Fighting to Build on Tradition

On the Navajo Nation, a territory encompassing 27,000 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, sits a lone Catholic school — Saint Michael Indian School. There, 400 students from preschool to high school are educated in both the Catholic faith and the Navajo culture, just as the school’s founder intended in 1902.

That founder, St. Katharine Drexel, the second American-born saint, was born to a wealthy and pious family in Philadelphia. Though she could have lived as an heiress, she became interested in the unfortunate situation of Native Americans and African Americans during a family visit to the West. She became a nun with the Sisters of Mercy before establishing her own religious congregation called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored. She then set out to create schools for Native Americans and African Americans. In total, she founded 63 schools, 50 missions and a college, Xavier University of Louisiana.

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About the Series:

The University of Notre Dame’s award-winning “What Would You Fight For?” series showcases the work, scholarly achievements, and global impact of Notre Dame faculty, students, and alumni. These two-minute segments, each originally aired during a home football game broadcast on NBC, highlight the University’s proud moniker, the Fighting Irish, and tell the stories of the members of the Notre Dame family who fight to bring solutions to a world in need.

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November 22, 2019

Art and HistoryHealth and SocietyNative AmericanAlliance for Catholic EducationDiversityEducationSchool of ArchitectureSports

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