Southern Manitoba is in the northern part of traditional Dakota (Sioux) territory, to which they moved after helping the British during the American Revolution and after defeating General George Armstrong Custer in the Battle of Little Big Horn. Five Dakota communities were formed in Manitoba, including Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. Sioux Valley Dakota Nation was earlier called the Oak River Indian Reserve because of the river running through it. In 1970 the community was renamed Sioux Valley. It is located 10 kilometres north of the TransCanada Highway; Griswold,Manitoba, is just south of the highway.
In 1879 Anglican missionaries arrived by canoe to minister to the Dakota community and were met by Ite Wanzida (Charlie) Dowan, a medicine man who assisted them and became the first Christian convert. Wanzida means "One Face," a person of integrity. Later, the Roman Catholic Church established a presence.
Reserve Fellowship Chapel began as an outreach of the Butler (later Kola) Evangelical Mennonite Church (Evangelical Mennonite Conference [EMC]), with Frank Braun first visiting the community of the (then) Oak River Indian Reserve in the summer of 1956. On 19 July 1960, Demas Dowan was baptized in Butler EMC (later called Kola EMC). A donated building was moved in by Christmas 1962, and by 1966 it had gained two additions and a basement. Frank and Mary Braun were accepted as EMC Board of Mission workers in 1962, and the Oak River outreach became part of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference’s national efforts.
Despite people being baptized, the congregation has not been formally organized. Vacation Bible School has been held for decades, and a Bible camp was held for several years. Worship service attendance has declined, but a weekly service continues.
Reserve Fellowship Chapel has had four pastoral couples in its history: Frank and Mary Braun (1956-1974), Dave and Helen Plett (1974-1988), Jake and Helen Martens (1989-2008), and currently Stan and Norma Millar. Most have been or are largely self-supporting. Stan Millar is a truck driver.
The Reserve Fellowship Chapel’s building was destroyed by fire on 8 October 2009. Since then, the small congregation has been meeting in a building used by various faiths.
In 2012, the average Sunday service attendance was six people.
EMC Yearbook for 2012 (including a record of the proceedings of the 62nd annual sessions of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference July 6-8, 2012). Steinbach: Evangelical Mennonite Conference, 2012.
Parkinson, Ward and Terry Smith. “Sioux Valley deals with building loss.” The Messenger 47, no. 20 (18 November 2009): 10.
Smith, Terry M. “Sioux Valley: A Proud History With Grace and Challenges.” The Messenger 37, no. 7 (7 April 1999): 6-12.
Reserve Fellowship Chapel Pastoral Couples
|Pastoral Couple||Years of Service|
|Frank and Mary Braun||1956-1974|
|Dave and Helen Plett||1974-1988|
|Jake and Helen Martens||1989-2008|
|Stan and Norma Millar||2008-present|
|Date Published||January 2013|
Cite This Article
Smith, Terry. "Reserve Fellowship Chapel (Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Manitoba, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2013. Web. 14 Oct 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Reserve_Fellowship_Chapel_(Sioux_Valley_Dakota_Nation,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=67638.
Smith, Terry. (January 2013). Reserve Fellowship Chapel (Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Manitoba, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 October 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Reserve_Fellowship_Chapel_(Sioux_Valley_Dakota_Nation,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=67638.
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