By John Webster Grant
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Additional resources for A Profusion of Spires: Religion in Nineteenth-Century Ontario
During the 16405, as Iroquois attacks began to threaten the existence of the confederacy, an increasing number of Hurons turned to the Jesuits for leadership. According to the Jesuit Relation of 1648-9, more than 2,700 had been baptized in the previous thirteen months. Most of these baptisms appear to have been indiscriminate, although in earlier years the Jesuits had scrutinized adult candidates with meticulous care. While concentrating their energies upon the Hurons, the Jesuits reached out as their resources allowed to other groups.
Medicine societies, as has been noted in the case of the Iroquois, were commonly associated with settled communities. During the late seventeenth century, under Iroquois pressure, many Ojibwas began to come together for the first time in permanent villages. The authority of clan elders and clan societies no longer sufficed, and a need was felt for an institution that would bind the whole tribe together. Indicative of this integrative function were the identification of Nanabozho as the founder of the midewiwin and an attention to Kitchi-manito that had not been customary in the operations of individual shamans.
Among the missionaries none commanded more admiration or aroused more suspicion than Jean de Brebeuf, who was the Jesuits' most accomplished linguist and most effective debater. In time, despite setbacks, the Jesuits secured a nucleus of followers, especially in the village of Ossernenon, where they had been longest established. During the 16405, as Iroquois attacks began to threaten the existence of the confederacy, an increasing number of Hurons turned to the Jesuits for leadership. According to the Jesuit Relation of 1648-9, more than 2,700 had been baptized in the previous thirteen months.
A Profusion of Spires: Religion in Nineteenth-Century Ontario by John Webster Grant