Posted on in Saints Are Us by The Rev. David Marshall
Chief Spokane Garry (1811-1892) was born at the junction of the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers, in or around 1811. His birth Spokane name was Slough-Keetcha, he was the son of the tribal chief of the Middle Spokane, whose name was Illim-Spokanee.
In 1825 with the arrival of white settlers, the boy was one of two chosen by the Hudson Bay Company to be taught at an Anglican mission school at Fort Garry, Rupert’s Land, (now Winnipeg,Manitoba), which was run by the Missionary Society of the Church of England. Before he left for Manitoba, he was renamed Spokane Garry in honor of his tribe and the deputy governor of the Hudson Bay Company, Nicholas Garry. On June 24, 1827, his baptism is said to be the first Protestant baptism of a non-white person west of the Rocky Mountains. He was accompanied by another boy, Kootenais Pelly, who became Garry’s closet friend at the school. He learned English at Fort Garry, new forms of survival skills, as well as the basis of his new Christian faith. Chief Illim-Spokanee died in late 1828. When Spring arrived, Garry and Pelly left the mission school and began the arduous trek back to the Spokane River so Garry could assume the position of Chief of his tribe.
Next week in part 2 we will explore his life after his return to Spokane and his work in spreading his new found Anglican faith among the peoples of the Columbia Plateau. There is a connection between St. Dunstan’s and this peace maker – HINT: take a walk in the garden, over near our labyrinth!
See you next week,
bro. John, O.C.P.