In June of 1856 Rev. David Thomas of the Grand Haven Methodist Church led the long pilgrimage north by boat to Leelanau County with indigenous Christian people. The group soon joined other Three Fires Council people: the Odawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi, and they became the first members of the Northport Indian Mission.
In 1882, land was purchased for a permanent church and later more property was acquired for a campground that now includes a tabernacle and kitchen. The campground is the summer meeting place for church services, and it’s used or for the church’s August revival meeting, which attracts area tribal people and others.
In 2006 the group assumed responsibilities for restoration of a nearby and long-unattended cemetery where grave sites of tribal ancestors, including several veterans of the Civil War and World Wars I and II, are located.
Northport Indian Mission comprises the church, campground, and cemetery and its financial support has long been a priority of Central United Methodist Church. The CUMC liaison for this missional initiative is Cindy Armbruster, who works closely with church Pastor Wava Hofmann, and church leaders Val Maidens and Anna Miller.
According to Cindy, current areas of need for buildings and grounds include:
- Replacement flooring for the church community room, foyer, and restrooms, and carpeting for the sanctuary,
- Repair of the church foundation,
- Repair of church steeple.
Pastor Wava and other pastoral and tribal leaders work closely with community members to help ease vulnerability, restore trust, and sustain ancestral culture. Many have lived and continue to live with historic trauma caused by the intergenerational legacy of pain for those who endured disease, loss of land, forced removal, and the destruction of families because of the boarding school experience. Years of oppression, lack of access to basic needs for individuals and the tribal community have left deep scars that only time, trust and cultural recovery, including use of the native language, will heal.
CUMC has designated the Northport Indian Mission as May’s Spotlight Mission. We ask that you will consider financial support for this area of need. CLICK TO DONATE NOW
You are also invited to join us for our Annual Spring Clean Up Day at the Northport Indian Mission Campground on Saturday, May 20. Click this link for details: Northport Indian Mission Super Saturday 2023
Rendition of the Northport Indian UMC
8626 N. Manitou Trail (M-22), Northport, MI by Pastor Wava Hofmann.