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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY ARCHIVE

Section V: Missions to the Americas
Part 4: British Columbia, 1856-1925

The focus here is on CMS work in British Columbia in the years 1856-1925. All the papers contain much detail on the life and customs of the Native American Indians. Researchers can assess the progress made under Bishops George Hills (British Columbia), William Carpenter Bompas (Athabasca) and William Ridley (Caledonia). Some of the subjects covered include:

  • Statistics compiled by Bishop Hills on the Indian tribes of the Pacific coast – number of men, women and children and the language they use.
  • Bishop Bompas’s letter on his arrival at Metlakatla in 1877 and his first impressions.
  • Committee meetings held at Metlakatla.
  • Tour among the tribes on the Nass and Skeenia Rivers in 1874.

Letters and journals of missionaries such as William Duncan and Alfred Hall are packed with observations on meetings with Indian chiefs, notes on burial customs, liquor traffic, Indian settlements and suggestions on new sites for mission buildings.

  • There is good material on the conflicts between rival factions at Red River in the 1870s and 1880s as well as on developments after the First World War.
  • The documents provide fascinating insights on the nature of frontier life, local customs, converts, itinerations and the problems encountered by both natives and missionaries.
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