Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

OKUMC invited to join celebration as sacred Native American lands are returned to Wyandotte Nation


Wyandotte Indian Mission in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Photo via UM Global Missions.
On behalf of The United Methodist Church, UM Global Ministries is inviting members of the Oklahoma Annual Conference to a ceremony this September during which lands held in trust for 176 years by the agency will be formally returned to the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma.

A rare occurrence in United States history, the event will include local dignitaries and leaders of Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma and the Wyandot Nation of Kansas.

In 1843, the Wyandotte tribe deeded the land to the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, forerunner of today’s United Methodist Global Ministries, in order to protect its sanctity when the federal government forced the tribe off their last reservation in the state of Ohio.

“It will be a historic day for the Wyandotte Nation,” said Chief Billy Friend of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma. “One hundred seventy-six years ago we left the mission church in the Methodists’ hands to take care of it for us until we came back. That time has come.”

“For over 200 years, the people called Methodists have had a unique bond with members of the Wyandotte tribes,” said Thomas Kemper, general secretary of UM Global Ministries, the worldwide mission agency of the denomination. “John Stewart, our first-ever missionary, launched a historic friendship with them in 1816. Since 1843, we have served as stewards of this sacred land and these historic spaces. Now, it is time to return these lands to the Wyandotte people so they can continue the generations-long tradition of honoring our collective heritage.”

“A Remembrance of Our Shared History: The Wyandotte/Wyandot and the People Called Methodists,” presented by UM Global Ministries and The General Commission on Archives and History, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. The event begins at John Stewart UMC, 130 W Johnson Street, Upper Sandusky, Ohio 43351, with a procession to burial grounds and the mission church to follow.

Event information is available at www.umcmission.org/return. The event is free and open to the public. For planning purposes, organizers are requesting attendees to register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/our-shared-history-the-wyandottewyandot-and-the-people-called-methodists-tickets-57543320621.


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