Homecoming 154
  • Epilogue 160
  • Notes 161
  • Bibliography 179
  • Index 185
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