Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Historic Church On Standing Rock Burns In Fire

Historic Church On Standing Rock Burns
Ikpanazin :To Pick Up One's Self
By Dakota Wind
Cannonball, N.D. - On July 25, 2012, the St. James Episcopal Church located in Cannonball, ND on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, burned to the ground. Arson is the suspected cause.

St. James was founded in 1890 by Rev. William Cross, a Yanktonai Dakota man and member of the community. Cross' backstory is as interesting as the work he came to do.

A wood engraving of U.S. Indian Scouts on the trail.

William Cross enlisted as a U.S. Indian Scout at Fort Abraham Lincoln under the command of General George Custer in 1876, the summer that the general met his infamous death at the hands of the Teton Lakota. Cross, however, ran mail between the general's command and the fort and was not put in Major Reno's command at the Battle of the Little Bighorn like the other scouts. Cross had actually just delivered the last living correspondence that Fort Abraham Lincoln would receive.

After the fateful battle, Cross headed east to attend school at one of the Indian boarding schools. He left a warrior of the people, a scout for the military, and returned a minister. In 1890, Cross founded St. James Episcopal Church in Cannonball.

The church served the community in all its needs, as most churches do. It was a home.

St. James is also something else. A sanctuary where the services are conducted in Dakota, Lakota, and English. After years of language suppression, the church embraced the dwindling speakers language and uses it, even if it is just a simple newsletter.

Readers, my friends, please visit and see what you or your community can do to help rebuild, to help the community pick it self up. If all you can do is pass the word on, share this article or this link.

Ikpanazin unkis kin phehnaga etahan (Picking ourselves up from the hot coals).

Wopidah, wopila tanka (Thank you, thank you very much).

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