One of the first dormitory cabins built at Yakni Achukma (Good Land).
In 1835, Ebenezer Hotchkins and Cyrus Kingsbury, Presbyterian ministers, established the Yakni Achukma (Choctaw for “Good Land”) Mission station. In 1838, William Fields, a full-blood Choctaw, built the first home on the Goodland campus. As the community grew, the most vital concern of the Indian people was the education of their children. In 1848, the first full-time minister took up residency on the grounds of present day Good Land. John Lathrop and his wife built the first manse and ministered for two years to the Choctaws. As they returned home in 1850, Rev. Oliver Porter Stark and his wife, Margaret, were assigned to Good Land. His wife began the next day teaching any Indian children that would come to their two room log manse. Orphaned children were boarded by families on present day Goodland property, so they could receive an education. Within two years, the number had grown to 42 Indian children. This was the humble beginnings of the boarding school. The Church building served for 42 years as both school and church for the area. Renovated several times since being built in 1852, the same church — restored and enlarged — stands on the Goodland campus today. It serves as a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness to each successive generation. (Heb. 11:1 – 12:3)