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Week Seven: Missionaries

St. Mary's Mission, by Nicolas Point, Midwest Jesuit Archives, St. Louis

This week’s focus is the brief period of missionary activity in the Northwest and the ways in which the missionary presence influenced events in the region.

Professor Fritz’s lecture (~43 minutes) focuses on the “missionary impulse,” and illustrates how the fur traders and the missionaries worked in tandem, the ways in which Protestant and Catholic missionary efforts differed, and the conflict that ultimately resulted from these efforts.

The Maps section this week presents three maps produced by missionaries in the region. The maps vary in detail and in the information they depict. As you study them, take note of what aspects of the area each cartographer deemed worthy of note. Also included is an official map of Oregon Territory from a 1941U. S. Exploratory Expedition.

For Tribal Perspectives we’ve assembled interviews with individuals from five different tribes that describe the missionary movement from the perspective of those who were meant to be converted.

The People section this week presents a selection of letters from Narcissa Whitman and a transcript of a biography written by Father Nicolas Point of a Coeur d’Alene woman known as “Louise.” We’ve also included a list of films that deal with the missionary movement in other areas of the globe, which might be helpful in getting students to understand the cultural dynamics at the heart of the “missionary impulse.”

The Research page is meant to help you think about the tremendous fluctuations in population numbers of both indigenous peoples and newly arrived immigrants during this time period.


Lecture Maps People Research Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 4 Unit 5