One of the most important events of the missionary work of the Episcopal Church in the United States is the annual meeting in South Dakota known as the Niobrara Convocation.
The Dakota Indians managed in their own fashion to fit the values of their old traditions and rituals into Christianity. The Niobrara Convocation served the same social function as the old Sun Dance, when friends and relatives came together in the summer from all directions. The convocation custom of the Indians from the different reservations camping together was not unlike the traditional spots held in the camp circle by the various tribes. [from "That They May Have Life" by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, p. 10]
The first Convocation was held on October 5-6, 1870, at Santee, Nebraska. Bishop Clarkson of Nebraska and Dakota issued a call to the clergy of the Dakota field for a meeting to be held for the purpose of organizing an Indian Missionary Convocation. Each chapel was to be represented by two lay delegates.
The Niobrara Convocation grew to be a loved and much looked forward to annual event in South Dakota. Non-Indian Episcopalians and persons from other denominations, as well as government officials and even President Calvin Coolidge visited. The gathering was frequently honored by visitations of numerous Presiding Bishops.
Only three times in its history did the Niobrara Convocation not convene: in 1876, because of Bishop Hare’s poor health; in 1901, because of the danger of small-pox contagion; and 1945, because of conditions during World War II when gas and tire rationing and enforced slower speed limits made travel difficult. [from "That They May Have Life" by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, p. 78]
142st Convocation June 26-29, 2014 Santee Mission
143rd Convocation June 25-28, 2015 Standing Rock Mission
144th Convocation 2016 Cheyenne River Mission
145th Convocation 2017 Red Shirt Table
2014 Niobrara Convocation
PO Box 686
Wagner, SD 57380
Ohiya Casino/Hotel is fully reserved. They will, however, put names on a waiting list because there may be cancellations. 402-857-3860
Camping will be available on the OMMS Church grounds and at a park nearby.
Nebraska Lodging: travel on SD-50 toward Tyndall, SD, turn south on SD-37, crossing into Nebraska on Chief Standing Bear Bridge, which becomes NE-14, turn right onto NE-12 to Niobrara, NE.
Hillside Lodge Motel, Niobrara, NE
Niobrara Trading Post, Niobrara, NE
Niobrara State Park, 89261 522 Ave., Niobrara,
Springfield, SD: (across the Missouri River from Santee) has a few lodgings listed. Travel on SD-37, crossing into Nebraska on Chief Standing Bear Bridge, which becomes NE-14, turn left onto NE-12, turn left onto NE-54D-SPUR to Santee, 45 miles round trip. http://www.springfieldsd.com/places_to_stay.htm
Crofton, NE: Lewis & Clark Lodge, Crofton, NE, 402-388-2630, on NE-12, traveling from Yankton, SD.
Yankton, SD Lodging: travel south through Yankton on US-81 until crossing into Nebraska, turn right onto NE-12 toward Crofton, NE, continue to follow NE-12, turn right onto NE-54D-SPUR to Santee, 93 miles round trip.
Best Western Kelly Inn, 605-665-2906
Holiday Inn Express, 605-665-3177
Days Inn, 605-665-8717
Super 8, 605-665-6510
Lewis & Clark Resort, 605-665-2680