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Anglican Missionaries BloodThe records of John Maclean's 10-year ministry among the Blackfoot have been only scantly reviewed. The one study which was completed portrays him as a well educated, literary and productive missionary, teacher and anthropologist. Examination of Maclean's own writing also reveals him to have been a social critic.

MclmapDuring the time Maclean spent in southern Alberta, the missions to the Blackfoot people rapidly increased-both the Anglican church and the Missionary Oblates established missions and mission schools in the area, all with multiple staff. Additionally, there were five government-run day schools (nevertheless, of the nearly 2000 school-aged children living in the area, reported Maclean, less than 100 attended regular classes). Within this arena, Maclean's primary objective was, "working out that most difficult problem . .  the intellectual emancipation of the Indian, and its natural sequel, his elevation to a status equal to that of his white brother." 

In his work, Maclean's predicted that of the various tribes of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, those which were of a more artistic and romantic nature-the coastal and mountain people-would be more readily converted to Christianity and Western ways than the plains people he served. Perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy, John Maclean & John McDougallMaclean was found wanting by his Superintendent of Missions, John McDougall, and the mission was closed in 1889. The reasons McDougall gave were twofold: the lack of conversions and establishment of societies of the church, and the fact that Maclean had not constructed sufficient buildings and furnishings. For the latter he was supposed to have enlisted the help of the Aboriginal people for labour and donations of materials, but instead had purchased materials and hired workers.

Citation Sources
Nix, James Ernest. John Maclean's Mission to the Blood Indians, 1880-1889. Montreal: McGill University, 1977.


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