Contact at trading posts had originally introduced the Native Americans to Christianity. The British Protestants and French-Canadian trappers who were mostly of Catholic faith did this. The trappers were impressed by Native religion and didn’t see any problem between Christianity and Native religion. Fur companies usually encouraged their men to get Native American wives and marry into the tribes to make trade relationships stronger.
The Whitman established their mission with the Cayuse at Waiilatpu near Walla Walla. Spalding was assigned to convert the Nez Perce people and founded a mission at Lapwai, Idaho. This was one of the most successful missions.
In 1838, two Catholic priests, Fathers Blanchet and Modesta Demers arrived at Fort Walla Walla to imagine the possibilities of beginning a Catholic mission in the area. According to historians the Roman Catholic missionaries were much more successful with the Native Americans.
The Native Americans were convinced of the Missionaries tactics and customs from a few different ways. One of the ways that was used was that they didn’t promote immigration into the area. Their customs in church were interesting to the Native Americans and helped to encourage practicing their beliefs as well as the fact that mission sites were extensive. To help convert they didn’t emphasize changing the Native Americans’ culture, but instead promoted theirs to make the Natives want to change. Instead of requiring Native Americans to live on or close to the Missions, they traveled alongside with them. In some ways the Missionaries used reverse physiology to convince the Native Americans that their practices were better.
The significance of having the missionaries approach and try to chance the Native Americans was very significant. If it weren’t significant, the Native Americans that were opposing Christianity wouldn’t have acted so forcefully, and so many conflicts would not have arose. To all Native Americans, the significance was of great impact whether thought to be positive or negative. It was also of great significance to the coarse of history. If the Missionary Era never occurred, things might be a lot different as far as religion goes for the 21st century.
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