A Cultural Sociology of Anglican Mission and the Indian by Eric Taylor Woods

By Eric Taylor Woods

This publication makes a speciality of the routine fight over the which means of the Anglican Church’s function within the Indian residential schools--a long-running institution method designed to assimilate Indigenous childrens into Euro-Canadian tradition, during which sexual, mental, and actual abuse have been universal. From the top of the 19th century till the outset of twenty-first century, the that means of the Indian residential colleges underwent a chronic transformation. as soon as a logo of the Church’s sacred challenge to Christianize and civilize Indigenous young children, they're now linked to colonialism and anguish. In bringing this alteration to mild, the ebook addresses why the Church was once so speedy to get entangled within the Indian residential colleges and why acknowledgment in their deleterious impression used to be so protracted. In doing so, the ebook provides to our realizing of the sociological method through which perpetrators come to acknowledge themselves as such.

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Extra resources for A Cultural Sociology of Anglican Mission and the Indian Residential Schools in Canada: The Long Road to Apology

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WOODS They were to be role models—exemplars of how to live civilized Christian lives (Jensz 2012a: 295). In a wide-ranging review, Felicity Jensz observes that mission schools were seen as a mechanism for instilling a ‘moral technology’—‘through schooling missionaries themselves hoped to enact a transformative process from ‘heathen’ and ‘uncivilized’ native to ‘civilized’ and Christian convert’ (Jensz 2012b: 306). As such, in common with their eighteenth century predecessors, at its core, the missionaries’ view of so-called ‘primitive peoples’ was that they shared with Europeans a common humanity, despite their lack of civilization and Christianity.

We have seen that in the nineteenth century, the pattern of meanings informing Anglican mission largely conformed to those that had informed their eighteenth century predecessors. Despite the growing pervasiveness of a racist depiction of indigenous communities, at the core of the mission was a belief that indigenous communities shared a common humanity with the missionaries. As such, Christianization was possible. Nevertheless, indigenous communities were seen to be hindered by an anachronistic and inferior culture.

27 Strong (2007: 48–49) further finds that the rationale for conversion and assimilation tended to be seen through a theological lens, in which the distinction between Christian and Gentile provided a framework for understanding the developmental distance that separated the English from the indigenous Americans. Thus, the former represented light, Christian truth, morality, and civilization, while the latter represented darkness, superstition, idolatry, ignorance, and brutishness. Several churchmen pointed to the ostensible parallel between the indigenous peoples of North America and their own English pagan ancestors, with the implication that if the English had been brought into the ‘light’, so too could the indigenous peoples.

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