HARVARD HISTORICAL STUDIES
Cover: The Betrayal of Faith: The Tragic Journey of a Colonial Native Convert, from Harvard University PressCover: The Betrayal of Faith in HARDCOVER

Harvard Historical Studies 160

The Betrayal of Faith

The Tragic Journey of a Colonial Native Convert

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Product Details

HARDCOVER

$63.00 • £50.95 • €56.50

ISBN 9780674026087

Publication Date: 10/31/2007

Short

318 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

11 halftones

Harvard Historical Studies

World

Emma Anderson uses one man’s compelling story to explore the collision of Christianity with traditional Native religion in colonial North America.

Pierre-Anthoine Pastedechouan was born into a nomadic indigenous community of Innu living along the St. Lawrence River in present-day Quebec. At age eleven, he was sent to France by Catholic missionaries to be educated for five years, and then brought back to help Christianize his people.

Pastedechouan’s youthful encounter with French Catholicism engendered in him a fatal religious ambivalence. Robbed of both his traditional religious identity and critical survival skills, he had difficulty winning the acceptance of his community upon his return. At the same time, his attempts to prove himself to his people led the Jesuits to regard him with increasing suspicion. Suspended between two worlds, Pastedechouan ultimately became estranged—with tragic results—from both his native community and his missionary mentors.

An engaging narrative of cultural negotiation and religious coercion, Betrayal of Faith documents the multiple betrayals of identity and culture caused by one young man’s experiences with an inflexible French Catholicism. Pastedechouan’s story illuminates key struggles to retain and impose religious identity on both sides of the seventeenth-century Atlantic, even as it has a startling relevance to the contemporary encounter between Native and non-Native peoples.

Awards & Accolades

  • 2008 Best First Book in the History of Religion Award, American Academy of Religion
  • 2008 Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize, French Colonial Historical Society
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