Archive for the ‘David Pendleton Oakerhater’ Tag

Feast of David Pendleton Oakerhater (September 1)   1 comment

Above:  David Pendleton Oakerhater

Image in the Public Domain

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DAVID PENDLETON OAKERHATER (CIRCA 1847-AUGUST 31, 1931)

Cheyenne Warrior, Chief, and Holy Man, and Episcopal Deacon and Missionary in Oklahoma

Born O-kuh-ha-tah (“Making Medicine”)

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You all know me.  You remember when I led you out to war and I went first, and what I told you was true.  Now I have been away to the East and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader.  He goes first, and all he tells me is true.  I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace.

–O-kuh-ha-tah (David Pendleton Oakerhater), 1881

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The institutional church has much to recommend it, but it does also have a checkered and frequently disturbing past.  Consider, for example, O reader, the treatment of indigenous peoples in many lands.  If one is honest, one must admit that the Church has often fall short of the high standard of Christ in that and other regards.

O-kuh-ha-tah (literally “Making Medicine”), born circa 1847 on the Cheyenne reservation in the western part of the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), became a lonely missionary in a neglected mission.  He was a warrior, fighting other tribes and the United States Government over land rights from the late 1860s to the middle 1870s.  O-kuh-ha-tah’s involvement in the Red River War (1874-1875) led to his capture by the U.S. Army in 1875.  He and other prisoners of war interred at Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida, were subject to a rigorous policy of cultural assimilation.  (While I do not pretend that cultural assimilation of indigenous peoples has had no positive consequences for them, neither do I pretend that the policy was not overall negative for them.  In every policy one can identify the good and the bad.  The real question is whether the good or the bad is dominant.)

On the positive side, the prisoners of war received frequent visits from Episcopalians, many of them vacationers in St. Augustine.  These Episcopalians shared their faith.  One of these visitors was Alice Pendleton (1824-1886), daughter of Francis Scott Key (1779-1866) and wife of George Hunt Pendleton (1825-1889), U.S. Representative (1857-1865) and Senator (1879-1885) from Ohio.  (He was most famous for the Civil Service Act of 1883, which began to end the spoils system and ended his career in the Senate.)  Another visitor was Mary Douglass Burnham (1832-1904), a deaconess from the Diocese of New York.  Via Burnham O-kuh-ha-tah and three other prisoners traveled to Paris Hill, New York, to study under John L. Wicks (1838-1918), Rector of St. Paul’s Church, in April in 1878.  Later that year, at Grace Church, Syracuse, the four Natives became baptized Christians.  O-kuh-ha-tah’s baptismal name was David Pendleton Oakerhater; “Pendleton” was in honor of Alice Pendleton.  In 1879 O-kuh-ha-tah’s first wife and three-year-old son joined him in New York.  They died the following year; she shuffled off her mortal coil in childbirth.

O-kuh-ha-tah remarried more than once.  He buried most of his children, who died young.  When he died in 1931, however, he had descendants.

In 1881 O-kuh-ha-tah and Paul Caryl Zotom (a Kiowa; circa 1853-1913) became Episcopal deacons.  They were the only two of the four to complete the three-year program.  One had died in 1880.  The other had chosen to pursue blacksmithing instead.  Wicks and the deacons went to the Indian Territory.  Wicks returned to New York after a while.  Zotom abandoned the Christian faith by 1889.  O-kuh-ha-tah remained at his post in the western part of the territory (later the State of Oklahoma) for the rest of his life.

O-kuh-ha-tah was a deacon and never a priest.  There were indigenous priests in Anglicanism in North America at the time, though.  The first member of one of the First Nations ordained in the Anglican tradition was Sakachuwescum/Henry Budd (circa 1812-1875), a member of the Cree Nation in Canada, ordained to the priesthood in 1850.  Enmegahbowh (1807/1813-1902), from the Ojibwa Nation, became the first indigenous priest in The Episcopal Church in 1867.  The second indigenous Episcopal priest was Paul Mazakute, ordained in 1869.  (I have made a note to myself to consider adding Mazakute to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, in time.)

From 1887 to 1917 O-kuh-ha-tah labored faithfully at the Whirlwind Mission in western Oklahoma.  He served in the parish church, operated a school, and helped a population beset by a plethora of problems, including diseases and poverty.  The Church, bowing to federal pressure, closed the Whirlwind Mission in 1917 and put our saint on a pension, but he continued the mission informally until he died at Watonga, Oklahoma, on August 31, 1931.

There was no Episcopal presence in the region for a generation.  In the 1960s, however, there were still Cheyenne and Arapaho who had learned the faith from him or some those to whom he had ministered.  The current Whirlwind Mission of the Holy Family, Watonga, began in 1992.

O-kuh-ha-tah became the first Native American added to The Episcopal Church’s calendar of saints, in 1985.  Since then the Church has added others, among them Enmegahbowh, Sakachuwescum/Henry Budd, and Onangwatgo/Cornelius Hill (1834-1907), all priests.

Red and yellow, black and white,

they are precious in his sight,

a children’s song about the love of Jesus tells us.  But are people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds precious in our sight?  Or are we too caught up in our racism and ethnocentrism to cease injuring the image of God in them?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS, “APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, ANGLICAN DEAN OF WESTMINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WILLIAM LEINBACH, U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERARD, FIRST DEACONESS IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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O God of unsearchable wisdom and infinite mercy, you chose a captive warrior, David Oakerhater,

to be your servant, an sent him to be a missionary to his own people,

and to exercise the office of a deacon among them:

Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self,

and empower us for service to you and to the neighbors you have given us;

through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96:1-7

Romans 8:1-6

Luke 10:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 555

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Feast of Henry Budd (December 22)   2 comments

henry-budd

Above:  Henry Budd

Image in the Public Domain

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HENRY BUDD (CIRCA 1812-APRIL 2, 1875)

First Anglican Native Priest in North America; Missionary to the Cree Nation

The Book of Alternative Services (the Anglican Church of Canada, 1985) lists April 2 as the feast of “Henry Budd, First Canadian Native Priest, 1850.”  Budd’s feast, introduced to The Episcopal Church in 2009 and first included in Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), falls on December 22.  A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) retains his feast on that date.  Both volumes list him as “Henry Budd, Priest, 1875.”

Sakachuwescum (literally “Going Up the Hill”), baptized as Henry Budd, became the first Native American ordained to priesthood in North America (in 1850).  In contrast, The Episcopal Church (in the U.S.A.) ordained Enmegahbowh (died in 1902), of the Odawa (Ottawa) Nation to the diaconate in 1859 and the priesthood in 1867.  Another pioneer in the U.S.A. was David Pendleton Oakerhater (circa 1847-1931), of the Cheyenne Nation; he, ordained deacon in 1881, never became a priest.  Budd’s date of birth has remained unknown; sources have listed his year of birth as either 1810 or 1812.  His father died circa 1811.  Our saint’s mother was Washesooesquew, a.k.a. Mary Budd.  Our saint, orphaned, attended a mission school backed by the Hudson’s Bay Company in Rupert’s Land.  His spiritual mentor in the Red River Colony was the Reverend John West (1778-1845; Canadian Anglican feast day = December 31), Church of England missionary and founder of the colony. Budd, a member of the Cree Nation, worked as a clerk for the Hudson’s Bay Company before embarking upon religious vocations.

Budd joined the Church Missionary Society (CMS).  At first he worked as a teacher n what is now Manitoba.  In 1836 he married Elizabeth “Betsy” Work (1820-1874), of Irish and Cree ancestry.  They had six children.  In 1837 the CMS sent Budd to lead the Day School at the Upper Church in the Red River Valley.  Three years later the CMS transferred our saint to The Pas (now in Manitoba) to establish a new mission.  He was a productive missionary who improved the lives of his fellow Cree physically and spiritually.  He remained there for a decade.

On December 22, 1850 (hence Budd’s feast day in The Episcopal Church) our saint became a priest.  The CMS, which paid him half the salary of a white missionary, sent him to Nipowewin (now Nipawin, Saskatchewan), where he remained until 1867.  Then Budd returned to The Pas, where he lived for the rest of his life.  Throughout his missionary career he endured the elements and physical injuries, buried his wife and several of his children, and covered vast territories.  Budd also translated The Book of Common Prayer and the Bible into Cree.

Our saint died at The Pas on April 2, 1875 (hence his Canadian Anglican feast day).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF ANNE STEELE, FIRST IMPORTANT ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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Creator of light, we thank you for your priest Henry Budd,

who carried the great treasure of Scripture to his people and the Cree Nation,

earning their trust and love.  Grant that his example may call us to

reverence, orderliness, and love, that we may give you glory in word and action;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 11:1-6, 14, 17

Psalm 29

1 Thessalonians 5:13-18

John 14:15-21

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 131

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