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Past & Present By Chad Bragg. It is estimated that at the time of Columbus’ first journey there were 12 million Missions to the natives began almost immediately.

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Presentation on theme: "Past & Present By Chad Bragg. It is estimated that at the time of Columbus’ first journey there were 12 million Missions to the natives began almost immediately."— Presentation transcript:

1 Past & Present By Chad Bragg

2 It is estimated that at the time of Columbus’ first journey there were 12 million Missions to the natives began almost immediately upon the arrival of Europeans Missionaries very ethnocentric Native Americans thought to be unable to grow in the faith unless they adapted European culture. Mission work often thwarted and relegated as secondary due to war, expansion, and survival in the “New World”


4 1493: Columbus takes priests with him on his 2 nd journey to the “New World.” 1496: Baptisms on the Island of Hispaniola 1540: Spaniards came into the Southwest from Mexico (Cortez) By 1680 the natives had revolted against the Spanish settlers and they went back to Mexico. The natives in the Southwest were retaliated against severely. From that point on they did not allow “Christianity to penetrate the private sphere of their religious sensibilities Spanish (Catholics): Southwest 1534: Jacques Cartier and Jesuit Priests – early contact and exploration. No mission work at this time. 1608: Champlain encouraged missionary activity among the natives in the Huron region. 1640s: Mission work going well but European diseases wipe out nearly half of the native population 1648: Iroquois League launches a large military campaign against natives in the Huron region. 1650: Jesuits leave the Huron region, fleeing from tribal war and disease French (Jesuits): Northeast

5 English (Puritan): East 1620: Pilgrims settle Plymouth colony. Missionary work declared to be a central reason for establishing towns and westward expansion 1642: Thomas Mayhew Jr. begins the earliest sustained missionary program by reaching out to the Algonquian- speaking natives. 1657: Saw some notable conversions among the native people 1643: John Eliot – “Apostle to the Indians” begins working with the Algonquian. 1654: Eliot produces Algonquian translation of Shorter Catechism. 1663: Algonquian translation of entire Bible 1675: Philip’s War Wampanoag leader organized groups of Native Americans to attack several English towns in a retaliation for the killing of his brother The war greatly affected mission work as it deepened distrust toward all natives. “Fearful whites… concluded what they had suspected all along: that no Indian could ever be trusted. Contagious fear led to blanket condemnation of all natives; the missionaries could not counteract the anti-Indian prejudice fed by wartime hysteria” (Bowden, 132).

6 After King Philip’s War - opinion of the Natives had turned to disdain and fear Because of dwindling native population complacency over conversion of natives grew Almost unanimous consent that natives needed to be “civilized” before they could be converted

7 John Sergeant Missionary to the Housatonics Translated catechism, Bible lessons, prayers into local dialect Tried to “reculture” the natives Had little success among the natives Eleazar Wheelock Created boarding school for Indian youths and planned to send them out as missionaries Still believed that natives must be “civilized” before being converted Little success Samson Occom Full-blooded Mohegan Student of Wheelock Had much more success among natives than his white counterparts. Eventually separate from Wheelock but continued to work among his fellow natives 1710 - 17491711 - 17791723 - 1792

8 Samuel Kirkland White student of Wheelock Did not agree that natives should be forced to alter their culture Had great success among several native tribes Also broke with Wheelock over missionary methods David Brainerd Presbyterian with “vigorous missionary spirit” Very devoted to the Native American tribes he worked with Worked with several different tribes and saw mixed success among some His brother John took over after David’s death and saw more success David Zeisberger Moravian missionary Moravian’s produced greatest number of converts Concentrated on the large tribes of the Iroquois League Zeisberger lived among the natives and became one of them 1741 - 1808 1718 - 17471721 - 1808

9 At the end of the 18 th century, the Revolutionary War all but halted missions to the natives After the war, treaties were made and constantly broken by the United States Government. Tribes were moved from one place to the next to make way for the expanding claims to land of the non-natives 1830: Andrew Jackson pushes Indian Removal bill through congress – most of the tribes remaining in the east forced to move west Natives living in the West resisted acculturation and some physically fought against westward U.S. expansion 1869: President Grant created Board of Indian Commissioners to oversee U.S. relations with natives (headed by Christian layman from 13 different denominations) Government Relations

10 Infancy of a new nation – American culture more solidified Baptist missionary, Isaac McCoy worked with natives in the Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky area John Stewart & James B. Finley, Methodist missionaries, involved in missions in Midwestern states Agencies such as the American Indian Missionary Association (Louisville, KY), and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sponsored missionaries and set up schools to train natives Missionaries continued to expect natives to adapt to American culture Natives began to practice more syncretistic Christianity

11 Many natives continued to be syncretistic – adapting Christian and native aspects into the practice of religion Missionaries begin to loosen up on their assimilation tactics Pan-Indianism movement: tribes work together seeking “to preserve alternative, more meaningful life-styles” Native-American Church: syncretistic church, practices the use of peyote, membership estimates around 250,000

12 In 2006, there were just under 700,000 First Nations individuals in Canada, over 2% of the population. In 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that about 1.5 percent (roughly 4.5 million) of the U.S. population claimed to be of American Indian or Alaska Native descent. Many of the Native American Tribes are considered unreached or “unknown” on Joshua About 33% live on or near reservations. Most of the rest live scattered about in major cities.


14 Missionaries need to be aware of the history Mission work cannot be ethnocentric Must be aware of the culture and avoid syncretism Important to establish indigenous workers “The American church needs to stop viewing First Nations people as simply a mission field and see them as valued and needed members of the Body of Christ” (Twiss, 20). Missionaries should humble themselves before God and Native Americans.

15 Twiss, Richard. One Church, Many Tribes. 2000. Edwards, Jonathan. Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd. 1822. Wyss, Hilary E. Writing Indians. 2000. Knapp, Henry M. “The Character of Puritan Missions: The Motivation, Methodology, and Effectiveness of the Puritan Evangelization of the Native Americans in New England.” Journal of Presbyterian History 76:2 (1998)

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