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


$65.00 • £52.95 • €58.50

ISBN 9780674026087

Publication Date: 10/31/2007


318 pages

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

11 halftones

Harvard Historical Studies


A gripping tale of personal dislocation in early modern North America. Left dangling between cultures, the Innu convert Pastedechouan oscillated between devotion and apostasy. His story challenges accepted narratives of conversion and resistance. This excellent work will be of great interest to readers in religion, American and Canadian history, and Native American studies.—Allan Greer, author of Mohawk Saint

Innovative and impressively researched, The Betrayal of Faith is a moving story that forces us to reflect on the relationship between ethno-cultural identity and religious commitment. Among its important contributions are an examination of the phenomenon of apostasy, both Catholic and shamanistic, and an empathetic and imaginative engagement with individuals in a distant time and place.—Cornelius J. Jaenen, University of Ottawa, Emeritus

Pastedechouan’s story, sensitively told by Anderson, reveals the human tragedy underneath the clash of Amerindian culture with that of the French missionaries. It is a good read and, further, a morality tale relevant to efforts today to impose values on peoples not particularly yearning for them.—John W. O’Malley, author of The First Jesuits

A gorgeously written and richly imagined study of the fate of the Innu Pastedechouan, caught between the ambitions of French priests and his own kin in colonial New France. Anderson’s vivid portrait belongs in the company of Carlo Ginzburg’s Menocchio and Natalie Zemon Davis’s Martin Guerre. Like these authors, she reveals herself to be a graceful and gifted historian of the inner worlds of people in the past. This is a compelling and deeply moving work of religious history.—Robert A. Orsi, Northwestern University

A remarkable and innovative book on a fascinating subject. Anderson brilliantly illuminates the tensions inherent in a religious identity divided between two worlds. This nuanced book underscores the multifaceted nature of the contact between native peoples and Europeans. It deserves to be widely read.—Martin Pâquet, Université Laval

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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