Cherokee Nation
The Dwight Mission was built in 1917.

Cherokee Nation Pledges $120K to Restore Historic Schoolhouse

Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation and its businesses are pledging $120,000 to Dwight Mission in Oklahoma for the restoration and preservation of its old schoolhouse that was built nearly 100 years ago.

The tribe’s contribution is being matched dollar for dollar by The Walton Family Foundation.

The 1917, three-story structure served as the main building on the Dwight campus where missionaries provided education and instruction to Native students. It was historically used as a schoolhouse but also served as offices and a 200-seat auditorium. The project will preserve the history of the building and Dwight Mission, as well as increase capacity and enhance programs.

Cherokee Nation officials presented a check to Dwight Mission for $120,000, which will be used to preserve the schoolhouse that was built in 1917. Pictured from left, are: Janelle Fullbright, Cherokee Nation Tribal Council; Peter Newbury, executive director of Dwight Mission; S. Joe Crittenden; Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief; and Shawn Slaton, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses. (Cherokee Nation)

A place that once served as the first mission for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River is now home to a camp and conference center, serving more than 3,000 guests each year. Along with traditional summer camps, Dwight Mission hosts families and organizations for reunions, conferences and retreats.

Dwight Mission was established in 1820 near Russellville, Arkansas, and was relocated to its present-day location near Sallisaw, Oklahoma, in 1829. The Indian Mission Training School served students for 119 years, offering practical instruction, academics and religious teaching until it closed in 1948. It reopened in 1951 as a camp and conference center and continues to serve thousands of guests each year. To learn more, visit

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