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Indigenous Catholic Research Fellowship

Governing Board, Advisory Board & Executive 



Mark Thiel

Scholar and Archivist, Special Collections, Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University. Responsible for acquisition, administration and reference service of special collections and digital initiatives pertaining to Catholic Native America and Catholic Broadcasting, Marquette University Library.

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Lawrence Martin

Ojibwe Language Scholar and Professor Emeritus of American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. He has been involved in Ojibwe language revitalization programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and has served on the board of Waadookodaading Ojibwe immersion school at the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation.  He now devotes his time to helping compose Ojibwe language songs for Catholic worship. He is a member of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe in northwestern Wisconsin. 


Co-Founder & Chaplain

Fr. Maurice Henry Sands

Executive Director of the Washington-based Black and Indian Mission Office, which consists of three organizations that have historically served the pastoral needs of African American and Native American Catholics. Member of Ojibway, Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes, and grew up on Walpole Island (Bkejwanong First Nation).

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Co-Founder & Treasurer

Rose-Alma Mcdonald

Dr. Rose-Alma J. McDonald is the owner of the consulting firm Katenies Research and Management Services. As a professional consultant, social reformer, writer and researcher Dr. McDonald is diverse, innovative and professional. She is former Director of Education for the Assembly of First Nations: a position she has held twice since 1987. Member of the Mohawk Nation (Akwesasne)

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Co-Founder & Canadian Co-Chair

Graydon Nicholas

The Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Order of New Brunswick and Order of Canada, was the 30th Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick from 2009 to 2014, becoming the first aboriginal person to hold this office. He was also the first aboriginal person in Atlantic Canada to earn a law degree and to be appointed a Provincial Court Judge. He was Chair of Native Studies at St. Thomas University, NB, from 1989-1991 and is currently Endowed Chair of Native Studies at the same institution. He worked with the Union of NB Indians as legal counsel, Chairman of the Board and President of the Union of New Brunswick Indians from 1974-1988. He was a member of the Aboriginal Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) from 1998-2004. In 2015 he was appointed to the Knights Board of Directors and now serves as a Supreme Warden. He is a member of Tobique First Nation (Wolastoqey Nation).

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Patrick T. Mason

Patrick T. Mason (Gallup, NM) is a member of the Osage Tribe, and father of five children aged 6 and younger (3 sons, and 2 daughters). He is on the board of directors for the Knights of Columbus and its associated entities. He is also a partner at the law firm of Mason & Isaacson, P.A., and has been nationally recognized for his work in the areas of Federal Indian law and tribal courts.  Patrick graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in 2003 with a double major in Philosophy and Theology and a double minor in Math and Science. He attended St. john University School of Law in New York City (2004-2005) and graduated from UNM Law School in Albuquerque (2006). Some of his notable clients include: the Navajo Nation, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the Diocese of Gallup, the Missionaries of Charity, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Alliant, and Zurich Insurance Group.  Patrick is also the founder of Hozho Academy Classical Academy (a NM State Charter School focusing on native/indigenous students), Aequitas Education (a non-profit promoting high-quality education programs for impoverished populations), and Life is Sacred (a native/indigenous pro-life advocacy organization).  

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Scott Lyons

Scott Lyons, PhD, is Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan where he has also directed the Native American Studies program. The author of X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent and editor of The World, the Text, and the Indian: Global Dimensions of Native American Literature, Scott teaches courses on American literary history, modern Catholic fiction, and critical theory. His current book project is a study of violence, desire, and mimesis in Native American literature and mythology. He is a member of the Leech Lake Ojibwe Nation.


Co-Founder & Secretary

Maria Lucas

Maria Lucas is a Black-Métis woman whose heritage inspired her to study Indigenous-Crown relations in a historical and political context in her undergraduate degree, which she completed at the University of Toronto. In her studies, she discovered the unique legal framework that informs Indigenous peoples’ relationship with the Crown and she came to understand that the law is key to reconciling this relationship. As a result, she was prompted to pursue law school. She completed her Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa with a specialization in Aboriginal law and Indigenous legal traditions in April 2019.


Co-Founder & American Co-Chair

Damian Costello

Damian Costello holds a Ph.D. in theological studies from the University of Dayton and specializes in the intersection of Catholic theology, Indigenous spiritual traditions, and colonial history. He is an international expert on the life and legacy of Nicholas Black Elk and the author of Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism. Costello served as the academic advisor for a forthcoming network television documentary on Black Elk and is currently the vice-postulator for Black Elk's cause for canonization in the Catholic Church. His work is informed by five years of ethnographic work on the Navajo Nation.

more information



Cecil Chabot

Cecil Chabot is a former Advisor for Indigenous Relations with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and has also worked on Indigenous relations, history and policy in senior roles with Indigenous, non-profit, academic, and federal government organizations, as well as a commission of inquiry. He is currently a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Concordia University’s School of Community and Public Affairs, where he is also a Part-Time Faculty Member in the First Peoples Studies Program. His intellectual journey stems from, and remains grounded in, a life-long relationship with the subarctic James Bay Cree.

Advisory Board Members

Murray Chatlain: Archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas; Co-Chair, Guadalupe Circle, Canada

James Sean Wall: Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico, Chairman, Subcommittee of Native American Affairs, US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rosella Kinoshameg: Member and Former Councillor, Wikwemikong First Nation; Doctor in Sacred Letters Honoris Causa, Regis College, University of Toronto; Co-Chair, Guadalupe Circle, Canada


Dennis Savoie: Former Ambassador of Canada to the Holy See; Former Deputy Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus

(Full bios to be posted soon)

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