Positioning the Missionary: John Booth Good and the Confluence of Cultures in Nineteenth-Century British Columbia

Synopsis

Positioning the Missionary examines Anglican missionary work in nineteenth-century British Columbia. Its chief protagonists are John Booth Good, an agent of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the Nlha7kapmx poeple of southwestern B. C. Asking why the Nkha7kapmx embraced Good, how he sought to evangelize and civilize them, and how they responded, it situates Good's mission at several scales: the local ethnographic literature; histories of contact and conflict in mainland B. C. from the early nineteenth century; the theology and sociology of mission; and the recent critical literature on European colonialism. Christophers rethinks mission work in the light of contemporary theories of colonial discourse and disciplinary power, and speculates about the interpretative potential of such concepts. In addition to Good's encounter with the Nlha7kapmx, Positioning the Missionary also refers to other colonial missions, identifying by turns the peculiarity of Good's experience and the ways in which it conforms to broader patterns of mission history. As a reflection on the ongoing politics of colonialism, this book discusses Good's contribution to the devastation of Nlha7kapmx culture and his duplicitous role in the appropriation of Nlha7kapmx lands.