The Jesuit Relations


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The Jesuit Relations

  1. 1. The Jesuit Relations<br />By Susan Hiner<br />History 140 <br />
  2. 2. The Jesuits Relations were the historical documents written by French missionaries called Jesuits who were members of a religious order called the Society of Jesus, sent out in the world to convert savages to Catholic Christianity.<br />As they did in Asia and South America, they travelled to North America in Eastern Canada and NE United States to convert the native nations.<br />By living in the native’s villages and learning their culture and language the Jesuits were able to write about the Montagnais, Algonquins, Hurons and Iroquois, however, mainly the Mohawks.<br />Protected mission communities were made, and the conflicts between tribes was basically their military, not their culture.<br />The Jesuits witnessed and recorded the native’s world after the French arrived, including the diseases and the economic and political ramifications.<br />Introduction<br />
  3. 3. Missions and colleges in Canada were established by the Jesuits and funded by landholdings, government and donations. They had the leading role in the colony’s political life with the assistance of their acquaintances in the French empire.<br />With the many years of war and difficult living circumstances, the Jesuits were successful with the Hurons and others, and after peace with the Iroquois in the mid seventeenth century, there was less to write about.<br />They were helpful in colonizing Louisiana in the 1700’s, however by that time the Jesuit Relations was not being published.<br />Relations was an extremely important contribution to the European knowledge of Amerindian culture.<br />The Jesuits were Europeans in a world several centuries behind us writing about an uncivilized, pagan society with a very different culture and custom, but still human, with good and bad virtues.<br />Introduction<br />
  4. 4. The Montagnais are patient, intelligent, resourceful and hardworking Indians. They carry all they need from camp to camp, in several feet of snow making their own transportation devices, sometimes with little or no food in a day.<br />They hunt beavers with nets and traps, believing that some parts should be thrown in the water and some parts in the fire.<br />Seasons are given names, animals have older brothers and they believe that spirits can tell them the future through their shaman.<br />The chief of the tribe is their only ruling type of government. They rarely get angry and they don’t kill to get ahead.<br />The women take care of the household and the men take what they ‘dish out’ to them, literally, without complaint.<br />Young children are not punished for hurting anyone, since they have no mind. Their custom is to release them from punishment by giving presents to the friends of the person who was injured.<br />Montagnais Hunters of the Northern Woodlands<br />
  5. 5. Huron Medical Practices<br />Cures by games, gambling and filling ones personal desires<br />Jesuits blamed for influenza epidemic of 1637<br />They contracted the flu as well, and a famous Indian sorcerer offered to cure them with a special ceremony, for a price, however the only remedy the Jesuits would accept was the roots to use in order to reduce the fevers, since the sorcerer’s prayers were not to God.<br />The epidemic rages through more villages and the procedures used to give healing and comfort are conflicting between the Jesuits and the Huron<br />Smallpox is spread to entire Huron country, from the Hurons who visited with the Algonquins on their way to Quebec. The Jesuits were blamed and expelled from the villages.<br />Jesuits baptize and bleed sick villagers, however the shaman’s superstitions and remedies failed, and do more harm than good.<br />Disease and Medicine<br />
  6. 6. Canada was regarded as God-forsaken because it was so cold and had endless forests<br />Valued human characteristics, similar to aggression and industriousness were perceived in animals and stories were written about them.<br />Earthquakes and after shocks in 1663 during the war with the Iroquois, were thought to be signs from God by both French and natives alike. Mountains and trees moved, rivers turned to sulfur.<br />Solar eclipse and comet observed and measured by Jesuits.<br />After King Louis XIV conquered the Iroquois, the Jesuits evangelized to the Mohawks and Oneidas. With peace in the land, and with the help of government funds, immigration and trade, this allowed the colonials to spread out, till the land, and open up opportunities for business in fisheries, mining, lumber, agriculture and livestock.<br />Writings on the Natural Environment<br />
  7. 7. Pursuant to the Iroquois treaty with the French, the Jesuits established their headquarters in Gandaouagué located in Mohawk country in 1667.<br />Many Huron are converted and are zealous in their faith, except for those that fall into drunkenness caused by the alcohol purchased from the Europeans.<br />Jesuit, Jean Pierron converted the Mohawks, or the Lower Iroquois, to Christianity by persuasion and through picture games.<br />Many Mohawks migrated to Kahnawake in Sault St. Louis. They kept their Iroquoian language and culture, however their community life was Christian.<br />They became examples of a good Christian for all of Canada to see, and no longer followed the French since they were not thought of highly.<br />Missions to the Iroquois<br />