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Products for grant FT-259489-18

Jesuit Missions and Native Communities in the Northwest, 1840–1940
Emily Clark, Gonzaga University

Grant details:

Jesuits, the Iñupiat, and Catholicism on the Seward Peninsula Coast, 1898–1937 (Article)
Title: Jesuits, the Iñupiat, and Catholicism on the Seward Peninsula Coast, 1898–1937
Author: Emily Suzanne Clark
Abstract: Taking the interactions between Jesuit missionaries and Iñupiat communities as its focus, this article interrogates the complexity of conversion in the Alaskan territory on Seward Peninsula. The Jesuits viewed their evangelizing efforts as a corrective of Native “superstitions” and simultaneously, Native communities of the Seward Peninsula brought Christianity alongside of, rather than in lieu of, Iñupiat religious practice. Particular focus is given to the Jesuit missionary Bellarmine Lafortune and the King Island community, just off the Seward Peninsula. Though he considered the pre-contact Iñupiat to be superstitious, Lafortune did not ascribe to a definition of conversion that required a full break with previous cultural traditions. This allowed for more fluidity in that space of conversion, and just as Iñupiat men and women converted to Catholicism, elements of Catholicism could be converted and made Iñupiat. After providing background information about the Jesuit mission to the Peninsula, the article considers Iñupiat cultures (mainly of King Island) and how the Jesuits attempted to evangelize these communities. The continued emphasis on dance and reciprocity in the King Island community demonstrate how Catholicism lived alongside indigenous cultures.
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: A link to the journal article's page on the ProjectMuse database.
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: This is a link to the supporting institution's page for the journal.
Access Model: subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: American Catholic Studies
Publisher: American Catholic Historical Society