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Robert Rundle wrote a detailed journal of his missionary experience in Canada between the years 1840 and 1848.Rundle's Journal It is an invaluable resource for historians as it contains the names of several hundred Aboriginal people, descriptions of cultural practices, information on Hudson's Bay Company personnel and their families, and a number of excerpts from texts and prayers. It also contains Rundle's reflections on the Canadian landscape and his role as a missionary.

Written shortly after his arrival in Canada, Rundle expresses his doubts and loneliness: 

Engaged today in preparing for tomorrow. What a responsibility rests on me! Immortal spirits are entrusted to my care & Lord what am I? But thou choosest the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. It is now near midnight. Day has long since dawned on happy England & shortly the bells will proclaim with their thousand tongues that the Day of rest has arrived. My friends will speedily be repairing to their different houses of prayer & will remember him I wonder who is now in the wilds of America. - June 13, 1840

Once Rundle began working with Aboriginal people, his preliminary fears faded and his chief pleasure became visiting their camps and learning about Aboriginal culture: 

The chief with whom I principally remained, lived in a large circular skin-lodge or tent, composed of twenty-six buffalo skins, supported with about thirty poles. I suppose it is capable of containing about one hundred persons. A row of buffalo robes or skins lined nearly the whole of the ground circle of the interior, connected with which were six or seven seats or couches, principally composed of the same materials. At the back of the seat, opposite the entrance (the place of distinction) was a buffalo robe, fancifully adorned. The Chief had seven wives, had been a great warrior, and is one of the principal men in authority over the Blackfeet. - April 19, 1841

Upon his first visit to Pigeon Lake, Rundle wrote of his appreciation for the Canadian landscape and perhaps the reason why he chose the site for his mission: 

 . . . before I slept, I went to the beach. What a spectacle! No sound was heard but the rise and splash of the fish in the lake. A slight ripple was all that was discernible on the lake. It lay almost like a sea of molten silver & the stars were reflected on its glassy breast. A mirrored heaven! It was a bright starlight night. A great interest is attached to encamping near a lake. - November 5, 1845

Citation Sources
Rundle, Robert Terrill. Edited by Hugh A. Dempsey. The Rundle Journals, 1840-1848. Calgary: Alberta Records Publications Board, Historical Society of Alberta and Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1977.


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