chapter
34 Pages

Encountering Europeans

Native Americans and Newcomers in the Late-Seventeenth Century Mississippi Valley
WithLaura M. Chmielewski

This chapter considers European exploration from the Native American perspective, using the interactions described by Marquette to evaluate Indian life ways, interactions, and challenges. While Jacques Marquette reported relatively little conflict with the people he encountered, his successor among the Peorias, Jacques Gravier, remained for a far longer time. The incident involved a band of Miami Indians, a group culturally related to the villagers Marquette and Louis Jolliet encountered on the Fox River who showed them so much hospitality. In an effort to reinforce Catholicism and combat Protestantism, the Jesuits had been among the forerunners in Europe to redefine these elements. North American Jesuits, however, still struggled to figure out how the trends might apply to create and sustain their relationships with Indians. Indians killed Jesuits whom they perceived to carry malevolent powers into their communities. Jesuits sometimes resorted to secret baptisms, but Indians often knew about the practice and resented it.