Case 13: Missionaries

 

 

 

Missionary work in North America began as early as the 16th century, with Spanish missions in present-day Mexico and the American Southwest. French Jesuit missionaries first arrived in Canada in the 17th century. Throughout the early history of the United States, Christian missionaries of various denominations attempted to educate and convert different groups of Native Americans. While missionaries sometimes positioned themselves as advocates of Indian welfare, they were primarily focused on assimilation and the eradication of indigenous cultural practices and religious beliefs. This section of the exhibit focuses on American missionary activities in the 19th century, providing a sampling of different texts related to these efforts.

 

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American Indian Mission Association, Memorial of the American Indian Mission Association, Praying the Adoption of Measures for Promoting the Permanent Welfare of the Various Indian Tribes. January 30, 1845. 28th Congress, 2d Session, Senate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LEFT: John G. Shea, History of the Catholic Missions Among the Indian Tribes of the United States, 1529-1854. New York: E. Dunigan & Brother, 1855.

 

 

 

RIGHT: Society of Friends, A Brief Sketch of the Efforts of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, to Promote the Civilization and Improvement of the Indians. Philadelphia: Friends’ Book Store, 1879.

 

 

 

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Eugene Vetromile, Ahiamihewintuhangan: The Prayer Song. New York: E. Dunigan & Brother, 1858.  Illustration: “Anda Dakkabin, Anda Skudewhambu. No Rum, No Fire-Water.”

Eugene Vetromile was a Jesuit missionary to the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Indians of Maine, beginning in the 1850s.

 

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Cherokee Alphabet : Characters as Arranged by the Inventor. Circa 1860. Language: Cherokee (Tsalagi).

Sequoyah developed this Cherokee syllabary in the early 1800s as a sophisticated writing system for the Cherokee language. It was immediately successful and is still in use today. Printed guides such as this, found in the papers of a New England missionary, were used by missionaries and others in contact with the Cherokees. From the Blandina Diedrich Collection.

 

Horace A. Wentz manuscript, The Lords Prayer in Cherokee; January 1854. From the Blandina Diedrich Collection.

 

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[New Testament printed in the Cherokee syllabary.] New York: American Bible Society, 1860. Language: Cherokee (Tsalagi).