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Biographies & Memoirs - Biographies History - Americas History - United States

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Stands Before His People: Enmegahbowh and the Ojibwe

ISBN: 9781643439303
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Verne Pickering
Author: Stephen Schaitberger
Pages: 224
Trim: 8 x 10 inches
Published: 4/6/2021

Discover the life and legacy of Enmegahbowh, the first Ojibwe Episcopalian priest in the United States who, during the turbulent frontier days of the 1800s, worked for peace, opportunity, and cooperation among peoples.

Enmegahbowh was an extraordinary American. He spoke both Ojibwe and English, lived among the Ojibwe, endeavored as a Christian missionary, and participated in the politics of relations and treaties between the Ojibwe, the US government, and the settlers who desired land to log and farm. While Enmegahbowh's first mission was with the Methodists, he eventually connected with Reverend J. Lloyd Breck and was made an Episcopal priest by Bishop Henry Whipple, the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota. Importantly, Enmegahbowh left a written record of his work, a plenitude of which is presented for the first time in this book. Stands Before His People recreates the story of Enmegahbowh's life, from about 1813 to 1901.


Author Verne Pickering began his writing career creating engineering documents for an editor who demanded the three c's: completeness, conciseness, and clarity. The first book he published was Hatley: History of a Central Wisconsin Village, written in collaboration with his brother, Donald Pickering. Verne Pickering lives in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Stephen Schaitberger first encountered stories of Enmegahbowh as a youth at Cass Lake Episcopal Camp on the Leech Lake Reservation. In 1980 Schaitberger became the rector of St. Paul's Church in Brainerd, Minnesota, the same area where Enmegahbowh began his own ministry. Schaitberger served for over twenty years as a chaplain in the Minnesota National Guard and for ten years on the diocesan staff as a canon missioner for Northern Minnesota. He is a professed member of the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis. Now retired, he splits his time between Minnesota and Arizona.


"The Rev. Steve Schaitberger and Mr. Verne Pickering are truly dedicated to getting the correct history of the Minnesota Ojibwe and our two-hundred-plus years of interaction with the Episcopal church. I appreciate their prayerful research, the oral accounts, and the photos. Makes me proud of our ancestors' strong spirituality." - Chi-Megwetch, Rev. Carol “Coke” Smith, White Earth Ojibwe, Ottertail Pillager Band, Pine Point, Minnesota

"This was a great read! I found a lot of details of Enmegabowh's life I had only heard before and a lot I didn't know. Put me on the list for the book!" - Rev. Doyle Turner, Episcopal priest and former tribal chairman of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe

"The Rev. Stephen Schaitberger and Verne Pickering have written a thoughtful—and thought-provoking—account of the life of one of Minnesota's own Native American priests, Enmegabowh. As Episcopal faith communities in Minnesota continue to turn toward the vision of Beloved Community, this story will be a helpful guide on the way: Schaitberger and Pickering draw out the wisdom of Enmegabowh and his contemporaries about how to speak uncomfortable truths, how to name injustice, and intolerance, and how to lean into true reconciliation. This is a remarkable story about a remarkable priest who was a Beloved Child of God." - Rt. Rev. Brian Prior, ninth bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota

"From July 1, 1969, to January 15, 1975, I was privileged to serve as the supervising priest of the four Episcopal churches on the White Earth Indian Reservation. Fr. Enmegahbowh's home church, St. Columba's Church in the village of White Earth, was one of those four churches. It was a joy to worship and minister with church members who still had some memory, however distant, of Fr. Enmegahbowh's family and work." - Rev. George Schulenberg, retired Episcopal priest who served White Earth congregations

"The authors have painted a complete portrait of a forgotten spiritual pioneer. Readers of all genres will enjoy this thorough accounting of one of Minnesota's icons of faith." - Mark Munger, judge and author