The jesuit relations

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The jesuit relations

  1. 1. The Jesuit Relations<br />By Jeffrey Phongsamran<br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />The Jesuit Relations is some of the most important set of documents on the 17th century, they are annual reports of French Missionaries on their efforts to convert “pagan savages” to Catholic Christianity.<br />Main reasons that the relations is a precious resource of missionary contacts with native Americans is because: (1) Jesuits knew what they were talking about. (2) They were literate, their training made them masters of the written word.<br />Jesuits were members of a religious order, the Society of Jesus, they took vows of poverty and obedience that distinguished them from regular parish priest<br />
  3. 3. Cont.<br />Their mission was to travel abroad and convert heretics.<br />They specialized in human engineering. They were quite modern to the sensitivity of development among children and adults.<br />In Latin American the Jesuits had less need to adapt foreign cultures because they were accompanied by conquering empires of Spain and Portugal.<br />In the North America scene they made their presence with the French Fur Traders, the whole mission enterprise was affected by the large pattern of relations between Indians and French.<br />
  4. 4. Jean de Brebeuf on the Hurons<br />Brebeuf believes it is important to note that the Hurons are distinguishable from beast and rank them among men because they live with some political and civil life.<br />He also points out that they lived in assembled villages, cultivate the fields, and live together in peace and friendship.<br />The Hurons had a gentleness and affability almost incredible for “savages.”<br />
  5. 5. Huron cont.<br />To maintain such harmony the Huron constantly visit each other, helping in time of sickness, and through feast and marriage alliances.<br />You cannot insult a single individual with out having the whole community resenting it.<br />Brebeuf finds it remarkable that there is great prudence and moderation of speech. He has not attended any of the regular councils, but every time he was invited.<br />
  6. 6. Disease and Medicine<br />The relations is a good source on the spread of old-world diseases among the natives, a tragic and crucially important dimension of the history about European contact.<br />The Jesuits did not see themselves as doctors, their priority was saving souls, and when epidemic struck, the put most of their efforts into baptizing the dying rather than relieving the suffering of the living… a strategy that did not win them favor from their native host. <br />
  7. 7. Disease and Medicine cont.<br />The Jesuits disapproval of most native medicine is quite apparent. <br />Many Huron medical procedures involved the mind and body. They would frequently try to cure the illness with ceremonies.<br />The Jesuits were shocked by the eroticism that often surfaced.<br />In Europe patients who were ill were removed from daily life and isolated, the Hurons however kept their sick in the midst of busy life .<br />
  8. 8. Diplomacy and War<br />Jesuits missions in New France were conducted in an atmosphere of tension, war, and shifting alliances.<br />Unlike the Spanish in South America they didn’t come as conquers. They were never able to secure a submission of the natives from New France.<br />War between the Iroquois and north nations was interrupted by occasional truces and peace.<br />
  9. 9. Diplomacy and War cont.<br />After a brief truce the Mohawk accused a Huron-French diplomat of treachery and evil magic. The emissaries, including a Jesuit, were killed.<br />Eventually the Iroquois armies were steeping up attacks on the Huron. Traditionally they would inflict damage while capturing people, this time they seemed intent on destroying an entire people.<br />The Huron’s eventually collapsed to frequent Iroquois hammer blows in 1649.<br />
  10. 10. Missions to the Iroquois<br />Converting the Iroquois was one of the biggest ambitions of the Jesuits.<br />The Iroquois were seen as the deadly enemies of France and God himself.<br />Success came only after 1667 when lasting peace was established, this happened with Two French invasions that left the Mohawk villages in flames. Though they were never actually defeated in battle they came to terms with the French.<br />
  11. 11. Missions to the Iroquois cont.<br />Because of their treaty with France, the Iroquois had to allow Christian missionaries into their midst. <br />The Iroquois still remained fiercely jealous of their independence and were determined to preserve their culture, even as they deferred to missionary authority in certain strictly religious matters.<br />

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