Las Casas: Dominicans in Ministry with Native Americans, Inc. Records
Scope and Contents
Before arriving at the McGreal Center in 2012, the records of the Las Casas Collection had been scattered around the United States with no organizational cohesion. With elements from New York, Oklahoma, and the current Las Casas headquarters in Illinois and Wisconsin, the records were sent to the McGreal Center already partially organized into boxes based on their content and chronology. Processed by Chad Comello (with assistance from Samantha Dedic), the collection was reorganized to its present form, preserving the original order as much as possible while optimizing the collection for research purposes. The first section contains reports and correspondence concerning the history and chronology of the organization from its founding in the late 1970s through 2004. The second series includes all financial documentation, which primarily consists of tax forms and documents relating to the process of incorporation. Following that are minutes, correspondence, and reports from the biannual Board of Trustees gatherings at various congregations around the country, as well as a series dedicated to general Las Casas correspondence not related to Board meetings or financials. Series V spotlights the organization’s various programs and special events, including its legal fund LEAPCAT and volunteer organization DRUMS, while Series VI contains pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and newsletters related to Las Casas. The final four series comprise the audio/visual portion of the collection: photographs, slides, scrapbooks, and other media used in service of Las Casas programs over the years.
- 1977 - 2016
Biographical / Historical
Founded in 1977, Las Casas: Dominicans in Ministry with Native Americans, Inc. is a not-for-profit Dominican organization that seeks to provide ministry support, legal aid, and funding opportunities to Native Americans and Dominicans who support them throughout the United States. Named after the Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Dominican Spaniard who ministered among the indigenous people in the Americas of the 16th century, Las Casas was originally founded as a response to a letter-writing campaign conducted by Al Broderick, OP, and Regis Ryan, OP, who solicited funds for a legal assistance project to support the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes in northwest Oklahoma. The donations received far exceeded expectations, so the surplus was put into a fund to be managed by a corporate body that would sponsor future projects supporting the Indian people—a body that in 1978 was incorporated as the Las Casas Fund for the Cheyenne and Arapahos.
With its stated goal to provide “relief of the poor, the distressed, and the underprivileged” in mind, Las Casas Board of Directors established volunteer-run programs, including the Legal Assistance Project for the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes (LEAPCAT), which provided legal support and education to traditionally underrepresented Native Americans, and Dominican Resources United for a Ministry of Service (DRUMS), the volunteer branch of Las Casas. Having served in the ministry field for over thirty years, the organization today is focused primarily on grant funding for members of the Dominican Order in ministry with Native Americans of the United States. Their website (http://www.domlife.org/lascasas) provides more information about their history, membership, and grant availability.
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Language of Materials
- Las Casas: Dominicans in Ministry with Native Americans, Inc. Records
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Part of the Mary Nona McGreal, OP Center for Dominican Historical Studies Repository
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