Tribe to help preserve school
VIAN — The Cherokee Nation and its businesses are pledging $120,000 to Dwight Mission for the restoration and preservation of its old schoolhouse 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 was the main building on the campus where missionaries provided education and instruction to American Indian students. It historically was used as a schoolhouse but also has offices and a 200-seat auditorium. The project will preserve the history of the building and Dwight Mission and increase capacity and enhance programs.
The site, the first mission to American Indians west of the Mississippi River, is now a camp and conference center serving more than 3,000 guests each year.
Along with traditional summer camps, Dwight Mission plays host to families and organizations for reunions, conferences and retreats. Dwight Mission was established in 1820 near Russellville, Ark., and relocated to its present location in Sequoyah County in 1829.