The Jesuit Relations• The relations are annual reports of French missionaries, efforts to convert “savages” to Catholicism.• Documents reflect the biases the Jesuits had in their writings.• Each volume includes news about progress of the colonies.• The devastation of epidemics, wars, and other news of the natives in north America.
The Jesuit Relations• Their descriptions are very accurate.• They describe native ceremonies with great detail, even though they didn’t approve of them.• Their accounts were accurate because the Jesuits lived with the local population and spoke the language.• To be able to understand the Jesuits relationship with the natives more background is needed.
The Jesuits Relations• The Jesuits were members of a religious order of Jesus• They took vows of poverty and obedience to distinguish themselves from parish priests.• The Jesuits were founded in 1534 by Spanish ex-soldier Ignatius of Loyola• The Jesuits not only evangelized in the Americas but were also sent out to the east and Asia.
The Jesuits Relations• Earliest published Jesuit relations were written by Father Paul Le Jeune (1592-1664)• He traveled to Canada at the age of forty, at this time the natives already had some contact with Europeans.• The Jesuits were interested in the natives beliefs and supernatural entities.• He would often travel on hunting trips for large game which would give him access to the interior of the country.• These were done with the settlers and the native.
The Jesuit Relations• Paul Le Jeune asks natives questions of their beliefs and explains their logic.• From his writing he seems genuinely interested.• On these trips Le Jeune learns about the different beliefs the natives have, he treats them poorly, showing he is set on the Jesuits beliefs.• He also made many notes on the natives good qualities and how some beliefs are similar to Europeans.• Their tactics in discipline were closely observed
The Jesuits Relations• Thanks to the Jesuits the Huron were the most documented from all the natives they were in contact with.• They were the largest group in the area.• The Huron would not move from camp to camp and were more stable, staying in the same lands for a longer period of time.• This made it easier for the Jesuits to keep contact with the Huron and build relationships.• Not only was the Huron language documented but religion and beliefs as well.
The Jesuits Relations• The French did not come to the new world as missionaries.• They often came with gifts for the natives which they tended to side with.• Because the Jesuits converted so many Huron this weakened the Huron community by dividing them.
The Jesuits Relations• The Jesuits also wrote on the beliefs of the natives to natural occurrences.• They describe the earthquakes at the time and the reaction of the natives.• This gives some perspective of the logic of the Europeans and the native people.
The Jesuits Relations• Jean de Bredeuf had lots of writing on the Hurons.• He explained the beliefs of the Huron and his beliefs of the Huron people.• His claim was that the Huron did believe in one higher being at some point in history and the missionaries are doing the work.• The Huron actually believed in a higher entity but it was not the Jesuits god.• They didn’t have any form of higher being or leadership but yet they still kept order in their society.