Tiqtiq, Brother Tadger, and Charles Dickens: The Theatre-in-the Round of Mackenzie Inuit Missions 1857-1863.
Keywords:Culture transition, mission historiography, conversion, women’s history, Inuit, Dene, fur-trade.
AbstractThis study of the Mackenzie Inuit’s first encounter with missionaries (at Fort Simpson in 1859) makes four points. First, that native peoples were very much in control, and held an even hand in negotiations with whites, whether clerics, traders, or other outsiders. Second, that native-white interaction resembled theater-in-the-round—the two sides each acting out roles and speaking lines set by a distant audience invested in the outcome. Third, that no matter how remote a mission site, its history was closely tied to events in European centers of power. Last, that in contrast to the violent evangelization of the hemisphere’s South, that of the Far North was of the gentlest kind. Given time (half a century of church contact in the case of the Mackenzie Inuit) all arctic tribes converted. Coercion, that suggests, need never have been applied west of the Atlantic by conquering nations to make their subjects Christian.
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