The Vastness of the Inland Empire
The Inland Empire Itself
The Plateau Indians spanned quite a large area. Before the intervention of white settlers, these tribes extended into Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and even up into Canada. This climate region lended itself well to a seasonal round where the tribes would move around the area depending on where resources were available at that time of year. This very nomadic lifestyle worked well for the natives that had been practicing them for generations, but having such a large land mass was challenging for the few Jesuit missionaries.
These issues are catalogued in the Diary of Father Edward Griva. A very common entry in the diary was to be spending an entire day travelling. Although there were many churches across the reservations (which I have listed below), the Jesuits were all stationed at their one mission and needed to travel across the plateau to preach.
(14 December 1920, etc.); Edward Griva Collection; Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus, Foley Library, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.
Churches in the Area
- Our Lady of Sorrows - Kalispel territory
- St. Joseph - Spokane territory, Ford
- St. Anne - Skoyelpee territory, Piya
- St. Joakim - Skoyelpee territory, Barnabee
- St. Celestine - Skoyelpee territory, Inchelium
- St. Ignatius - Skoyelpee territory, Rogers Bar
- Sacred Heart of Jesus - Nezpercez, Nespelem
- St. Rose - San Poil, Keller
Although all of these locations were in Washington, the lack of transportation made travelling to each of these churches very difficult for the small group of priests. Almost all of these churches were on the same reservation, but at this point in time the reservation was still quite large.
Although the large land mass complicated the efforts, the Jesuit Missionaries still were able to spread their religion. These efforts included preaching, taking confessions, and baptizing. Preaching was done in both English and Indian languages depending on the crowd. The missionaries would travel to churches at each reservation and share their knowledge during mass. Priests would also make themselves avialable for confessions in either language, and the amount of people who confessed was closely documented. For instance, in 1922, Father Edward Griva heard 2109 confessions. Baptism also became increadingly popular. Each year, about 60 children and 10 adults were baptized into the Catholic faith.
(31 December 1920, etc.); Edward Griva Collection; Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus, Foley Library, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.
Edward Griva, " Reports on Status of the Indians in Northeastern Washington with a Report for 1922;" Edward Griva Collection; Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus, Foley Library, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.