WALLOWA — What once belonged to the Nez Perce people will be returned Thursday, April 29, with celebration and fellowship, at Wallowa United Methodist Church in Wallowa.

The deed and keys to the now-closed Wallowa United Methodist Church are being turned over to the Nez Perce Tribe by The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The UMC as a gesture of gratitude, respect and repentance, according to a press release.

Leaders from the tribe, along with Methodist leaders will join in a ceremony of celebration and fellowship as the property, which has been owned by the church for 144 years, is returned to the tribe.

This is the second piece of property the church has returned to the tribe. In 2018, the conference returned 1.5 acres of riverbed property from its Wallowa Lake Camp to the tribe to be used for fish spawning habitat.

The event begins at 11 a.m. outside the Wallowa UMC at 102 W. 1st St. in Wallowa. There will be singing, prayers, a ceremonial sharing of gifts and fellowship. Attendees are being asked to wear masks and practice social distancing during the ceremony.

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