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Missionary societies had long desired to enter the Blackfoot Confederacy of southern Alberta. No permanent missions were established, however, until after the signing of Treaty 7 in 1877 and the designation of reserves. 

Methodist John Maclean first entered the area to begin a mission among the Kainai (Blood) tribe. He was appointed to Fort Macleod, which the missionary soon deemed unsuitable as a mission post-the fort officers were generally opposed to the mission, treated him with disrespect and hindered men from attending services. Maclean remained in town, however, teaching school and learning the Blackfoot language until he felt sufficiently equipped to meet the Aboriginal people on their own ground. In 1883 he built a mission house and school on the reserve.

Crowfoot FamilyIn 1889 the Fort Macleod Mission was closeTreaty 7 Pictured upon recommendation of John McDougall, Superintendent of Missions, who considered it a failure owing to the lack of conversions and prevalence of Aboriginal customs. Maclean subsequently served at a number locations throughout the West and in 1918 was appointed Chief Archivist of the Methodist Church.

 


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