The 19th century in Canada's northwest was a period of turbulence and rapid transformation. The fur trade had
swept across the Prairies and Hudson's Bay Company posts were
increasing in size and power. The lives of Aboriginal peoples were subject
to famine and increased conflict over diminishing food stocks and
territorial conflict with traders and other Aboriginal peoples.
The fur trade, the influx of settlers and
the decline of the buffalo, to name just a few, were making it more
difficult for Aboriginal people to maintain their traditional way of life and
were, in many cases, causing mounting tension. It was into this
environment of change and conflict that the missionary entered.
In this section, with the help of audio, text and images we explore
aspects of the missionary era. We look at the work and
understanding of missionaries and the evangelical impulse that prompts their departure from family and familiar society to share the Christian gospel.
We also explore the Christian movement called "Methodism," both
its origins in Britain and its transformation in Canada. The periods
before and after 1870 marked significant changes in the roles and work of
all missionaries. As well, we present the effects of
the Methodist missionaries and others as a reflection on the mission era
that emerged in the mid and late 20th century and continued into the 21st