top of page

Over 200 years of


Giving children hope and a chance.

Scroll Down

The Oaks Indian mission has roots which run deep into the history of the Cherokee Nation. Officially the Mission began in 1801, when the tribe invited Moravian missionaries to open a school in Georgia, a few miles from the seat of the Cherokee government. From 1801 to the present, the Oaks Indian Mission has been instrumental in preparing many Indian children to become successful adults.

1801 - 1898

The story of the Oaks Indian Mission begins with Moravian Missionaries who emigrated from Europe in the early to mid-1700s to what is now the Carolinas and Georgia, to establish mission work among the Cherokee people.

1898 - 1926

Niels Laudjids Nielsen was born in Denmark in 1863. In 1892, he spent the summer at Tahlequah, Oklahoma where he learned the Sequoyah Syllabary of 85 characters and mastered well enough in three weeks to read the Cherokee language. In September of the same year, he opened his first school with an enrollment of eight children.  

1926 - 1980

From its beginning, the Lutheran Missions were primarily focused on the education of Native American young people. The Oaks Mission as a Children’s Home was established in 1926 and is located approximately 65 miles east of Tulsa, Oklahoma, just 23 miles west of Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

1980 - PRESENT

In May 1980, the name of Oaks Indian Mission was changed to Oaks Indian Center. The dormitory setting was eliminated and cottage living came into effect. These cottages are self-contained; cottage parents and their families became a part of the cottage population on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week. The “family” as a working unit became the focus of attention. In January 2004, the Board of Directors voted to change the name back to Oaks Indian Mission to better relate to and focus on our mission and heritage.

bottom of page