CONAM Partnerships Providing Relief From Indiana to the Dakotas 

There are over 40,000 Native American Indians in the state of Indiana. CONAM seeks to express tapalot (which means ‘love’ in the Miami language) from here in Indiana all the way to the Dakotas. 

Linda Madagame (whose name means Motion Water in the Ottawa language) has led the Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) for the Indiana Conference in a volunteer capacity for over 12 years. The group is a small (but mighty, she adds) committee including four others: Ron and Marilyn Hahn, Enid Gengler, and Kathy Clemens. The goal is to bring awareness of Native American/American Indian cultural traditions and spirituality, as well as the challenges facing Indigenous communities to those people unaware. 

“We offer support to American Indian/Native American people living within reservation communities that the onsite UMC ministries leadership oversee,” Linda said. 

According to Linda, Indians leave their reservations thinking they will find abundant lives, but that isn’t always the case. Healthcare, for example, is not easy to navigate when one hasn’t been taught how to use the systems available. Even applying for food stamps can be difficult for some.

“Food pantries are so important. If people don’t know where to find food, they can with our programs,” Linda noted. The Miami Nation of Peru has a monthly food pantry that partners with CONAM to bring in bread products and canned goods for local residents. 

CONAM also partners with Entenmann’s to provide food; this relationship began back in 2015 with the “Bread of Life” Ministry that was a branch of CONAM’s outreach programming. Fresh bread is distributed monthly to both native and non natives; anyone in need can receive it.   

CONAM’s impact extends beyond the state of Indiana. Every year, CONAM donates money for fuel to several United Methodist ministries that are serving on reservations in the Dakotas—Spirit Lake in North Dakota and Tree of Life Ministries and the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota—where winters can be brutal. CONAM helps provide fuel to keep people’s homes warm.

Mike and Libby Flowers are Dakotas Conference Missionaries serving the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota and have received donations from CONAM. “Your annual gift for heating assistance to our ministry is a life saver. Our temperatures dip well below zero, and people scramble to pay for propane for heating and cooking. Without heat, water pipes freeze, and these costs can be insurmountable for many. Your annual donation has kept families together and prevented damage to homes. We appreciate your support in prayers and presents.” 

In the Indiana Conference, we seek to honor Native American lives in Indiana and across the country. As the Apostle John directs, let us ‘tapalot,’ not with word or speech but with actions and in truth. If you would like to volunteer or support the ministry of CONAM, contact Annettra Jones at