Positioning the Missionary: John Booth Good and the Confluence of Cultures in Nineteenth-Century British Columbia

By Brett Christophers | Go to book overview

Introduction

In the summer of 1860 William B. Crickmer, an Anglican missionary based in Yale, British Columbia, made his way up the canyon that extends north from Yale to the town of Lytton, where the Thompson River joins the Fraser. Sponsored by the Colonial and Continental Church Society, Crickmer had arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 1858, when the huge territory west of the Rocky Mountains and north of the 49th parallel became the colony of British Columbia. The Fraser had seen a flurry of activity during the colony's first two years as thousands of men, mostly from California, converged on the river in search of gold. While not the first people of European stock to see British Columbia, their numbers were unprecedented; a new era in relations with Natives had dawned. Crickmer likened the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers to the clash of two cultures, and in the dominance of the Fraser he claimed to find the tragedy of empire: 'Below the cemetery is the junction of the two rivers, the Fraser and the Thompson: the former, large and discolored; the latter, clear as crystal,--an emblem of the two races of Whites and Indians, now, in God's providence, united. And truly the type stops not here; but, if the truth must be told, the larger, more fierce, rolling and filthy stream of the sinful White, after flowing for a short space apart, gradually pollutes, absorbs, and destroys the unsophisticated children of nature.' 1

In the Fraser Canyon the Native encounter with Europeans began in 1808 when Simon Fraser passed through the territory of the Nlha7kápmx (Thompson) people, who lived, and still live, in riverine communities from Spuzzum north almost to Lillooet, east along the Thompson to Ashcroft, and in the Nicola Valley (see Figure 2). Crickmer's vivid geographical metaphor was only a rough gloss on contact and conflict, yet his fatal impact thesis was not entirely misplaced. Before and after Fraser, European diseases, principally smallpox and measles, were in the canyon, killing many. Then came miners energized by the discovery of gold, with

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Positioning the Missionary: John Booth Good and the Confluence of Cultures in Nineteenth-Century British Columbia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures viii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xxiii
  • 1 - Beginnings 3
  • 2 - Redemption 19
  • 3 - Reproduction 41
  • 4 - Space 67
  • 5 - Conversion 92
  • 6 - Morals 119
  • 7 - Dissolution 137
  • Notes 153
  • Bibliography 182
  • Index 193
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