I Will Fear No Evil: Ojibwa-Missionary Encounters along the Berens River, 1875-1940

I Will Fear No Evil: Ojibwa-Missionary Encounters along the Berens River, 1875-1940

I Will Fear No Evil: Ojibwa-Missionary Encounters along the Berens River, 1875-1940

I Will Fear No Evil: Ojibwa-Missionary Encounters along the Berens River, 1875-1940

Synopsis

Offers a new perspective on missionary-aboriginal encounters between the Berens River Ojibwa and Christian missionaries between 1875 and 1940 moving beyond a simple chronicle of the introduction and adoption of Christian elements by the Ojibwa to recognise and highlight the complicated ebb and flow of ideas and beliefs between these two groups.

Excerpt

When I had a conversation with Susan Gray about her research and writing on a period of missionary history along the Berens River, I was very interested. My great-grandfather Joseph Everett was from Berens River and that was a connection for me. Even more important was my lifelong involvement in the work of the United Church and a desire to have a greater understanding of the historic developments in the church. Susan asked if I would be willing to write the foreword to her book. I replied, “Send me the manuscript and we shall see what is possible.”

The reading of the manuscript has been exciting. Susan Gray has demonstrated the remarkable discipline that is required to focus her writing on a fixed period of history. The limiting of her book in this manner is especially notable because she was interviewing elders who would often wander beyond this period of history in the natural process of storytelling.

The preface is a valuable contribution to cross-cultural understanding. Susan Gray had a plan in place before her visit to Berens River but it was not the “people’s plan.” The learned patience and the testing of motives explains the requirement for building right relationships with the Ojibwa of Berens River. The testing of intentions was a part of treaty negotiations a century before Susan visited Berens River and it is the continuing tradition.

The project built momentum when it was understood that it would be a means of giving voice to the elders. The process with each interview had a pattern which also was about building trust. The elders of Berens River have been questioned by academics . . .

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