Will to Power: The Missionary Career of Father Morice

By David Mulhall | Go to book overview

2
TENDERFOOT MISSIONARY AMONG THE CHILCOTIN

At Williams Lake, Father Morice made no attempt to reconcile himself to the role of schoolmaster, and his usual strategy of passive resistance soon caused d'Herbomez to give him yet another new job. The bishop probably thought that he had finally found a compromise that would pacify Morice. In January 1883, the maverick priest was given the task of evangelizing the Chilcotin Indians. Although he would continue to live at Williams Lake and help out at the school, Morice had won a minor victory. At last, he could satisfy his need for independence and conquest. 1

The five semi-nomadic Chilcotin bands roamed the forests and prairies of that part of central British Columbia which lies between the 51° and 52°30″ latitudes and which is bounded on the east by the Fraser and on the west by the Coast Mountains. The origin of the name Chilcotin is obscure; the Indians called themselves Noenai-Toeni -- "the men down here" -- or simply Toen -- " men." They are the most southerly branch of the Déné6 language group in Canada, and Morice liked to compare them with their American Déné brothers, the Apache. 2 By the 1880's, the once numerous Chilcotin had been reduced by disease to fewer than five hundred. There was a recognized division between the three bands from the plateau and the two from the mountains. The latter were called the Stone Chilcotin or the Snow Mountain People, and in their remote mountain fastnesses, they were better able to preserve their aboriginal culture than the Chilcotins of the lowlands, who had much greater contact with whites in search of furs, gold, and land. 3

-18-

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Will to Power: The Missionary Career of Father Morice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Making of an Oblate Missionary 1
  • 2 - Tenderfoot Missionary Among the Chilcotin 18
  • 3 - With the Carrier: The Missionary Foundation, 1885-1895 35
  • 4 - The Acquisition of Paramount Power, 1885-1896 74
  • 5 - Savant of the Woods, 1885-1896 95
  • 6 - King of the Country"" 114
  • 7 - Back to Business: Exploration and Itinerant Preaching in 1899 138
  • 8 - A Kingdom Lost, 1900-1903 148
  • Epilogue 175
  • Abbreviations 182
  • Notes 183
  • Bibliography 209
  • Index 217
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