THIS BOOK has compared how Canadian and U.S. missionary attitudes toward the natives on the western frontiers developed in the nineteenth century. By examining the changing images of Indians, I have shown how the missionary societies, governments, and research institutions influenced the process of image formation for missionary authors and scholars. Within this context, the book has demonstrated that despite important institutional differences and the varied perceptions of both past missionaries and current scholars, Canadian and U.S. images of and attitudes toward the Indians were similar during the nineteenth century.
There is no denying that Canada and the United States had different relationships with and policies toward their native populations. Such differences have been examined closely throughout this book. From the 1830s through the 1850s -- the early period of missionary frontier work -- major distinctions existed between the Canadian and U.S. governments. Canada remained a British colony, governed by both British and colonial laws. The United States was an independent nation whose western frontier was overseen only by its federal government, if at all. The pre-Confederation Canadian government adopted a protectionist policy toward native groups, attempting to keep their environment secure and the frontier regulated. The U.S. government focused on removing the natives from the path of white settlement. And while the U.S. government viewed its frontier as porous, allowing for constant westward movement, the Canadian government saw its as solid and secure, partially because of the Hudson's Bay Company. The Canadian government relied on the Company to preserve the sanctity and peace of its frontier, and historians today credit it with having accomplished this. The United States lacked such an institution to regulate its frontier.
Missionaries and missionary society policies also varied between the two