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James Axtell's Analysis of the Conflict of Cultures in North America

Salisbury (504) discussed several features of the interaction between the Jesuits and the Amerindians, noting that trade preferences were not sufficient to foster successful relations:

'In spite of these inducements, the Jesuits' success remained sharply limited. Though over half the Huron traders converted before 1648, less than 15% of the total population was Christian. Instead of the mass Christianization they had sought, the missionaries had simply disrupted a society that placed high value on consensus in its social, political, and religious life. Their insistence that converts abandon traditional religious practices extended to community rituals such as funerals, the periodic reburials known as Feasts of the Dead, and war parties against the Iroquois. The result was bitter factionalism characterized by violence, family quarrels, threats, and bribes. The missionaries' very success with some Hurons reinforced the rest in their conviction that the Jesuits sought to destroy their ties to the supernatural forces that held their society together.'

Other analysts have also suggested that the encounter between the Jesuits and the Amerindians was not always comfortable. For example, Leonard Kennedy (27) described the case of Jesuit Father Francis Bressani, one of the martyred Jesuits who suffered greatly at the hands of the Iroquois and lapsed Huron converts whom he had come to New France to serve. According to Kennedy (27), Father Bressani endured many sessions of torture, but remained focused on his missionary work, leaving and then returning to Canada to preach to the Amerindians.

George Anderson (13û14) also discussed the martyrdom of French Jesuits, including Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalement, two of the eight Jesuit missionaries killed in the 1640s in New France. While Anderson (13) noted that the Jesuits enjoyed relatively good relations with the Huron û their primary focus in their missionary work û the more hos...

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James Axtell's Analysis of the Conflict of Cultures in North America. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:36, August 20, 2017, from
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