Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Demons, Saints, & Patriots: Catholic Visions of Native America through the Indian Sentinel (1902-1962)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Demons, Saints, & Patriots: Catholic Visions of Native America through the Indian Sentinel (1902-1962)

Article excerpt

Demons, Saints, & Patriots: Catholic Visions of Native America through The Indian Sentinel (1902-1962). By Mark Clatterbuck. [Marquette Studies in Theology, No. 69] (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press. 2009. Pp- 288. $29.00 paperback. ISBN 978-0-874-62746-6.)

In his book Demons, Saints, & Patriots Mark Clatterbuck provides an excellent analysis of the history and cultural conflicts of the U. S. Catholic missions to the Native Americans. He focuses his discussion of mission history on the Indian Sentinel, a journal produced by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions to promote, defend, and seek funding for the missions. By careful interpretation of the Sentinel, Clatterbuck shows the perspectives, ideologies, and purposes of the various authors featured in the Sentinel who recount their firsthand experiences in the missions from 1902 to 1962. In the introduction, Clatterbuck notes that there have been many accounts of the missions that have either portrayed the missionaries as unselfish heroes or have launched scathing attacks on the missionaries; Clatterbuck successfully avoids either extreme. Rather, he shows how the missionaries viewed the Native Americans and their culture during different periods on the missions. Clatterbuck also is interested in explaining the mind-set of the missionaries, many of whom were Europeans immigrants, and their adaptation to the American political and cultural landscape.

Clatterbuck provides a concise and accurate account of the controversies surrounding the federal funding of the mission schools prior to 1900. Here he explains the reasons for the founding of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, and he describes the hostile political climate toward the Catholic mission schools. The anti-Catholic climate of the time fostered a defensive attitude at the Sentinel; its writers consistently argued that the Catholic missionaries were promoting the best ideals of American patriotism in the missions.

In succeeding chapters, Clatterbuck argues that the authors of the Sentinel, particularly from 1900 until 1920, often portrayed certain groups of Native Americans in the missions as devotees of demonic, superstitious religions. …

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