David Pendleton Oakerhater, Deacon, 1931
O God of unsearchable wisdom and mercy; Liberate us from bondage to self, and empower us to serve you and our neighbors, that like your servant David Oakerhater, we might bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
David P. Oakerhater (born around 1850) was a warrior and leader of the Cheyenne Indians of Oklahoma, and led a corps of fighters against the United States government in a dispute over Indian land rights. In 1875 he and 27 other military leaders were taken prisoner by the U S Army and sent to a military post in Florida. There, thanks to the efforts of a concerned Army captain, they learned English, were encouraged to earn money by giving art and archery lessons to visitors, and encountered the Christian faith. David and three others were moved to become Christians and to go north to study for the ministry. David was baptized in Syracuse, New York, in 1878, and ordained to the diaconate in 1881. He returned to Oklahoma and there founded schools and missions, and continued to work among his people until his death on 31 August 1931. When he first returned to Oklahoma in 1881, he said: “You all know me. You remember when I led you out to war I went first, and what I told you was true. Now I have been away to the East and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader. He goes first, and all He tells me is true. I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace.”*
*The Lectionary, James Kiefer, http://thelectionary.org/DPOakerhater.htm