Passions grow over first Native American saint

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Gazing down a frozen New York field, the statue of a Mohawk girl about to become the first Native American saint exudes calm. Yet the real Kateri Tekakwitha had a brutal existence -- and ghosts from her dramatic life still haunt these hills.

The 17th-century figure will make history when the Vatican canonizes her later this year, although the joy among America's indigenous tribes will be mixed with some painful historical memories.

No other "Indian", as the original inhabitants of the United States and Canada are widely, but wrongly, called, has made sainthood. Following centuries of being dispossessed, caricatured, or ignored, Native Americans will soon have the unusual experience of appearing in a positive light.

Mark Steed, the Franciscan friar heading the Kateri Shrine on the banks of the Mohawk River, said that after more than 30 years of working among Native Americans, he is happy to see them win this boost....

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