EnmegahbowhÂ (ca. 1807 â€“ June 12, 1902; fromÂ Enami’egaabaw, meaning “He that prays [for his people while] standing”; also known asÂ John Johnson) was the firstÂ Native AmericanÂ to be ordained aÂ priestÂ in theÂ Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
Enmegahbowh was anÂ OdawaÂ from Canada who converted to Christianity fromÂ Midewiwin. In 1851,Â James Lloyd BreckÂ began a mission among theÂ OjibwaÂ ofÂ Minnesota. Enmegahbowh was aÂ catechumenÂ there and was baptized by Breck.
The Mille Lacs Chief Fine-Day was an early member of Enmegahbowh’s church in 1859.
He took over the mission in 1861. With theÂ Dakota War of 1862, the near-by Gull Lake Band ofÂ Mississippi ChippewaÂ rose to attack a near-byFort Ripley. Enmegahbowh prevented some other bands from joining the Gull Lake Band; he, though, was made a prisoner, but succeeded in escaping. He made his way to Fort Ripley with timely information of the impending attack, and healped prevent The Gull Lake Band, along with other Ojibwa were subsequently removed to the environs of theÂ Leech Lake Indian ReservationÂ and then eventually to theÂ White Earth Indian Reservation. Enmegahbowh followed his people there.
In March 1880, Enmegahbowh and Chief Fine-Day traveled across the eastern United States for three months in order to raise money for a new St. Columba Episcopal Church at White Earth. While in Ohio, the governor was so impressed with their speech that he had them address the Ohio state legislature. They raised $6000 for the project. After Chief Fine-Day died in 1883, Enmegahbowh referred to Fine-Day as “our noblest chief” and recomended that a stained glass window in the church be dedicated to him.