Indian Missions

Search Fold3 for your
Native American Records

Missions. From the very discovery of America the spiritual welfare of the native tribes was a subject of concern to the various colonizing nations, particularly Spain and France, with whom the Christianization and civilization of the Indians were made a regular part of the governmental scheme, and the missionary was frequently the pioneer explorer and diplomatic ambassador. In the English colonization, on the other hand, the work was usually left to the zeal of the individual philanthropist or of voluntary organizations.
     First in chronologic order, historic importance, number of establishments, and population come the Catholic missions, conducted in the earlier period chiefly by Jesuits among the French and by Franciscans among the Spanish colonies. The earliest mission establishments within the present United States were those begun by the Spanish Franciscan Fathers, Padilla, Juan de In Cruz, and Descalona of the Coronado expedition, among the Quivira (Wichita), Pecos, and Tigua in 1542. Three years later the work was begun among the Texas tribes by Father Olmos. A century thereafter the first Protestant mission (Congregational) were founded by Mayhew and Eliot in Massachusetts. From that period the work was carried on both North and South until almost every denomination was represented, including Orthodox Russian in Alaska and the Mormons in Utah.

The Southern States Middle Atlantic States New England States
Interior States The Columbia Region New Mexico/Arizona
California   Alaska

     In the four centuries of American history there is no more inspiring chapter of heroism, self-sacrifice, and devotion to high ideals than that afforded by the Indian missions. Some of the missionaries were of noble blood and had renounced titles and estates to engage in the work; most of them were of finished scholarship and refined habit, and nearly all were of such exceptional ability as to have commanded attention in any community and to have possessed themselves of wealth and reputation, had they so chosen; yet they deliberately faced poverty and sufferings, exile and oblivion, ingratitude, torture, and death itself in the hope that some portion of a darkened world might be made better through their effort. To the student who knows what infinite forms of cruelty, brutishness, and filthiness belonged to savagery, from Florida to Alaska, it is beyond question that, in spite of sectarian limitations and the shortcomings of individuals, the missionaries have fought a good fight. Where they have failed to accomplish large results the reason lies in the irrepressible selfishness of the white man or in the innate incompetence and unworthiness of the people for whom they labored.

Additional Indian Mission Resources

Index of Tribes or Nations



MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 21 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/indian-missions.htm - Last updated on Nov 7th, 2013


Categories:
Topics:

Contribute to the Conversation!

Our "rules" are simple. Keep the conversation on subject and mind your manners! If this is your first time posting, we do moderate comments before we let them appear... so give us a while to get to them. Once we get to know you here, we'll remove that requirement.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Newsletter Signup

We currently provide two newsletters. Why not take both for a run?

Genealogy Update: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new, or significantly updated, collection or database on our website.

Circle of Nations: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new (or significantly updated) Native American collection or database on our website.

Once you've clicked on the Subscribe button above you'll receive an email from us requesting confirmation. You must confirm the email before you will be able to receive any newsletter.

Connect With Us!

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!