Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Feast Day Of Enmegahbowh.

Enmegahbowh, who was also called John Johnson, belonged to the Ojibwa Indian tribe in Minnesota.

He must have been born to some position in his tribe, as he had been set apart for a "Medicine Man" in youth, and his Indian name, Enmegahbowh, meant "The man who stands by his people," a significant name, which in time proved to be a true one.

He was sent as a missionary to Crow Wing, after two ministers before him had been unsuccessful in establishing a mission.

For a few years the mission work seemed at a stand still. From Canada Enmegahbowh received earnest invitations to go where comfort and hopeful work awaited him, but Bishop Whipple encouraged him, s[t]anding in the forefront for an unpopular cause and a hated people, and Enmegahbowh would prove the fitness of his name -- he would not desert his people.

The Ojibwa were moved by the US government to the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota, where:

Enmegahbowh labored earnestly, the government now aiding in the work by encouraging the Indians in civilized ways. A steam sawmill was built at White Earth Lake, where Indians were taught to run the machinery, and from which lumber was furnished for building purposes. Eastern churchmen assisted the mission, and a church and parsonage were built.

At the time of the consecration of the church in August, 1872, quite a party of the clergy and laity, through the kindness of Bishop Whipple, were enabled to visit White Earth.

The consecration was on Thursday. Friday morning, the chiefs signified to the bishop their wish to meet with him in a council, which was therefore held, that afternoon, on the hillside in front of the church. It was a picturesque scene -- the lovely landscape, the sunlight glancing through the tall oak trees on the bishop and Enmegahbowh, who sat in the centre, the chiefs and five or six clergymen grouped around. Behind the bishop three chairs were placed for the ladies of the party -- the first time, I think, that ladies were ever admitted to an Indian council.

Enmegahbowh died at White Earth at the age of 95.

The above quotes and information were taken from A Pioneer History of Becker County Minnesota, written by Alvin H. Wilcox (1907).


Almighty God, you led your pilgrim people of old with fire and cloud; grant that the ministers of your church, following the example of blessed Enmegahbowh, may stand before your holy people, leading them with fiery zeal and gentle humility. This we ask through Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.


Psalm 29
Isaiah 52:7-10 or1 Peter 5:1-4
Luke 6:17-23

UPDATE: Below is an icon of St. Enmegahbowh done by the Rev. Johnson Loud.


  1. Thanks for posting this. A classmate of mine in seminary, the Rev. Johnson Loud, was commissioned to paint an icon of St. Enmegahbowh, but I've never seen the icon.

  2. Gotcha, didn't I? I know that you like the early saints.

    I'd like to see a picture of the icon myself. Each time I wrote his name, I did copy and paste to be sure to get the spelling right.

  3. Thank you! I'm going to make a link. :-)

  4. A beautiful post, grandmere mimi.

  5. Too bad about the comment "first women in a council" -- depending on the tribe - some were all men, some all women, some mixed. I think that was just the first time white women were present.

  6. Ann, thanks for the clarification.


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