St. Oakerhater Window, 2004 - St. Paul’s Cathedral
The Oakerhater Chapel is dedicated to David Pendleton Oakerhater, a valiant Cheyenne warrior in his youth. Later, as a prisoner of war in the era westward expansion, he would become a deacon of the Episcopal Church from 1881-1931.
During his 50 years of resolute service on his home reservation, the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation in western Oklahoma, the devout Deacon was at times the single ordained presence in all Indian Territory. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church added his name to its Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts in 1985, the first American Indian so named as a saint.
On September 1, 1986, the first feast was held in his honor at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., with his descendants and delegations from Oklahoma invited to the celebration. In 2000 the Saint George Church of Dayton, Ohio dedicated a large stained glass window in its chapel depicting Oakerhater, and a smaller window bearing his glyph signature.
St. Paul's Cathedral in Oklahoma City dedicated a chapel to St. Oakerhater. The congregation of St. Paul's commissioned Tlingit glass artist, Preston Singletary, to create a stained glass window featuring Oakerhater's glyph. It replaced a church window destroyed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The Oakerhater Guild of St. Paul's was organized in partnership with Whirlwind Mission of the Holy Family and sponsors dances, tribal outreach, and a vacation Bible school for children in Watonga.
In 2003 the Whirlwind Church obtained at a new permanent site in Watonga, where it dedicated the Oakerhater Episcopal Center in September 2007. The site is used for powwows, a sweat lodge, classes, and an annual Cherokee Dance in Oakerhater's honor.
On the occasion of the dedication the Very Rev. George Back, cathedral Dean, said: "We write into our cathedral walls a new history. In doing so we raise up a new love story in the midst of many old stories of abuse and disrespect suffered by American Indians".