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The United Church of Christ gathering place for Indian people.
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Independence Church is behind Gary Dickens, who manages the Fort Berthold Council of Congregational Churches.
We are still here, living near the Missouri, despite severe hardship, despite many harsh challenges, and despite the fact that people today still believe two of our three tribes settled here have been “obliterated” by smallpox! Our little Congregational church, though set back from rural highways and somewhat isolated, sits proudly on a hill with beautiful views of what is known as the “rolling prairies.” Our relatives builit it in 1910 with little help from the American Missionary Society (who sent us our first missionary, Rev. Charles Hall, in 1876), or from any of our neighbors. Rev. Edward Goodbird, who helped build the first church in 1910, became its lay pastor. He was ordained officially in 1925 and continued his pastorate. Wolf Chief and Francis Charging were also leaders early on in the church.
People of Independence came there directly in the 1880’s, when the people of the Like-A-Fish-Hook Village, were forced to abandon the village due to a federal decision. An Army Fort, Fort Berthold, was built nearby.
Like-A-Fish Hook was a village of the Hidatsa, Mandan and Arickara, and was also the last Indian Village in North Dakota. Some of the Villagers settled later in nearby, Elbowoods. Elbowoods was a town built for the Village people and was where the first missionary established the Congregational Mission. Sadly, Elbowoods was flooded (after 70 years there) because of a federal decision to build a dam.
An interesting fact of our church is soon after it was built, high winds blew it off its foundation. Undaunted, the people rebuilt once again, in 1924, raising the funds needed on their own. Another interesting fact is that the bell was given in memory of Dr. Hall’s father by the the Broadway Tabernacle in New York City!
"A thankful Spirit is like sunshine on the fields."