MichiganGreat LakesJesuitNew FranceBookSourcesPublic The Jesuit Relations were published in Paris between 1632 and 1673 and contain "some of the richest and most valuable sources of ethnographic information from the early contact period, these reports were partly an outgrowth of Loyola's directive that missionaries communicate frequently with each other and with their superiors; they were also designed for popular consumption."1 Some of the most important contributions were by Claude Dablon because he was quite exacting is his descriptions of people, places, and events.
The Jesuits in New France believed that they saw God's hand in the language which explains why they spent so much time and energy in composing dictionaries of the Algonquian and Iroquoian languages. Peter Dorsey described "This linking of language and theology" as the reason that made the Jesuits such "rigorous students of native life and fostered their culturally sensitive approach." The Jesuit emphasis on this relationship between language and theology, "also promoted cultural interchange, as the Jesuits sought evidence of revelation among Indians that would help them make Christianity relevant." Through this empirical ethnography and translation of Indian languages, the Jesuits came to see themselves as the "authoritative interpreters of indigenous cultures."2
1. ⇑ Peter A. Dorsey, "Going to School with Savages: Authorship and Authority among the Jesuits of New France," The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 55, No. 3 (July 1998), 401. ⇑
2. ⇑ Dorsey, "Going to School," 401. ⇑
Thwaites, Reuben Gold, ed. The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 1610—1791. 71 vols. Cleveland: The Burrows Brothers Co., 1898-1901.
Dorsey, Peter A. "Going to School with Savages: Authorship and Authority among the Jesuits of New France." The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 55, No. 3 (July 1998): 399-420.
Morrison, Kenneth M. "Montagnais and Missionization in Early New France: The Syncretic Imperative." American Indian Culture and Research Journal 10, no. 3 (1986): 1-23.
Taylor, Monique. "'This Our Dwelling': The Landscape Experience of the Jesuit Missionaries to the Huron, 1626-1650," Journal of Canadian Studies 33 (Summer 1998): 86-88.
There is also a rather good bibliography at WP.
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