Across the Shaman’s River is the story of one of Alaska’s last Native American strongholds, a Tlingit community closed off for a century until a fateful encounter between a shaman, a preacher, and John Muir.
Tucked in the corner of Southeast Alaska, the Tlingits had successfully warded off the Anglo influences that had swept into other corners of the territory. This tribe was viewed by European and American outsiders as the last wild tribe and a frustrating impediment to access. Missionaries and prospectors alike had widely failed to bring the Tlingit into their power. Yet, when John Muir arrived in 1879, accompanied by a fiery preacher, it only took a speech about “brotherhood”—and some encouragement from the revered local shaman Skandoo’o—to finally transform these “hostile heathens.”
Using Muir’s original journal entries, as well as historic writings of explorers juxtaposed with insights from contemporary tribal descendants, Across the Shaman’s River reveals how Muir’s famous canoe journey changed the course of history and had profound consequences on the region’s Native Americans.
“Wall traces the nursing and management roles of nuns and brothers in church-related US health care institutions. This well-documented volume will be a useful addition for collections supporting academic programs in public health, hospital administration, bioethics, and divinity, and for comprehensive collections in the history of medicine. Recommended.” —Choice
“American Catholic Hospitals is fair, balanced, insightful, and intriguing. The story Wall tells—a story about a significant segment of the US health care system—is meticulously documented. Readers will find her study to be illuminating, even inspirational.” —Journal of the American Medical Association
“In American Catholic Hospitals, Barbra Mann Hall traces the ways Catholic hospitals have accommodated changes both within the church and in society over the last century. Her book is well researched and a fascinating read.” —Health Progress
“Wall presents a compelling and well-documented narrative of the dynamic transformation of Catholic hospitals in twentieth-century America. Drawing on records from Catholic congregations throughout the United States, she reveals an admirable perseverance of religious caregivers, demonstrated by their willingness to adapt to socioeconomic forces often inimical to charitable care.” —American Catholic Studies
“American Catholic Hospitals is meticulously researched and well written. Although it is certainly appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate students, general readers also will find it to be an excellent overview of the history of the changes that Catholic health-care institutions have undergone in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” —Catholic Historical Review
“American Catholic Hospitals offers a tremendous amount of new material and refreshing perspectives on current health care system challenges in the United States.” —Sioban Nelson, Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
“Wall provides solid scholarship and engaging insight into the historic and contemporary contributions of American Catholic hospitals and their ability to adapt and serve amid the changing landscapes of church and state, culture wars, and healthcare reforms of the 20th century.” —Carol K. Coburn, author of Spirited Lives: How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836-1920
In this absorbing history, Henry Warner Bowden chronicles the encounters between native Americans and the evangelizing whites from the period of exploration and colonization to the present. He writes with a balanced perspective that pleads no special case for native separatism or Christian uniqueness. Ultimately, he broadens our understanding of both intercultural exchanges and the continuing strength of American Indian spirituality, expressed today in Christian forms as well as in revitalized folkways.
"Bowden makes a radical departure from the traditional approach. Drawing on the theories and findings of anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, he presents Indian-missionary relations as a series of cultural encounters, the outcomes of which were determined by the content of native beliefs, the structure of native religious institutions, and external factors such as epidemic diseases and military conflicts, as well as by the missionaries' own resources and abilities. The result is a provocative, insightful historical essay that liberates a complex subject from the narrow perimeters of past discussions and accords it an appropriate richness and complexity. . . . For anyone with an interest in Indian-missionary relations, from the most casual to the most specialized, this book is the place to begin."—Neal Salisbury, Theology Today
"If one wishes to read a concise, thought-provoking ethnohistory of Indian missions, 1540-1980, this is it. Henry Warner Bowden's history, perhaps for the first time, places the sweep of Christian evangelism fully in the context of vigorous, believable, native religions."—Robert H. Keller, Jr., American Historical Review
An Act of Unfathomable Cruelty that Presaged Post-Revolutionary America’s Treatment of Native Americans
On March 8, 1782, a group of western settlers killed nearly one hundred unarmed and peaceful Indians who had converted to Christianity under the tutelage of missionaries from the Church of the United Brethren. The murders were cold-blooded and heartless; roughly two-thirds of those executed were women and children. Its brutality stunned Benjamin Franklin in far-away France. He wrote: “the abominable Murders committed by some of the frontier People on the poor Moravian Indians, has given me infinite Pain and Vexation. The Dispensations of Providence in this World puzzle my weak Reason. I cannot comprehend why cruel Men should have been permitted thus to destroy their Fellow Creatures.” Since that maelstrom of violence struck the small Indian village of Gnadenhutten, history has treated the episode as a simple morality tale. While there were ample incidents of good and evil on March 8, that summation does not explain what brought murderers and victims together on the banks of the Muskingum River in today’s Ohio. It was actually the culmination of a series of events among different Indian tribes, the British, Congressional authorities at Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania militia, and key individuals, all of which are lost in contemporary explanations of the massacre. Anatomy of a Massacre: The Destruction of Gnadenhutten, 1782 fills that void by examining the political maneuvering among white settlers, Continental officials, British officers, western Indian tribes, missionaries, and the Indians practicing Christianity that culminated in the massacre. Uniquely, it follows the developing story from each perspective, using first-person accounts from each group to understand how they saw and experienced the changes on the American frontier. Along the way it profiles some of the key individuals responsible for the way the war unfolded. It is a fresh look at an often mentioned, but seldom understood, episode in the American Revolution.
Christianity is often praised as an agent of Chinese modernization or damned as a form of cultural and religious imperialism. In both cases, Christianity’s foreignness and the social isolation of converts have dominated this debate. Eugenio Menegon uncovers another story. In the sixteenth century, European missionaries brought a foreign and global religion to China. Converts then transformed this new religion into a local one over the course of the next three centuries.
Focusing on the still-active Catholic communities of Fuan county in northeast Fujian, this project addresses three main questions. Why did people convert? How did converts and missionaries transform a global and foreign religion into a local religion? What does Christianity’s localization in Fuan tell us about the relationship between late imperial Chinese society and religion?
Based on an impressive array of sources from Asia and Europe, this pathbreaking book reframes our understanding of Christian missions in Chinese-Western relations. The study’s implications extend beyond the issue of Christianity in China to the wider fields of religious and social history and the early modern history of global intercultural relations. The book suggests that Christianity became part of a preexisting pluralistic, local religious space, and argues that we have so far underestimated late imperial society’s tolerance for “heterodoxy.” The view from Fuan offers an original account of how a locality created its own religious culture in Ming-Qing China within a context both global and local, and illuminates the historical dynamics contributing to the remarkable growth of Christian communities in present-day China.
The Arrernte people of Central Australia first encountered Europeans in the 1860s as groups of explorers, pastoralists, missionaries, and laborers invaded their land. During that time the Arrernte were the subject of intense curiosity, and the earliest accounts of their lives, beliefs, and traditions were a seminal influence on European notions of the primitive. The first study to address the Arrernte’s contemporary situation, Arrernte Present, Arrernte Past also documents the immense sociocultural changes they have experienced over the past hundred years.
Employing ethnographic and archival research, Diane Austin-Broos traces the history of the Arrernte as they have transitioned from a society of hunter-gatherers to members of the Hermannsburg Mission community to their present, marginalized position in the modern Australian economy. While she concludes that these wrenching structural shifts led to the violence that now marks Arrernte communities, she also brings to light the powerful acts of imagination that have sustained a continuing sense of Arrernte identity.
Winner, Presidio La Bahia Award, Sons of the Republic of Texas
Built to bring Christianity and European civilization to the northern frontier of New Spain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries...secularized and left to decay in the nineteenth century...and restored in the twentieth century, the Spanish missions still standing in Texas are really only shadows of their original selves. The mission churches, once beautifully adorned with carvings and sculptures on their façades and furnished inside with elaborate altarpieces and paintings, today only hint at their colonial-era glory through the vestiges of art and architectural decoration that remain.
To paint a more complete portrait of the missions as they once were, Jacinto Quirarte here draws on decades of on-site and archival research to offer the most comprehensive reconstruction and description of the original art and architecture of the six remaining Texas missions—San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo), San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción, San Juan Capistrano, and San Francisco de la Espada in San Antonio and Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo in Goliad. Using church records and other historical accounts, as well as old photographs, drawings, and paintings, Quirarte describes the mission churches and related buildings, their decorated surfaces, and the (now missing) altarpieces, whose iconography he extensively analyzes. He sets his material within the context of the mission era in Texas and the Southwest, so that the book also serves as a general introduction to the Spanish missionary program and to Indian life in Texas.