Event—Public Programming

Reviving Jesuit missions? Odawa and Potawatomi Indians, French missionaries, and Female Intermediaries in the Age of Indian Removal

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French Catholic missions in colonial North America have been much studied, but little is known about those of the early 19th-century Western Great Lakes. This talk analyzes the stakes of 19th-century French missions for both Catholic missionaries and Odawa and Potawatomi Indians. While the missionaries hoped to win the Catholic-Protestant rivalry to Christianize the U.S. West, Potawatomi and Odawa Indians sought to maintain their sovereignty and land over the Western Great Lakes. I also show the crucial role that Catholic women of French and Indian ancestry played in facilitating the missions’ development.