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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.


    Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM)

    Native American Ministries Sunday is April 7, 2024.
    Click here to learn more about this Special Sunday offering.
    For CONAM suggested Resources for Native American Ministries Sunday, click here.
    Does your church have a Local Church Representative to CONAM?

    To contact a representative from CONAM, email


    The Committee on Native American Ministries is offering grants to fund Native American missions, ministries, and communities to support native churches, community outreach, leadership training, education, and cultural survival projects. Grant money is available as part of Native American Ministries Sunday, one of six Special Sunday churchwide offerings. Click here to read the full grant proposal, including the background, purpose, application procedure, review, and approval. Click here for a grant application along with instructions for submission. 

    Our Mission

    The Upper New York Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) seeks to advocate for ministry with and by Native Americans and educate all regarding the rich and diverse culture, history, and traditions of Native Americans.

    Our Charge

    “There shall be an annual conference committee on Native American ministry or other structure to provide for these ministries and maintain the connectional relationships. The basic membership of the committee shall be nominated and elected by established procedure of the respective annual conferences. Each annual conference shall determine the number and composition of the total membership. Where possible, the membership shall consist of a majority of Native Americans.

    It shall be the responsibility of this committee to:

    Each committee shall report how the offering funds have benefited Native Americans in their annual conference” (Book of Discipline, 2008, ¶654).



    Raising Awareness for Abducted Women
    To learn more about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and the REDress Project, read a recent blog here.

    The picture of a Native woman with a red hand imprinted on her back accompanying this description is meant to shock. The red hand is an often used symbol to represent the silent tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW}. Thus the title of the art work by Paige McNatt is "The Unheard Woman." Born out of the violence of colonization, forced relocations, and eroded sovereignty, the murder, rape and trafficking of Indigenous women and youth is a critical crisis that can no longer be ignored.

    More than 1.5 million American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime. Indigenous women are more likely to be murdered with a rate up to 10 times the national average. The maze of jurisdictional authorities that must be negotiated to bring changes and the the shame associated with thee crimes results in reported numbers which are often under representative of the true situation.

    Upper New York Committee on Native American Ministries ha begun to address the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and their families as part of our education and advocacy work.  As we seek to honor, advocate for, and remember our Native Sisters, we ask the support of all United Methodists. This is an opportunity to make a difference.  For Action steps you can take: visit the Northeastern jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee ( MMIWG page and to know more about this important issue isit the Education page. to find liturgies you can use to bring awareness to your congregation visit the Worship page.

    Justice for our children, Healing for our communities

    The artist, Paige McNatt, explains the image on front: “The school is in the background with the children’s moccasins and shorn braids being buried with the truth in the foreground. I wanted to have dark, looming clouds in the sky behind the school to convey the darkness and pain that it represents. I chose to have "justice for our children" behind a yellow, more hopeful part of the sky. On the grass, there are brown spots to show that there are many other holes just like the one in the foreground of the drawing.”

    Justice for Our Children; Healing for Our Communities 

    → Stop burying the truth of the horrific acts of cruelty and deaths of Native children at boarding schools 

    → Return our children to their family homelands from mass and individual graves wherever they are

    → Speak the trauma that has been passed down from generation to generation in our communities

    → Persevere in holding governmental, church and private institutions accountable for restitution Our children’s names were unknown to the strangers who stole them, but we continue to sing out our children’s names. October 6, 2021: Day of Remembrance and Action 

    → This date remembers the forcible taking of Native children to the first off-reservation boarding school at Carlisle, PA by Captain Pratt in 1879, though compulsory “mission schools” existed long before 

    → Learn more at:

    → Wear the color orange in solidarity with others standing for truth and standing against violence 

    → Hold prayer circles and sacred gatherings to remember our children, inviting others to join 

    → Advocate for federal, state and local government and church leadership to search out and make known the truth of the slaughter of our children, people and culture 

    UNY CONAM endorses NEJNAMC on Statement of Full Inclusion (2.22.21.)

    The United Methodist Church Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee announces official position on full inclusion of LGBTQIAS2+ persons. Read story here.

    Archived News

    Click here to view archived news.

    Podcast on Doctrine of Discovery

    Click here to access the podcast.

    Churches and Ministries

    There are three Native American United Methodist churches in the Upper New York Annual Conference:

    • Four Corners United Methodist Church, located on the Cattaraugus Territory
    • Hogansburg United Methodist church located on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation at Akwesasnee
    • Onondaga Nation United Methodist Church located on the Onondaga Nation Indian Territory

    Native American Outreach Transportation Program

    Elders on the Onondaga Nation and in the greater Syracuse area obtain transportation to doctor appointments, medical treatments, food pantries, senior nutrition sites, and other necessary places. This program is made possible through the Onondaga County Department of Adult and Long Term Care Services, the Upper New York Annual Conference, the Committee on Native American Ministry (CONAM), and the Onondaga Nation UMC. We have received a New York State Department of Transportation grant to purchase a wheelchair accessible van in 2011. This will expand our ability to offer rides to individuals with disabilities.

    We welcome support from individuals and churches to help us meet operating expenses and maintain the van. For further information contact Kae Wilbert at

    There is also ongoing support for education, cultural preservation, and social justice for Native American communities within our conference.

    Students from Rontewennanonhnha School thank Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for generous support.

    Our Connection

    The Native American people and Native American churches within our conference are a part of our Global Neighborhood, bringing a rich history and diverse gifts. The purpose of our work is to build relationships between all members of our churches and all Native peoples. Your can support our work by:

    • Celebrating Native American Ministries Sunday
    • Learning more about Native American people, history, culture
    • Visiting the Native American churches in our Conference
    • Recommending individuals as members of CONAM
    • Contributing to Native American Conference Advance Specials: Native American Outreach/Transportation Program # 3204; Onondaga Nation UMC # 3202

    Submitting the name of a designated member of your church/or charge to your District Superintendent as charged in The Book of Discipline:

    “Every local church at charge conference shall designate by nomination and election a minimum of one person per charge (without regard to race or ethnic origin) or a designated member of an established church committee to represent the need for better awareness of Native American contributions in the local church. These names are to be submitted to the District Superintendent at charge conference and given to the Annual Conference committee on Native American ministry." (Book of Discipline, 2008, ¶654).

    Upper New York CONAM is a member of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee (NEJNAMC) which is comprised of the Conference CONAM's in the Jurisdiction. The committee meets once a year, usually in the fall, to hear from each other and to learn about resources that are available to the churches, native communities, and native people of our jurisdiction through the United Methodist Church, other faith entities, and secular resources. For more information about NEJNAMC contact Chairperson Todd Warfield at


    No one person or group can possibly know or speak about all Native nations and tribes, their cultures and traditions. The Committee on Native American Ministries, however, can provide information concerning Native American Ministries in the Upper New York conference, as well as assist in providing resources for local church educational programs concerning Native American information and issues.

    Team Members

    Chair: Kae Wilbert,
    Administrative Assistant: Brooke Conklin
    Treasurer: Blenda Smith (Cady Grant Committee, liaison CCORR)
    CONAM Rep for Cady Grant: Sharon Schmit
    Secretary: Marilyn Anderson (Seneca)
    Rev. Sue Crawson-Brizzolara (Dine, Peenpac)
    Carolyn Huston
    Roselynn Kingsbury (Cree)
    Bethany Printup-Davis (Tuscarora)
    Rosalie Schotanus (Onondaga, Eel Clan)
    Rev. Thomas White Wolf Fassett (Seneca)
    Kae Wilbert (Cherokee) ex-officio NEJNAMC treasurer
    Mary Alice Nyhan
    Sharon Flood

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."