Topic: Missions

Coasting And Camping.

Quite a high sea was running on Thunder Bay when, on _July_ 30, having parted with the Bishop, I started off in _The Missionary_ with my seven Indian boys. A stiff south-east wind was blowing, and, as our course lay in a southerly direction, we had to tack. We managed, however, to run across Thunder Bay within five or six miles of our point, and then tacked about to reach it; and about three miles further ran into a nice little sheltered bay, where we camped for the night. The boys were merry, and soon had a capital fire blazing up and the camp-pots hissing and bubbling. By eight o’clock supper was ready, and then, after prayer and singing and each one repeating a verse of Scripture around the camp fire, we all turned in for the night, having safely accomplished the first twenty miles of our homeward trip. It may be well to state at this point, for the information of those who are not acquainted with the topography of Canada, that Lake Superior, upon which we were now sailing, is the largest body of fresh water in the world, the length of it from end to end, by the course which the steamboats take, being 623 miles. The breadth of the lake at the widest point is 160 miles. Its area is fully as large as Ireland,...

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Christmas On The Reserve.

We were anxious as soon as possible to have both church and Mission-house built on the Sarnia Reserve, so that we might move down among the Indians and dwell in their midst. When therefore the matter of the land was settled, and one acre of Antoine Rodd’s farm had been given over for the use of our Mission, we began preparations for the erection of the two buildings. For the building of the church, I wished the Indians to give as much in the way of labour and help as possible, so as to show their earnestness in the cause; but for the erection of the Mission-house, we had to depend largely on contributions from our friends in England. However, the Church Missionary Society made us a grant of L100, and friends helped liberally, so that we had no lack of funds, and by the time the two buildings were completed and fenced round with a board fence, all was paid for. We moved into our new house on the 29th of January, 1869, just six months after our arrival in Canada. It was a nice little frame cottage, with a large room or hall in the centre, study and bed-room on one side, and sitting-room and bed-room on the other; and at the back, connected by a covered passage, were the kitchen and pantry, with servants’ bed-room over....

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Charlie And Ben.

During a short visit which I paid to England in the winter of 1877, the idea was formed of building a separate Home for Indian girls, and now it became necessary to make the project known also in Canada. Accordingly, in the summer vacation of that year I started off, taking with me two little fellows from our Institution–Charlie and Ben, and also a model which I had made of the Shingwauk Home. My object was not so much to collect money as to tell the friends who had been helping us what, by God’s help, we had been enabled to do, and what, with His blessing, we still hoped to do. The first part of the journey was a dash of two miles along a muddy road in a buggy drawn by my spirited little mare “Dolly,” with only ten minutes to catch the boat. The next 300 miles were passed on board the steamboat _Ontario_, which, after rather a rough passage, landed us in Sarnia on the night of Tuesday, May 22nd. From Sarnia we took train to Toronto. Here we passed the Queen’s birthday, and the boys saw a splendid display of fireworks in the evening. The most remarkable part of the entertainment was a races between a pig and an elephant in mid-air. They were fire balloons shaped like those animals, and it was really...

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Chief Buhkwujjenene’s Mission.

It was sugar-making time, and Buhkwujjenene was at work three miles back in the bush collecting the sap from the maple-trees, and, with the assistance of his wife and a large family of daughters, boiling it down in huge black kettles to transform it into maple-sugar. It was rather a labour getting out there, and I had to take my snow-shoes. About two miles back from where our parsonage stood is a long range of low, rocky hills, about 300 feet high, nearly parallel with the course of the river, and for the most part bare and naked, only sprinkled with a few ragged balsams, pine, and birch. It was April, and the snow was gone from the exposed parts of the hill, but beyond, in the valley where sugar-making was going on, it was still a couple of feet deep. Wandering along through the bush, the first sign of your approach to a sugar-camp is generally the sound of an axe or the barking of a dog; these help to direct your steps; then, in a little while you see snow-shoe tracks, and then–here are the little birch-bark troughs, one or two to each maple-tree, and a slip of wood stuck in the tree about two feet from the ground, which serves as a spout to convey the sap from the tree to the trough. It does not...

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Chief Little Pine.

Chief Little Pine (Augustin Shingwauk) was following his work in the lonely bush, his at the thought of the black-coat (missionary) leaving them. Suddenly a thought entered his mind, it was as though an arrow had struck his breast; “I will go with him,–I will journey with this black-coat where he is going. I will see the great black-coat (the Bishop of Toronto) myself, and ask that Mr. Wilson may come and be our teacher, and I will ask him also to send more teachers to the shores of the great Ojebway Lake, for why indeed are my poor brethren left so long in ignorance and darkness with no one to instruct them? Is it that Christ loves us less than His white children? Or is it that the Church is sleeping? Perhaps I may arouse them, perhaps I may stir them up to send us more help, so that the Gospel may be preached to my poor pagan brethren. So I resolved to go. I only told just my wife and a few friends of my intention. I felt that the Great Spirit had called me to go, and even though I was poor and had but a few dollars in my pocket, still I knew that the great God in heaven, to whom forty years ago I yielded myself up, would not let me want. I felt...

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Changes In Prospect.

It was at the end of June that I arrived at Sarnia. Very glad was I to be at home again after my long, rough journey, and very glad too was my wife to see me, for it was but seldom that we had had an opportunity of writing to one another during my absence. In the autumn our second child was born–a boy–to whom the Indians gave the name of Suhyahquahdung (proclaimer), and shortly after this we gave up our cottage on the Indian Reserve to Mr. Jacobs, and moved to a larger house in the town, where we should have room to take two or three Indian pupils as boarders. This seemed to be a judicious step, as of all things it appeared to be the most important, to commence preparing young men who might afterwards act as catechists and school teachers among their people. And so Mr. Jacobs, who had recently married, settled in at the Mission-house as Pastor of the Sarnia Indians, and an Indian from Walpole Island was appointed to take his place as catechist at Kettle Point. Our readers will not have forgotten poor Shegaugooqua, the poor decrepid bed-ridden creature whom we found in such a pitiable condition in an old wigwam back in the Bush. They will remember also the mention we made of her little five-year-old boy, with his shock of...

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“I know I shall lie awake at night and grieve at the loss of my boy,–we Indians cannot bear to be parted from our children, but it is right that he should go.” Such were the words of the pagan Indian on the shores of Lake Neepigon, when he parted from his loved son Ningwinnena, and gave him up to return with us. I remembered those words,–and often over the camp fire–as we journeyed home I looked across at my adopted son and thought, I will take the very best care I can of you and I trust that by-and-bye it may please God for you to return and do a good work among your people. Such a nice intelligent boy he was,–such gentle eyes, and such a trustful look,–he seemed quite to accept me as his father and guardian, and was always ready to give a helping hand, and he learned with marvellous rapidity. Our arrival at Sault Ste. Marie was quite a new era in his life,–the steamboats, the shops, and people;–few of course in comparison to places further south–but multitudes compared to the Neepigon region, and he had never seen a horse in his life till he reached the Sault. It was a great pleasure to me preparing this dear boy for baptism, there were two other pagan lads from Michipicoten and I had them in...

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Baptism Of Pagans.

There were not many genuine Pagans either at Sarnia or at Kettle Point. Pagan practices had fallen altogether into disuse. There were some Indians living who had been “medicine men,” but we never heard that they practised their charms. Still there were several families who held aloof from Christianity. When spoken to about being baptized, their reply was that they thought the Christian Indians behaved worse than the Pagan Indians, and they were afraid that if they were baptized they would become as bad. It was sad that such a thing could be said, and sadder still that there should be any truth about it. Of course the mere fact of the Indians being brought into contact with white people would lead them into temptations from which, in their wild wandering state, they had been comparatively free. It has been said even by white travellers that they have found the pagan Indiana of the North more honest and trustworthy than those in a semi-civilized and nominally Christian state. The Indian when he mixes with the Whites soon learns their bad habits, but is more slow to learn what is holy and good. There were several families at Kettle Point who at the time when we established our Mission were still nominally Pagan. Chief among them were Ahbettuhwahnuhgund and his sister, and Shaukeens, with his wife and family. Ahbettuhwahnuhgund’s wife...

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A Wedding And A Death.

_Feb_. 3, 1873.–To-day William Buhkwujjenene, the Chief’s only son, was married to Philemon Atoosa. The wedding was appointed for 10 a.m., and early in the morning William was off to fetch his bride and her party, their house being about four miles off, on Sugar Island. It was long past the hour when Buhkwujjenene, Atoosa, and several other Indians came to me in a rather excited state, and Buhkwujjenene, as spokesman, explained that, although Atoosa, the father, was willing for his daughter to be married in our church, the mother and brother were opposed, and wanted the priest to marry them. I replied briefly that there were two religions, Roman Catholic and Church of England. When marriages took place between parties of different Churches, agreement must be made in which Church they would be married; this agreement had already been made in this case, banns had been published, and the bride and her father were both willing, so there was no need for any trouble. Chief Buhkwujjenene said that was enough, and he would go for the party. However, I waited on and on, and at length went over to Buhkwujjenene’s house to ascertain the cause of delay. I found that he, Atoosa, and his son, had gone over to see the priest. They soon returned, and brought word that the priest raised no objection to the marriage being...

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An Indian Chief In England.

We were not long in setting the Chief to work. It was Friday when we arrived, and on the following Thursday our first meeting was held in Bishop Wilson’s Memorial Hall, Islington. Notice was given of the meeting in church on the intervening Sunday, the Chief occupying a seat in one of the pews, and a circular was also issued headed:– “A Red Indian Chief’s Visit To England.” The result was an overflowing meeting. The vicar occupied the chair and a number of clergy were on the platform. Chief Buhkwujjenene seeming to be just as much at his ease as if he were addressing a council of his own people, stood forth and in simple eloquent terms told his story, myself interpreting for him every time he paused. “My brothers and sisters,” he began, “I salute you. I have come all the way across the great salt water to see you, and it does my heart good to see so many pale faces gathered together before me.” He then recounted what had led him to take the journey. It had not been his own wish, but he felt that God had led him to do so; God had preserved him amid the dangers of the ocean, and he trusted that God would prosper the cause for which he came to plead. “Many years ago,” he said, “I and my...

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After The Fire.

Late in the afternoon Dr. King, of the American side, arrived. He was very kind and did all he could both for my suffering wife and our sick child; there seemed but little hope that the latter would live, in her weak state the shock had been too great. After tea I went over to see my poor Indian children. All were lacking in clothing more or less. Jimmy Greenbird, who ran into Frosts’ room after the fire began and saved his coat for him, was rolled up in a counterpane. Little Nancy, eleven years old, had her hand to her head and looked ill. She said, “My brain pains me.” She seemed inclined to faint, so I took her in my arms and gave her some restorative. All night our little Laurie was very ill, and Mrs. Wilson never slept at all. Next day, Monday, the Indians held a council to hear from me what I proposed to do. They asked me whether I felt “weak or strong about it,” whether I would collect money to re-build again, or whether I should give up the Mission. I reminded them of what I had said in the church. I could only wait on God till I saw my way. Some of them said it was unfair to ask me just now when the calamity was but just over, and...

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A Trip Up Lake Superior.

It had been arranged that directly the holidays commenced at the Shingwauk Home, the Bishop and myself should start on a Missionary tour up Lake Superior, the plan being simply as follows:–We would take with us our boat, _The Missionary_, five or six Indian boys to man it, and provisions for six or seven weeks. We would first proceed by steamboat 300 miles direct to Prince Arthur’s Landing, taking our boat on board; remain there about a week, during which we would pay a visit into the interior; then coast the whole way back, visiting all the Indians along the north shore of the Lake. When we reached the Landing, the Indian superintendent, to our great satisfaction, invited us to join him in an expedition to the “Height of Land” where he was going to pay the wild Indian tribes their annuity money. At length after four days we reached the Hudson Bay waters, the Savanne connecting through a long chain of lakes and rivers with Lake Winnipeg. Lac des Milles Lacs, into which we soon entered, is a perfect labyrinth of lakes and islands. Here and there were expectant Indians come out to meet us in their frail bark canoes, and, paddling up alongside, they joined the cluster at our stern. A strange and impressive sight was it when we at length hove in sight of the “Height...

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A Trip To Batcheewauning.

Besides the Indian Home which was being built I had various other objects to attend to. There were the Garden River Indians to visit from time to time, and I wanted, if possible, to make another trip up Lake Superior. One Indian settlement, about fifty miles up the lake, called Batcheewauning, I had already visited, and the Bishop had consented to my building a school-church there and placing a catechist in charge. So, as soon as the new Institution was fairly started, I arranged to pay a visit to this place, accompanied by Mr. Frost. We took with us a tent and a good supply of provisions, also lesson books and slates, and a voyage of some ten hours brought us to the saw mills, where we were to land. It was a dark night and raining a little. The outline of the saw mill and a cluster of small buildings was just visible. The inhabitants of Batcheewauning consisted of about twelve men and three women–white people, and some sixty or seventy Indians, whose village was six miles off across the bay. We landed our things, a sack of camp kettles and provisions, our bedding and tent. Jacob, the Indian boy who had come with us, was left in charge, while Frost and I went off to look for a suitable place to camp. The owner of the saw...

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A Trial Of Faith.

After this, meetings were held at Hastings, Reading, Eynsford, Bayswater, Hampstead, Tooting, Wimbledon, Coleshill, Kensington, Ware, and many other places; all much of the same character–money was collected, and photographs and articles of birchbark sold. The Chief excited much interest by recounting the circumstances of his own conversion to Christianity. “When I was a little boy, not older than that little fellow there,” he said, pointing to a child in the assembly, “I was very badly off. My mother was dead, and my father loved the fire-water. I was often cold and hungry, and at night would sometimes crawl into the wigwam and lie down beside my drunken father. After I was grown older, a preacher came into our neighbourhood and began to preach the Gospel to the Indians, and I used to go sometimes to listen to him. I thought the words he spoke were very wonderful, and I was so much impressed by them that I took every opportunity I could of going to listen. As for my father, he would not go to hear the preaching, and he did not wish me to go, but I used to go secretly without telling him. One, evening I was going as usual to hear the Missionary speak, wending my way alone through the dark lonely bush. My path led me out into a clearing where I could see...

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A Pow-Wow At Garden River.

The following is an account of a visit paid by the Bishop and Mrs. Sullivan to Garden River, where Indian names were conferred on them:– Garden River was reached about 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 29th, the tent pitched, the vacant Mission house occupied, fires lighted, water brought from the river, and other preparations made for the night, the boys of the party voting, with true tramp-like instinct, that they preferred slumbering in the new mown hay in the barn. After tea under the shade of a spreading pine tree, the Bishop and myself spent some time visiting the Indian houses, among them that of an old man of eighty, who had been blind for four years, but bore his affliction, augmented as it was by other trials, with an uncomplaining submission. Another dwelling visited was that of Chief Buhkwujjenene, already known to our readers. On the table his Indian Testament lay open, his constant study, in which, he told the Bishop, he had taught himself to read his own tongue. At 9 p.m. all assembled in the little church, and there, by the light of “a lantern dimly burning,” and amid a holy calm, unbroken save by the rustling of the leaves at the open windows, joined in the evening sacrifice of prayer and praise. Soon after breakfast next morning the tinkling of the church bell was heard,...

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