Jesuit Relations


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Jesuit Relations

  1. 1. The Jesuit Relations Rebecca Wasmund
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Annual reports of French missionaries </li></ul><ul><li>Attempts to convert natives of North America to Catholicism. </li></ul><ul><li>Biased sources - Jesuits did not (and did not want to) understand some aspects of aboriginal life. </li></ul><ul><li>Missions with Iroquoians and Algonquians and in Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>First missions to Canada failed due to English raiders </li></ul><ul><li>Jesuits believed they were “sacrificing themselves” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Began succeeding in 1640, when many natives were decimated by wars and epidemics </li></ul><ul><li>Relations were written for audiences back home in France </li></ul><ul><li>Relations never claim that Canada was ever fully Christianized </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural gap between those writing Relations and natives being observed </li></ul><ul><li>Natives were “noble savages” - pure, representations of what society could be </li></ul>
  4. 4. Chapter One <ul><li>Earliest Relations written by Father Paul Le Jeune, focused mostly on the Montagnais </li></ul><ul><li>Le Jeune traveled with Montagnais to hunt </li></ul><ul><li>Natives faced great hardships - traveled far, sometimes very little food </li></ul><ul><li>Natives mocked the Europeans for their illogical love of beaver skin </li></ul><ul><li>Natives superstitious - certain rituals must be followed to ensure successful hunts. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Chapter One <ul><li>Believed being called Messou restored world after flood (so some Indian fables relate to biblical stories) </li></ul><ul><li>Described rituals used to consult spirits of the future </li></ul><ul><li>Praised Indians - strong, agile, of good mind, patient </li></ul><ul><li>Frenchmen impatient, quick to anger, unable to survive short periods without food - opposite of Indians </li></ul><ul><li>Indians very forgiving, admirable </li></ul>
  6. 6. Chapter Two <ul><li>Hurons - best documented group of Natives </li></ul><ul><li>Brebeuf conversed with Hurons about their views, but dismissed them as foolish when writing for European audience </li></ul><ul><li>Unique feminine plural conjugation existed in Huron </li></ul><ul><li>Some similarities to story of Adam and Eve in beliefs regarding origin of man </li></ul><ul><li>Believed some inanimate objects were animate </li></ul>
  7. 7. Chapter Two <ul><li>Interesting ceremonies for fishing placed value on virginity - Jesuits saw positives in that </li></ul><ul><li>Natives hospitable - Brebeuf expressed hope that they would be capable of Christian charity </li></ul><ul><li>Brebeuf challenged belief that lack of central leader led to anarchy - Hurons lacked powerful leaders, yet lived peacefully </li></ul><ul><li>Leaders sometimes succeeded by nephews or grandsons (if properly qualified), not sons </li></ul>
  8. 8. Chapter Three <ul><li>Jesuits brought epidemics - when natives began dying, they spent time baptizing them rather than trying to cure them </li></ul><ul><li>Dances, singing, sports games thought to cure different ailments </li></ul><ul><li>Entire villages would inconvenience themselves if they thought it would heal a fellow villager from whatever ailed them </li></ul><ul><li>Obviously these things often didn’t cure anything - but yet natives still believed earnestly </li></ul>
  9. 9. Chapter Three <ul><li>Indians amazed by way Frenchman nursed their sick </li></ul><ul><li>Indians not always interested in being baptized, as they wanted to live as long as possible and not consider death lest it overtake them </li></ul><ul><li>Jesuits sometimes baptized children against their parents’ will </li></ul><ul><li>Epidemics made natives lose faith in sorcerers and some turned to Christianity for explanations and security. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Chapter Five <ul><li>Believed solar eclipses were due to a man threatening Manitou’s wife </li></ul><ul><li>Animals tenacious - God gave animals anger to repel enemies </li></ul><ul><li>In 1663 many earthquakes, eclipses, other natural phenomena </li></ul><ul><li>Some natives claimed to predict the earthquakes </li></ul><ul><li>Natives and Jesuits both terrified and surprised by natural disasters </li></ul>
  11. 11. Chapter Five <ul><li>When France and allies made peace with Iroquoians, New France prospered </li></ul><ul><li>Were finally able to utilize resources that were previously off-limits because the Iroquoians kept them confined with threats of violence </li></ul><ul><li>Many new resources harvested: were fisheries, mines, new crops and new domesticated animals </li></ul><ul><li>Prosperity compared to life in France </li></ul>