The Ojibwa-Missionary encounter at Rainy Lake Mission, 1839-1857

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Angel, Michael
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The primary purpose of this thesis is to analyze the historical circumstances surrounding the establishnent, work and ultimate closure of the Methodist Mission at Rainy Lake during the years 1839 - 1857. From one viewpoint the thesis is a study of the local Ojibwa response to the encroachment of Euro-American society, and in particular, their response to the Methodist missionaries. For this reason there is a considerable emphasis on the ideas and practices of ojibwa religion. The thesis will argue that ojibwa society in the region around Rainy Lake and Rainy River during the early and mid-nineteenth century was not in a state of disintegration as has sometimes been asserted. Because the social structures of the society were strong, and because their religious beliefs appeared to be confirned, the Ojibwa had no reason to seek alternate worldviews. Nor did they feel compelled to accept these beliefs in return for technological assistance. In so far as it is possible, the reactions of both individuals and groups of Ojibwa to the Methodists will be presented, and an attempt will be made to place them within the larger context of other groups of Ojibwa.