Feb 25 – John Roberts

Feb 25 - John Roberts

John Roberts
25 February 1949

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From the Satucket Lectionary

John Roberts’ Shoshone Mission

Assigned to minister to the Shoshone and Arapahos on the Wind River Reservation, he set about his work by learning all he could about Native American customs and beliefs, believing that by knowing the people he hoped to minister to he would be more effective. He also learned the native languages, eventually translating the gospel for his Native American congregates.

Roberts often said the object of his work among the Indians was to make them self supporting. With this in mind he established two schools, the Indian Boarding School at Ft. Washakie and the Shoshone Indian Mission Boarding School. Roberts cultivated friendships with tribal leaders, including Chief Black Coal and Chief Washakie, whom he later baptized. He earned the trust of the tribal leadership and was often involved in their negotiations with the agents of the federal government. The Indians rewarded Roberts for his fairness in dealing with them by giving him the name “Elder Brother.”

Roberts also ministered to the non-natives of the state, establishing Episcopal churches in towns across Wyoming. Roberts retired from active missionary work in 1921 but continued to live on the reservation until his death in 1949 at the age of ninety-seven.

— from the Univ. of Wyoming

His translation of the Gospel of Luke into Arapahoe is online at Project Gutenberg. Translations of the Lord’s Prayer, Apostles’ Creed, Ten Commandments, etc., into Arapaho and Shoshone are also online. Further information may be found on a page devoted to him and at Wikipedia.


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