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The Indian advocate. ([Sacred Heart, Okla.]) 1???-1910, August 01, 1904, Image 10

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/45043535/1904-08-01/ed-1/seq-10/

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251
THE INDIAN ADVOCATE
and succeeded in bulding a small church. Father Richards
withdrew from the work, the church building was unlawfully
seized upon by a non-Catholic half-breed Indian, and the
Church authorities never succeeded in regaining possession
of it. It will, perhaps, be difficult for the readers of this
sketch, living as they do in well regulated communities where
property rights are protected, to understand an episode of
this nature, but anyone not a member of a recognized Indian
tribe, who resided in the Indian Territory some twelve or fif
teen years ago, can easily appreciate the situation, especially
the Catholic priest whose life was rendered miserable by the
daily prospect which then confronted him of being ejected
from house and church. In most of the tribes Catholic In
dians were a small, insignificant minority, and consequently
unable to secure for their missionaries the rights that Protes
tant ministers enjoyed. And while the majority of Quapaws
were Catholics, they had unfortunately, by marriage Adoption,
admitted into the tribe a large number of whites and Indians
of other tribes who had no love for the religion of the Black
Robe.
When Bishop Meerschaert came to the Indian Territory, in
189:, as its chief pastor, one of the first petitions for a priest
which he received was from the Quapaws. "If a man does
not cultivate his garden," so ran the letter, "it will grow up
in weeds and briars. But if he takes care of it, it will be
full of blossoms and fruits. If you will send us a priest, the
Quapaw reservation will become a beautiful garden of the
Church." But the good Bishop had no priest to send. In
1892, however, he ordained his first candidate for the priest
hood, the Rev. Father fcetch'am (the present Director of the
Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions), stationed him at Musko
gee, in 'he Creek Nation, and in addition to other missions,
confided to him the Quapaws. Father Ketcham visited the
mission at regular intervals, saying Mass in the homes of the
Indians, and when the congregation outgrew the capacity of
these humble dwellings, he sought the shelter of the forest

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