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Although he never received formal academic training, John McDougall was a prolific writer. He wrote six volumes of memoirs recounting his life up to 1876. He published a biography of his father, a historical fiction account of a young Cree chief and numerous articles. He also edited a Cree-hymn book and prepared a primer in English and Cree

  Book adsIn this excerpt from his book In the Days of the Red River Rebellion, John McDougall describes relations between missionaries and Aboriginal peoples in glowing terms. Like in many of his and other missionaries' written works, he is addressing an outside audience, one that is unfamiliar with life in Western Canada. As a result, he writes in an informative, yet entertaining style: 

Some good folk, as also some merely inquisitive people, have often said to us, "How did you win the confidence and faith of these native tribes?" Today's experience is in part the answer. We companied them in sorrow and in joy, in fasting and in feasting, in peace and in war; were in all things like them, without in any sense comprising either principle or manliness. We were nomads or permanents, as our work needed. We hunted and trapped and fished, and engaged in all manner of athletics, foot races, horse races, anything for real fun and common brotherhood. Thus we found out men, and these in turn saw us and read us as a book, until they knew that on every page of our life there was written friendship and the true desire to help them. More than this, they saw we believed in them, and at last they grew to believe most heartily in us. 

In a letter to the Wesleyan Missionary Society in January 1869, John McDougall discusses how the world of the Blackfoot is changing from what he perceives as the role of missionary in aiding this transformation: 

I am deeply sensible of the responsibility that attends every step connected with the Blackfoot Mission . . . If they are not saved by gospel agency they will certainly be exterminated. In many respects they are a noble tribe, and, from their point of view are fighting for their very existence. Dependant upon the buffalo, they are jealous of any encroachment on their beautiful plains. Thus far they are favorable to your Missionaries; and the Lord being our helper, we shall leave no means unimproved to save this unfortunate race. 

Citation Sources
McDougall, John. In the Days of the Red River Rebellion: The Life and Adventure in the Far West of Canada (1868-1872): 1911.

The Following letter was written to the Superintendent of Missions, George McDougall, after John has been seconded by the Government to go on tour to prepare the Aboriginal people for treaty making. Peter Campbell was now stationed at the Woodville Mission at Pigeon Lake:

Pigin Lake
[...] 11th 1869

Dear Sir,
I write you these few
lines to let you know that we find
it hard not hunderstand you minester.
Because we cant have meaten
as we like to have he has not meat
a not he dos not underdatnd
we find John wanting because he
can speak cree we like John
we should like to have him
again all the stones wants him
back hear when John is hear
there is more meatens held and
more joined religen if John dos
not come back I think plenty
will leave of your religen

I remain
Pall Ciand

These all hear that wants
John back and all the
stones

Pall Ciand
Mas ka coo pot
James Coo ta as qua pot
Jacomp Kee che pot
Jacob Kee che pot
Adam Kee che pot

All those saw John and wants
him Back Do this send him Back
yow will oblige us in to so
we all like him to be shure send
him Back hear we send your
Respects to you wall all like him

We all remain
Paul Cand

You gave your son to us why
Do you take him Back do send
send him Back

Citation Sources
Letter written to George McDougall, University of Western Ontario (M 729, Box 2, File 40).


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