Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Abenaki and Their Missionaries: Solidarity of Kin

The Stockbridges and Brothertowns are far from being the only Algonkians who had a positive experience with their missionaries. Here's one book I found that fits under the umbrella of Algonkian Church History:

The Solidarity of Kin: Ethnohistory, Relgious Studies, and the Algonkian-French Religious Encounter

*it was written by Kenneth Morrison, Professor of Religion at Arizona State University

*and published by State University of New York Press.

Solidarity of Kin is a good book for academics. However, when I read history I like it to be about "what happened next." I like to read history that is more about action and less about analysis so I have to admit to you that I did not finish reading this book.

Here's the bottom line: Jesuit (Roman Catholic) missionaries helped some Indians who were struggling to adjust to a greatly changed world. The missionaries didn't try to force the whole hook, line, and sinker of white culture on to the Abenaki people. Instead, they gave them pieces of Christianity that the Indians could integrate into what was left of the legends and other aspects of their traditional spiritual life. The result was not conversion, but rather syncretism.

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