Interactions between Missionaries and Children of the Columbia Plateau Region

Interactions between the Jesuit Priests and the Native American Tribes of the Columbia Plateau region were dynamic and complex interactions.  The purpose of this exhibit is to begin to shed light on some of the specific missions built by the Jesuit Priests, as well as to begin to understand the methods of conversion and evangalizing of the Native peoples of this region.  This exhibit consists of primary sources, primarily photographs, taken by Jesuit priests at these missions, depicting Native children and adults throughout the conversion process.  

Many priests focused on the Native children in terms of teaching and evanglizing, as the children were more succesible to learing new ways of life, and with the goal that these children would then live a Catholic life, and be able to pass on these teachings to future generations.  By starting with the children, the Jesuits sought to evangelize future generations of Native peoples.

The conversion of these children consisted of both cultural and religious changes.  The cultural aspect of change consisted of Western attire and cutting of their hair, as well as teaching English.  In terms of religious conversion, glass lantern slides were commonly used to visually teach both children and adults the teachings of Catholisism.  There is lots of evidence of First Communions, particularly at the Sacred Heart Mission, which is evidence of the conversion of many Native children.  


Alec Pasqualina, Malou Parekh