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THE HISTORY OF NATIVE AMERICA

Reading Questions

How did European colonization change life in Native communities? What were the most important developments occurring in Mohawk country that we might attribute to colonization? How did the Mohawks and the Iroquois tribes keep their populations relatively stable given the onslaught of disease and war? Disease ravaged towns Christianity became the religion of part of the people Because of the epidemics and loss the Mohawk resorted to mourning wars to stabilize their populations Assimilation of former enemies into the tribe increased Native communities gained many new technologies o Fabric o Copper o Guns o Nails Economy included more fur trading o The affected war and diplomacy Increased use of wampum

Greer spends a great deal of time explaining what it meant to grow up as a Mohawk girl and to become a woman. What were the most important things that structured a Mohawk childs life? What was childrearing like? Family life? The role of women? Why were women particularly powerful in Iroquois society? Of men? Men were entrusted with the political structure of the five nations Children o Played games that taught them how to do daily chores o It was like adult role playing games, little boys would shoot arrows, little girls would use a stick to practice pounding corn Women o Sew o Farmed o Harvested o Cooked o Gathered fruit

Even though men conducted politics, like Dekanawideh, they gave strips of beadwork to the opposite party o These strips were made by the women Women may have asserted power over males appetites because they were the ones who gave them food

While it is often suggested that Indians and European culture extremely different, did you see any points where Mohawk beliefs and French beliefs were similar...even if both parties didnt see the similarities? What, for example, were the various meanings of death in 17th century New France? For Indians? For Europeans? The Iroquois and Christians both approached death with acceptance Honored the dead Cruelty/torture o Indians: tortured captives and future adoptees, outsider who becomes an insider o Christians: public execution, saw the tortured as an insider who became an outsider Gaining a new udentity o Indians: through mourning wars and adoption o Christians: through baptism and giving new names Groups o Indians: medicine societies o Jesuits: devotional confraternities

How were Jesuits like Claude Chauchetire trained? Was there anything in particular that you think differentiated Claude from the other Jesuits who he worked with? What cultural assumptions did Jesuits bring to their missionary work? What was their approach to missionary work? How did they teach Indians about Christianity? What was the measure of a legitimate conversion in Jesuit eyes? What Native customs did the Jesuits try to eradicate and what customs did they tolerate? What was the logic that lay behind the decision to allow some cultural/religious practices and ban others? Claude o He was trained in a Jesuit College o Claudes father passed away, so he was orphaned Joining a tight knit community would be like having a substitute family Decide god wanted him to be a Jesuit Went to Bordeaux college to begin his training o Jesuits practiced making themselves better so that they could achieve a union with Christ Assumptions o Jesuits assumed that the natives were savage, the land was savage, land was associated with death (sacrificial death), place will make you humble

o Natives could not become part of the Christian clergy o Gossip was a weakness of the native women o The natives mimicked innocently o They were savages o Poverty, violence, lust, women were more like nature and weak Approach to Missionary Work o The Jesuits taught the natives about Christianity through pictures depicting the torments of hell and the story of Jesus o Could not explain sins, commandments, o Instead taught them to recite prayers and customs to avoid Legitimate conversion? o Good behavior and obedience to the laws taught by the Jesuits Practices that Missionaries allowed/did not tolerate o If the converts prayed in the chapels it was fine to the other Mohawks, but if the converts didnt participate in communal feasts or collective rituals then this was seen as hostile Therefore the Jesuits had to tolerate some of the customs But they didnt allow devil worship It was hard to see what was and what wasnt devil worship Did not allow the dream festival o Everyday rituals were ignored by the Jesuits, even though they were religious rituals Puberty rites Condolences Etc o They kept their kin structure, marital customs, burial practices, and lineage through mothers

How did Claude Chauchetire and other Jesuits think about conversion? How did they view Indians and the missionary enterprise in the North American wilderness? Viewed the Indians as inferiors The missionary enterprise was a chance at martyrdom , devotion, and self sacrifice

Why did the Jesuits begin having success in converting Mohawks in the 1670s after they had struggled for some time with little success? What changed? An Iroquois settlement moved to Kentake and Catholicism became most of their religion These people left due to fractioning of the Mohawk tribe They were still connected to the other Mohawk, so on their visits they generated interest in the Jesuits and many began to convert

What did conversion mean for Indian Christians? What did it mean to Catherine Tekakwitha? What were the reactions of her fellow villagers? How did Algonquian and Mohawk religious traditions shape the adoption and practice of Catholicism by Tekakwitha and other Indian Christians? Or, to put the question differently, what aspects of Catholicism were akin to traditional Algonquian and Mohawk religious practices? Why might have the intense brand of Catholicism in Kahnawake have particular appeal to women? Conversion to the Indians o Affiliation with the French o Conversion gave them a group identity o Because the French had Catholicism at the center of their identity, in order for the natives to be their allies they felt that they had to adopt Catholicism o It reinforced the lines of connection that crossed clan and tribal boundaries o Since the natives believed in spirits and other-than humans and saw that the French were not really harmed much in epidemics, they had technology, and they had military power, accepting Christianity would give them the benefits of these spirits o They were afraid of the tortures after death What did it mean to Catherine? o Katherine did not pick up a deep understanding of Christianity at her old village, and began to learn about it in Kahnawake o She did not learn it from the Jesuits, but from Iroquois converts, and mostly women o Because of this, she learned it as an Iroquois religion, and she learned it like she learned bead work and other womanly chores: through a an older woman matron o The mass, with smoke going towards the heavens, feasts, offerings, muttering in strange languages, were similar to ways the Iroquois worshipped in her home town This had a comforting sameness o Conversion did not mean becoming European and discarding the old ways, it meant incorporating the new into the old o This meant that although Claude did not mention this in his narrative, the Indian converts still practiced pagan practices They made sacrifices to the sun Had curing rites BUT they still held onto church practices Why did it appeal to women? o Christian women, like the saint Theresa and Catherine of Siena, found it heroic to do self punishment as a way to defy corporeal limits by denying the body its needs o The Jesuit ways really seemed like male rituals, and women needed to draw insight and power from the Christian deity in other ways o Women, specifically nuns, were seen to have exceptional spiritual powers

What made Tekakwitha so unique in Jesuit eyes? Why her and not some of the other pious Iroquois women that are mentioned? What made her appear saintly? What does Greer mean when he argues that a pious savage story belonged to a different genre than a colonial saint story? Who were normally the subjects of colonial saint stories? How was Tekakwithas spiritual power as a saint viewed differently by Europeans and Indians? How did French and Mohawk views of healing differ? And how did these differences condition the way that either group viewed the Catherines healing powers? The French thought the Indians had healing powers and the Indians thought the French had healing powers The Iroquois did not understand obtaining favors from the dead, so she never became popular amongst them

What made writing a hagiography of an Indian womanopposed to focusing on a European difcult? How did the various Jesuits get around these issues? She was an Indian and seen as inferior

What sources does Alan Greer have to reconstruct the lives of Tekakwitha and Chauchetire? What is hagiography? How are Greer's sources problematic? How does he deal with the issue of sources? What does it mean to try to write a biography rather than a hagiography of a Saint? The accounts written by Chauchetiere and Cholenec are used to reconstruct the lives of Tekakwitha and Chauchetire Hagiography is the writing of the history of saints Greers sources are problematic because they treat Tekakwitha as an alien in her land He has to go against this biased view that places Tekakwitha in a saintly upper position

Over the centuries after her death, what were some of the some of the diverse and strange purposes," to quote Greer, "many have laid claim to the image and the story of Catherine Tekakwitha? She was an unofficial saint Curing small pox Converting protestants to Catholicism Cured back pain, chest pain, gynecological problems, Her followers were mainly women She healed souls and bodies She protected the Lachine settlement from Iroquois hostilities