Huckleberries Online

Sacred Encounters

Coeur d’Alene Second Chief Peter Wildshoe commissioned a tribal member to craft three dolls for the Smithsonian in 1901. The dolls are now part of a new exhibit at the Cataldo Mission. The exhibit will be open to the public on Oct. 15. (Kathy Plonka)
Coeur d’Alene Second Chief Peter Wildshoe commissioned a tribal member to craft three dolls for the Smithsonian in 1901. The dolls are now part of a new exhibit at the Cataldo Mission. The exhibit will be open to the public on Oct. 15. (Kathy Plonka)

Coeur d’Alene Second Chief Peter Wildshoe commissioned a tribal member to craft three dolls for the Smithsonian in 1901. The dolls are now part of a new exhibit at the Cataldo Mission. Kathy Plonka, SR

A whitewashed Catholic chapel, the Mission of the Sacred Heart, crowns a grassy knoll overlooking a broad, slow bend in the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River in Idaho’s panhandle.

The chapel is graceful and small with wooden columns across the front and a domed ceiling within. It is the oldest standing building in all of Idaho, completed in 1853 after several years of construction by Jesuit missionaries and people of the Schitsu’umsh (the present day Coeur d’Alene, “Those Who Are Found Here”) working together. The foot-thick walls are plastered with mud, wattle-and-daub style, and in places the handprints of the builders remain visible—a grace note of brown hands and white hands, two cultures, two faiths joined. And while the tribe appreciated the many spiritual teachings brought by the missionaries, a more recent Coeur d’Alene elder, Millie Nicodemus, said, “We didn’t think they’d stay!” Full storyKevin Taylor, Indian Country Today

Have you seen this exhibit, yet? Are you planning to?



 




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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.








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