Critiquing Western Interpretations of Northern People

Primary sources are defined as first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning the topic being explored. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experience the events or conditions being documented. However, it is important to take into account the perspective of the individual documenting the event. The Jesuits in the Northern Native communities experienced events, customs, and ceremonies with minimal or no knowledge about the event occurring. In other words the Jesuit journals and photographs were taken documented through an outsider’s perspective. At the most the Native people being “observed” helped the Jesuit documenting spell out their name. However, most of the photos taken do not contain names or descriptions. Even after living with the Native people for a period of time many of the Jesuits believed the Northern Native people to be savages with no purpose in life, who would be condemned, and therefore needed their salvation. This discrimination is seen throughout documentation, therefore making it difficult to verify description of people and customs. 


Karina Lopez-Damian, Olivia Nagozruk