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The Jesuits and the Huron
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LESSON 5: The Jesuits and the Huron
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This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 2 Adventures and Mystics yellow divider


In the 17th century, religious orders began arriving in New France intending to convert the Native population to Christianity. The first order established in Canada were the Récollets in 1615. The Jesuits followed in 1632. The annual reports of the Jesuits' missions, The Jesuit Relations, soon became an important instrument for promoting New France among the rich and the educated in France.

In Paris in 1639, a tax collector, Jérôme Le Royer de la Dauversière, and a priest, Jean-Jacques Olier, dreamed of founding an evangelical colony on the island of Montreal. Their goal was to create a people - white and Native - united in the Catholic faith. They chose Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve to lead the enterprise. De Maisonneuve was accompanied by Jeanne Mance, whose mission was to build a hospital. They arrived in Montreal on May 17, 1642, and founded Ville-Marie. The conversion plans failed and, in 1650, the missionary society, burdened by numerous debts and deceptions, crumbled while colonization and commerce became the main focus of the city of Montreal.

The Jesuit missionaries had a different approach. They lived among the Natives and tried to gain their confidence by learning their languages and customs. Between 1610 and 1640, diseases carried by the Europeans killed close to half of the Huron population. Huron shamans accused the Jesuits of bringing disease and angering the gods with their religious practices. When the weakened villages fell into the hands of enemy Iroquois, the Jesuits were tortured, as was Jean de Brébeuf in 1649. Between 1648 and 1650, the Iroquois nearly decimated the Huron nation.

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    Episode 1
    When the World Began...
    Lesson 1 Canada's First Peoples
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 2 Stories of Creation
    Lesson 3 Cartier and Donnacona

    Episode 2
    Adventures and Mystics
    Lesson 4 The Beginning of the Fur Trade
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 5 The Jesuits and the Huron
    Lesson 6 Immigration to New France

    Episode 3
    Claiming the Wilderness
    Lesson 7 Expansion to the Gulf of Mexico
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 8 The Expulsion of the Acadians

    Episode 4
    Battle for a Continent
    Lesson 9 Before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 10 The Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 11 The Quebec Act
    (includes activity)

    Episode 5
    A Question of Loyalties
    Lesson 12 Conflict in Quebec, 1775
    Lesson 13 United Empire Loyalists
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 14 Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh

    Episode 6
    The Pathfinders
    Lesson 15 The Fur Trade in Canada
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 16 The Selkirk Settlers
    Lesson 17 The Gold Rush

    Episode 7
    Rebellion and Reform
    Lesson 18 The Rebellions of 1837
    Lesson 19 Union of the Canadas
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 20 A Land of Hope

    Episode 8
    The Great Enterprise
    Lesson 21 Newcomers to Canada
    Lesson 22 The Making of Confederation
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 23 Confederation in the Maritimes

    Episode 9
    From Sea to Sea
    Lesson 24 The Red River Resistance
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 25 The Pacific Scandal

    Episode 10
    Taking the West
    Lesson 26 The North-West Rebellion
    Lesson 27 The Trial of Louis Riel
    Lesson 28 Macdonald's National Dream

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