JUNE 12, 1902


Born around 1820, Johnson, whose Ojibwe name meant “He That Prays Standing,” was the first Native American to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in the United States.  Born near Peterborough, Canada, he was raised in an Ojibwe village affiliated with the Methodists.  In July 1841, he met the chaplain at Fort Snelling and became an Episcopalian.  John became a deacon in 1859 and helped in founding St. Columba Mission.  During the Dakota War of 1862, Johnson prevented other Ojibwa bands from joining the uprising.  In 1867, he was ordained as a priest.  In 1869, Johnson encouraged Chief White Cloud’s mission to establish peace between the Ojibwe and the Sioux.  In March 1880, Johnson and Chief Fine-Day traveled across the eastern United States to raise money for a new St. Columba Episcopal Church at White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.  He died at the White Earth Reservation and is remembered in the Episcopal calendar of saints on June 12.  

Source:  "The Rev. John Johnson Enmegahbowh 1820-1902: First ordained Native American priest in the Episcopal Church,” Soundings, June 2002.  Retrieved 7/3/2019, http://archive.episcopalchurch.org/documents/NAM_Enmegahbowh.pdf 
Photo:  Author and date unknown.  Likely taken in the 1860s. Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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