The Mohicans of Stockbridge

By Patrick Frazier | Go to book overview
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Christianity, either the prospect or the revival of it, seemed to be blossoming everywhere as the ecumenical fervor of the Great Awakening spread. At least in this aspect of cultural adaptation, the Mohicans were right in step with their colonial brethren. Several Indians from Stockbridge accompanied Sergeant on a proselytizing journey in the spring of 1741 to a Shawnee village on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. The Mohicans preached to their younger brothers like true Calvinist converts: "This is the way to life." "If you pity your body and soul you will receive the Christian religion." "The only true light which enlightens the eyes is the Christian religion."1

The Shawnees, however, responded coolly to the Mohicans' message, and when it was Sergeant's turn to address them, many of the local Indians left, including the chief. The rest started arguing with the missionary. These Shawnees had received their present site from the Senecas, who were pro-French and had warned the other Indians never to receive Christianity from the Protestants. In addition, the Shawnees had formed a low opinion of Protestants, Sergeant said, "by their own observation of the behaviour of that vile sort of men the traders, that go among them; for they said (which I believe is an unhappy and reproachful truth) that they would lie, cheat, and debauch their women and even their wives, if their husbands were not at home. They were further prejudic'd against


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