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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY ARCHIVE

Section V: Missions to the Americas
Part 2: North West Canada, 1821-1880

CMS work in North West Canada started with the efforts of John West and David Jones on the Red River in Rupert’s Land in 1822. By 1837, a community of 600 baptised Indians had been gathered and the first bishop of Rupert’s Land was appointed in 1849. The first Indian clergyman was ordained the following year. In 1851, a new centre at Moose Factory on the Hudson Bay was opened and in 1858 Archdeacon Hunter undertook a great pioneer journey of 2000 miles beyond the Arctic Circle, opening up a vast new area of work. These beginnings are well covered in these archival records.

  • These papers provide scholars with the opportunity for detailed research into the lives and customs of Native Americans and their reactions to the missionaries working among them.
  • There is a census taken of the Indians and detailed reports and journals of the bishops and missionaries as they travelled among the Indians throughout the mission area. There are good drawings and sketches too.
  • Documents on the establishment of new schools, the building of new mission houses, the arrival of new missionaries, encounters with wild animals, the inclement weather and sickness among the Indians build up a vivid picture of the missionary experience.

There are Committee Papers, newspaper cuttings and the letters and papers of individual missionaries. Mission stations stretched from the Hudson Bay through Saskatchewan to Fort Simpson and the Pacific coast.

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