Heritage Tours:

Search for a tour by category:

Search site:

string(50) ""

St. Mary’s Mission

In the fall of 1885, Father DeRouge, a catholic priest, arrived at the Okanogan River, near the present Ellis-Forde, where he built a home and a small chapel. Later in 1886 a long chapel was built at the head of Omak Lake, east of the Okanogan River on the Colville Native American Reservation. This was the beginning of St. Mary’s Mission, which in charge of Father DeRouge became one of the leading educational institutions for Native Americans in the State of Washington. The Father made a trip to France in 1889 and returned with money he collected there and with this money he placed the Mission in the field. St. Mary’s Mission has been in continuous operation since that time. After thirty years of dedicated service to the Colville and Okanogan Native Americans, Father DeRouge died in 1916. He was succeeded by Father Celestine Caldi, who served from 1916 until his death in 1937. It was sometime during this time that the mission was practically destroyed by fire. It has been rebuilt and at the present time is a well established and active Mission. Such noted Native Americans as Paul Wapato and Paschal Sherman started their education at this institution.