Mixed Blessings: Indigenous Encounters with Christianity in Canada

2017, 226 pp
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Mixed Blessings transforms our understanding of the relationship between Indigenous people and Christianity in Canada from the early 1600s to the present day. While acknowledging the harm of colonialism, including the trauma inflicted by church-run residential schools, this interdisciplinary collection challenges the portrayal of Indigenous people as passive victims of malevolent missionaries who experienced a uniformly dark history. Instead, this book illuminates the diverse and multifaceted ways that Indigenous communities and individuals, including prominent leaders such as Louis Riel and Edward Ahenakew, have interacted, and continue to interact, meaningfully with Christianity. It also plumbs the processes and politics involved in combining spiritual traditions and reflects on the role of Christianity in Indigenous communities today.

"Given the tremendous harm that colonial Christianity has wrought, a widespread assumption is that most Indigenous people reject the Christian religion. Surprisingly, that's not the case. Why is that? In this nuanced and courageous collection, contributors explore the multiple ways in which Indigenous peoples have engaged with Christianity, while others did not. But there's a lot more here than historical reflection. There's a vulnerable search for honest and personal engagement that will push us away from paths of assimilation towards a mutual decolonization."

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