Event—Public Programming

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


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.