The Blackfeet were once a vigorous nomadic people following the buffalo herds and living a life organized around strong family, religious, and social institutions. However, the Blackfoot world began to crumble during the second half of the nineteenth century as white civilization encroached upon their hunting grounds, the buffalo herds disappeared, and repeated smallpox epidemics ravaged the tribe.
Yet another blow was dealt to the Blackfoot world by Roman Catholic and Protestant efforts to convert the Indians to Christianity and to replace the traditional Blackfoot way of life with white cultural values and customs.
The Catholic missions and later Protestant efforts met many obstacles -Indian resistance, lack of funds, difficult working conditions, and continually changing governmental and denominational policies. Nonetheless, their long-continued work made an impact upon the Blackfeet, with both positive and negative consequences.
Mission Among the Blackfeet combines the history of these missions with an assessment of their sociological effect upon the tribe from the time the missionary movement began in the 1840's until the present. Drawing upon much previously unpublished material from church, Blackfeet Agency, and other government and historical society archives, this account tells of the successes and failures of both Indians and missionaries.
About the Author
Howard L. Harrod has had a longstanding interest in missionary movements and race relations. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Duke University and holds advanced degrees, including the Ph.D., from Yale University. Currently associate professor of social ethics in Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, Professor Harrod has written many articles for scholarly magazines in the field of theology.