First Nations History
June 4, 2010 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I have been trying to find information about a native boy who was converted by the Jesuits in the 18th or 19th century and taken to France to go to school. I believe that it was a post on MetaFilter around two years ago. I've searched but with no luck. Does anyone know about this boy? I think his name began with a P.

I don't know exactly where he came from, what is now Canada or the US, but I believe he was East Coast Woodlands.
It's a story about relgious conversion and being assimulated and then his attempt to re-assimulate to his native community when he returns - without success.
Sorry, my memory is not more exact. If anyone knows anything about native people being taken back to England or France during the 18th or 19th centuries I would be very interested in resources.
posted by ofelia to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Don Luis?
posted by LegateSaxon at 1:51 PM on June 4, 2010

Thank you. That's not who I was thinking of but I'd like to gather as many examples as possible.

The boy I'm trying to find agreed to go to France. His tribe wanted him to learn the European ways and return to help them resist colonization. He leaves North America as a young boy, grows up with the Jesuits in France and when he returns, first trys to convert his people, but is then disillusioned by his adopted Christian faith and returns to live with his brother. In the end he starves to death because he's does not know how to hunt or to survive as a native person.
I believe he wrote a diary and letters which detail his struggle with his conflicting religious/spiritual beliefs. He may have been Huron.

I just need to find his name.
Thanks again.
posted by ofelia at 2:47 PM on June 4, 2010


On 1 Aug. 1626 Father Charles Lalemant wrote from Quebec to his brother Jérôme: “A little Huron is going to see you; he longs to see France. He is very fond of us and manifests a strong desire to be instructed; nevertheless, his father and the Captain of the nation wishes to see him next year, assuring us that, if he is satisfied, he will give him to us for some years. It is of importance that he should be thoroughly satis fied, for if this child is once instructed, it will open the way to many tribes where he will be very useful.” Amantacha dit Louis de Sainte-Foi, was baptized at Rouen during the time that Father Daniel was a teacher at the college. Certain historians have asserted that Father Daniel had prepared Amantacha for baptism; this affirmation has not been completely proved. But the presence of the young Huron at Rouen did not escape Daniel’s notice, and it may be that it played some part in his missionary vocation.

From here.
posted by NoraCharles at 4:28 PM on June 4, 2010

Stories like the one you're searching for might be found in Jesuit Relations, "early ethnographic documents that chronicle Jesuit missions in New France. Covering a period of 200 years and beginning in 1611, the works were written annually and appeared in print beginning in 1632" (says Wikipedia).
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:02 PM on June 4, 2010

See also Roger Magnuson's "Education in New France" (pp. 51-52 mentions girls being sent to France for an education).
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:49 PM on June 4, 2010

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