Kamehameha vs. David Oakerhater

The Saintly Sixteen continues with a Hawaiian king vs. the first Native American saint. Kamehameha takes on David Oakerhater as a man passionate about the medical care of his people faces a man whose Cheyenne name is translated "Making Medicine." Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain: one of Neva Rae Fox's saints will advance to the next round.

In yesterday's first battle of the Saintly Sixteen, Brendan the Navigator finally lost his way, losing to Thecla 62% to 38%. Thecla becomes the first saint of Lent Madness 2015 to advance to the Elate Eight where she'll face the winner of Francis of Assisi vs. Cecilia.

After today's vote is decided, Lent Madness will resume first thing Monday morning as Cuthbert takes on Molly Brant. Stay tuned for more saintly action!

Prince_Alexander_Liholiho_with_leisKamehameha

Kamehameha is renowned for his many ministries – from introducing Anglicanism to the Hawaiian Islands to translating the Book of Common Prayer into the local vernacular. Another of his lasting legacies throughout Hawaii was the pioneering steps he instigated for the betterment of the health and welfare of his people.

Kamehameha IV was born Alexander Iolani Liholiho on February 9, 1834 and was crowned King just shy of his 21st birthday.

With his wife and partner in reform, Queen Emma, Kamehameha set forth to transform the Hawaiian Islands by offering his people new, modern ways of life. He was devoted to introducing modern healthcare methods and facilities. Perhaps his drive was based on the healthcare issues that touched him and his family.

From the time of his birth to his ascension to the throne, Kamehameha witnessed much sadness over the health of his people. There was an effort in 1839 to vaccinate the population, which had been prompted by a smallpox outbreak. In 1848, measles, brought to the islands by foreign ships, killed one-third of the residents. Other epidemics in 1848-1849 -- whooping cough, influenza and the ever-threatening smallpox -- killed one in ten of the Hawaiian population. In 1853 another smallpox epidemic killed 5,000 to 6,000 more Hawaiians.

In response to these ongoing tragedies, the King designed a plan to build hospitals for the sick and dying, and homes for the elderly. When the government legislature refused to support his plans, he and Queen Emma raised private funds – enough not only for a hospital but for a much-needed leprosy clinic as well. In 1859 The Queen’s Hospital – named for Emma and still in operation as The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu -- opened in temporary quarters.

In laying the cornerstone, Kamehameha said, "There is something wholesome in being called upon from time to time to acknowledge, however strong our own health may be, and however prosperous our fortunes, that after all, the sick are our brothers and sisters."

On the home front, Kamehameha and Emma had a son, Albert who died in 1863. It is told that Kamehameha felt responsible for the death of Prince Albert. The four-year-old prince was seriously ill, burning with fever, possibly with spinal meningitis. Kamehameha gave the boy a cold shower to cool him off. However, Albert’s health deteriorated, and the youngster died in August 1862.

Heartbroken, grief stricken, and with his own health failing him as he suffered with nerve disorders and asthma, Kamehameha died the next year. Some believe he died of grief. He was only 29 years old.

Kamehameha had a short life, but in his time, he made a lasting impact on the lives of his people and on the generations to come in many ways, from Anglicanism and prayers to healthcare and hospitals.

Neva Rae Fox

200px-Making_medicine.portraitDavid Oakerhater

David Pendleton Oakerhater, an Episcopal deacon and the first Native American saint, was an accomplished artist and a leader in an art style known as Ledger art.

A Cheyenne Indian of Oklahoma, Oakerhater was imprisoned by the United States Army in Florida beginning in 1875. During this imprisonment, an education was provided for all the Native American prisoners that included language, Christianity and art.

Furnished with some instructions and art supplies like pencils, ink, paints, crayons, and paper, Oakerhater delved into art as his new form of expression. Using pens, he and the other prisoners drew in ledger books, hence the name of the art form.

Ledger art is defined as a Native American drawing or painting on paper or cloth. Historians report that Ledger art was popular from the Civil War through World War I. The term Ledger art is rooted from the accounting ledger books that were used for paper. Ledger art has been described as an abstract style illustrating the everyday life of Native Americans, such as dances, hunts, tribal events and self-portraits.

The artwork that emerged from the Florida prison differed from the traditional Plains Indian art in that the prisoners began to focus less upon themselves and their actions, and more upon things.

Oakerhater excelled at this art form and, even now, he is deemed as one of the foundations of modern Native American artists, particularly for the Ledger art. He and the other Native American prisoners helped Ledger art to evolve to become a distinctly Native American art form.

Oakerhater signed some of his works with the English translation of his Cheyenne name, which was "Making Medicine.” Sometimes he signed with a glyph depicting a dancer in a sun dance.

It was through his art that Oakerhater’s patron, Mrs. Alice Key Pendleton first noticed him. This connection eventually assisted in Oakerhater’s release from the Florida prison. After his release, Oakerhater devoted his time to his diaconal duties, his Church responsibilities, and his ministry to his fellow Native Americans.

There are no reports of Oakerhater, or Making Medicine, continuing his art work after his departure from prison. Perhaps it was because he had a new passion. When he returned to his people in 1881 he preached in a sermon, "You remember when I led you out to war I went first, and what I told you was true. Now I have been away to the East and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader. He goes first, and all He tells me is true. I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace."

Neva Rae Fox

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Kamehameha vs. David Oakerhater

  • Kamehameha (61%, 3,607 Votes)
  • David Oakerhater (39%, 2,283 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,890

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142 comments on “Kamehameha vs. David Oakerhater”

  1. "another Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ" --- just a clarity on who we follow and our led by… that leads to all the rest… caring, compassion, social action, justice, forgiveness. Thank you David for such clear focus of our faith.

  2. I live in California, my perspective is Pacific-ward. I vote for Kamehameha, but this was a tough call: which saint from a people nearly exterminated by European-American hubris should advance?

    1. Agreed, Gary47290 - also from California & also well aware of the element of European-American hubris at play here. IMO, though the Anglican Church's antics were not the same as those of the Catholic Church, I find it hard to overlook the decimation of indigenous people & voting either way in this instance feels a bit like sanctioning destructive forces. That said, I voted Oakerhater because he accomplished what he did without the weight of the throne of at his back.

  3. David Oakerhater has been hidden and unknown to most of the world. Often, even that written about him is in error. His greatness among his people as a warrior for peace, a true deacon who served tirelessly without recognition; and whose Art continues to inspire Native American artists makes him worthy of going all the way to the Golden Halo. He has earned in his dedication to God, his people and his church the recognition so long denied him.

    On the other hand, Kamehameha is honored throughout Hawaii with statutes, buildings named after him, holy sites, a huge state holiday in his honor. Many have heard of him. He does not need the additional recognition.

    Deacon Oakerhater has only a small but beautiful chapel at the Cathedral in Oklahoma City dedicated to him: http://www.stpaulscathedralokc.org/oakerhater-chapel.

    Let's raise Deacon David Oakerhater up through the Bracket!! VOTE MAKING MEDICINE!!

  4. A government official who truly cares for his people and a "nobody"/prisoner who persevered and succeeded in spite of his not having wealth and privilege. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, . . . . difficult choice indeed. But, finally, David Oakerhater, if for no other reason than he shows us that prisoners are people, too, a fact often forgotten in the human warehouse business we call our "penal system."

  5. Both saints are amazing in their identifying and improving situations that cried for attention but were ignored. I went with Kamehameha because he accomplished so much is his short lifetime, which was obviously filled with personal tragedy. Hospitals care for his people, translating the Book of Common Prayer, taking the initiative to raise funds himself when his government refused to help...Kamehameha for me!

  6. Today's a toughie. I voted for King K the first go-round. But today I'm an Oakerlover.
    Hee hee! Go Making Medicine!!!!!

  7. Ten years ago, I had the honor of meeting Saint O-kuh-ha-tah's granddaughter (Elizabeth Whiteshield) and several other descendants and joining them in visiting the graves of his wife and child in Utica, NY, and the churches in Utica and Syracuse (Grace) where he was baptized and ordained. Ms. Whiteshield spoke of the profound experience of “walking through the doorways my grandpa once walked through, touching the ground where he once stood,and praying where he once prayed.”

  8. Both are great and did great things. I went for David Oakerhater because he did his great things from a position of weakness and persecution and King Kamehameha did his works from a position of power.

  9. As a physician I have to vote for Kamehameha who tried to improve health care for his people by building hospitals and bringing aspects of modern medicine like smallpox vaccine to Hawaii!

  10. I agree with so many, very tough choice, and I voted for both in the first round. I'm finally going for Kamehameha because he accomplished so much in so short a life with grief for his son. But if Oakerhater takes it, I will probably support him in future rounds.

  11. Thank the Lord for saintly couples! Having said that, I find it difficult to tell what are Kamehameha's saintly creds apart from Emma's, who had her run at the Golden Halo. Considering both the quirks and quotes and the biographies, Medicine Maker is the individual who stands out for me.

    John Kreidler

  12. This is a link to a picture of the stained glass window of St. David Pendleton Oakerhater (O-kuh-ha-tuh) in Grace Episcopal Church, Syracuse, NY, the national shrine of the first Native American Episcopal saint. The glass images were created from color pencil sketches drawn by St. Oakerhater’s great-granddaughter. The window is extraordinary for both its connection to his ancestor and for the stunning Cherokee imagery in St. Oakerhater’s native dress and background. I encourage everyone to check it out! St. Oakerhater’s legacy is evident at Grace Church, an urban parish with a beautifully diverse congregation and a passion for social justice. We are honored to walk in the footsteps of this great saint.
    http://gracesyracuse.org/who-we-are/history/

  13. Really hard choice today. Both are wholly admirable and I am profoundly grateful that they are part of the Anglican Church. After pondering I voted for David Oakerhater because of all he achieved in spite of imprisonment; and because of his words on returning to his people. “You remember when I led you out to war I went first, and what I told you was true. Now I have been away to the East and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader. He goes first, and all He tells me is true. I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace.”

  14. Having lived in Hawaii, and having to pronounce Kamehameha's name for our peerless church leader, Ed, I proudly vote for the Hawaiian king and Queen Emma.

  15. What a great matchup: science vs art! I loved learning about both of these men, but gave my vote to Oakerhater because of his passionate witness. I found this great article about smallpox in checking the dates cited in the Kamehameha article:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1200696/
    Evidently Jenner wasn't the first to use the technique. I wouldn't have investigated the subject without LM! Thanks!

  16. Believing in Christ was forced upon David while the King with his rank had the choice to incorporate new. While it is amazing that David took up with the new religion and spent the rest of his life at it, my heart lies more with King K who allowed the coexistence of two beautiful backgrounds while leading gently in the Anglican Christian way.

  17. Isn't a Hawaiian king also a native American? Though Hawaii was not a US state at the time, neither was Oklahoma when Oakerhater was alive.

  18. As others have said, this is a tough choice. I voted for Kamehameha in the first round, and would have voted for Oakerhater, but he was up against Teresa de Avila, whom I have long loved. Both men were certainly ground-breakers for their people and I appreciate that each of them honored their native culture when introducing Christianity. Both healers, both educators. Should I toss a coin? Draw straws? I have once again gone with Kamehama for the simple reason that I have a precious friend in my parish church who is Hawaiian and who loves her native land!

  19. This is a link to a picture of the stained glass window of St. David Pendleton Oakerhater (O-kuh-ha-tuh) in Grace Episcopal Church, Syracuse, NY, the national shrine of the first Native American Episcopal saint. The glass images were created from color pencil sketches drawn by St. Oakerhater’s great-granddaughter. The window is extraordinary for both its connection to his ancestor and for the stunning Cheyenne imagery in St. Oakerhater’s native dress and background. I encourage everyone to check it out! St. Oakerhater’s legacy is evident at Grace Church, an urban parish with a beautifully diverse congregation and a passion for social justice. We are honored to walk in the footsteps of this great saint.

  20. Kamehameha relevance to today's health care issues are what persuaded me. Both are very deserving,

  21. I am in awe of both men (have to exclude Emma) as they tried to live live Christ like lives. My vote is for David (not a forced conversion) because the church of his day forget, neglected & ignored his ministry. He should have been ordained to the priesthood but was not & to his credit never gave up on his mission to his people.

  22. Fwiw, this paragraph needs a closer look and perhaps some editing:

    On the home front, Kamehameha and Emma had a son, Albert who died in 1863. It is told that Kamehameha felt responsible for the death of Prince Albert. The four-year-old prince was seriously ill, burning with fever, possibly with spinal meningitis. Kamehameha gave the boy a cold shower to cool him off. However, Albert’s health deteriorated, and the youngster died in August 1862.

  23. The toughest vote yet for me. I almost had to flip a coin. I decided on King Kamehameha because of his statement, "the sick are our brothers and sisters." Thanks be to God for both saints in today's round, and all honor to both.