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Mississauga Portraits

Mississauga Portraits: Ojibwe Voices from Nineteenth-Century Canada

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 496
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  • Book Info
    Mississauga Portraits
    Book Description:

    Donald B. Smith'sMississauga Portraitsrecreates the lives of eight Ojibwe who lived during this period - all of whom are historically important and interesting figures, and seven of whom have never before received full biographical treatment.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6668-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Maps and Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
    Don Smith
  5. ONE Peter Jones, or Kahkewaquonaby (1802–1856), and Canada West, Spring 1856
    (pp. 3-32)

    In late afternoon of 20 May 1856, three people stepped into a stagecoach at Toronto’s Great Western terminal, which stood adjacent to old Fort York on the city’s western outskirts. The smell of engine smoke was pervasive. Inside the cab sat Peter Jones, the well-known Mississauga chief, with Eliza Jones, his English wife. Their family physician had accompanied them from Brantford, nearly 150 kilometres to the west. Only half an hour or so earlier, the Great Western train from Hamilton had crossed the Credit River Bridge. The Credit Mississauga had fought unsuccessfully for two decades to obtain secure tenure to...

  6. TWO Credit Head Chief: Joseph Sawyer, or Nawahjegezhegwabe (ca. 1784–1863)
    (pp. 33-67)

    Joseph Sawyer, or Nawahjegezhegwabe (“The Sloping Sky”), served as the head chief of the Credit Mississauga for a third of a century, from 1828 to his death, in 1863. Tall,¹ with strong clear-cut features, Chief Sawyer was an impressive-looking man. This veteran of the War of 1812 had an outstanding reputation as an orator, one who, in the words of one observer, “artfully began with the most trivial and unimportant things,” rising dramatically in his conclusion to those “which he imagined would be most difficult to be granted.”² “Very intelligent and clever”³ is how one British Canadian settler described him....

  7. THREE Upright Woman: Catharine Sutton, or Nahnebahnwequay, “Nahnee” (1824–1865)
    (pp. 68-97)

    Nahnebahnwequay (Upright Woman), known to her friends as “Nahnee,”¹ was born in the autumn of 1824 on the Credit River flats.² Her father, Bunch Sunegoo, was born here twenty years earlier, in 1804,³ the year of the disaster. Nahnee heard stories of the Credit River flood in her childhood. Late that summer heavy rains caused the Credit’s banks to overflow. The onrushing surge of water completely swept away the entire Mississauga encampment on the river flats.⁴ In hisHistory of the Ojebway Indians, Peter Jones provided the explanation offered in his boyhood of the incredible deluge. His account provides a...

  8. FOUR The Outsider: Peter Jacobs, or Pahtahsega (ca. 1810–1890)
    (pp. 98-125)

    Pahtahsega, or Peter Jacobs as he was known in English, was one of the leading Methodist Ojibwe mission workers in the late 1830s and early 1840s. On a lecture stage he looked most impressive dressed in his traditional costume. Shorter in height than an average Ojibwe warrior,¹ Pahtahsega was solidly built. A man of great strength, he could carry a load of nearly two hundred pounds over a portage, barefooted.² In English, he preached ably and zealously. The well-read Ojibwe minister was “intelligent and well posted on current events.”³ Fortunately, for the biographer of the nineteenth-century Ojibwe on the north...

  9. FIVE International Entrepreneur: Maungwudaus, or George Henry (ca. 1805–after 1877)
    (pp. 126-163)

    The performance took place on parkland adjacent to the Palace of St. Cloud, southwest of Paris, in late October 1845. King Louis Philippe had invited Maungwudaus and troupe to perform, accompanied by George Catlin, their impresario in France. About four thousand people welcomed them at St. Cloud, including the king and queen of France and their guests, the king and queen of Belgium.¹ Several days after the exhibition, Maungwudaus wrote from Paris to his relative Peter Jones, then visiting Britain: “Last Saturday we saw the great chief of France, and his great chief woman; the great chief of Belgium and...

  10. SIX Literary Celebrity: George Copway, or Kahgegagahbowh (1818–1869)
    (pp. 164-211)

    George Copway, or Kahgegagahbowh, and his friend Maungwudaus, also known as George Henry, accepted a journalist’s request for an interview. On 1 April 1850, the Ojibwe were visiting Washington, DC. Copway had come to advance the idea of an “Indian Territory” along the Missouri, Maungwudaus to meet the President of the United States of America.A New York Tribunereporter spoke with the two in the U.S. Senate wing of the Capitol Building. The two tall, and athletic-looking Ojibwe replied with the gravitas and substance expected of Noble Red Men. The possibility of a North American Indian attack on Atlantic...

  11. SEVEN Warrior Preacher: John Sunday, or Shawundais (ca. 1795–1875)
    (pp. 212-244)

    On 30 January 1828, three leading Mississauga chiefs – Captain James Ajetance from the Credit, Captain George Paudash from Rice Lake, and Shawundais, or John Sunday, from Grape Island in the Bay of Quinte – met in council with the British.¹ Protected by substantial earthen walls, Fort York stood on the bank of Lake Ontario, about three kilometres west of the town of York, as Toronto was then known.² The council was held in the major’s quarters.³ Inside the fort, the “Maskokonahyad,” or red coats,⁴ were ever present. The three chiefs had fought for Britain in the War of 1812:...

  12. EIGHT A Missionary Family: Henry Steinhauer, or Shahwahnegezhik (ca. 1817–1884), and Sons, Egerton Ryerson Steinhauer (1858–1932) and Robert Steinhauer (1861–1941)
    (pp. 245-276)

    In early June 1855, Henry Steinhauer, or Shahwahnegezhik, came to London, Canada West, for his ordination. The Wesleyan Methodist Church had selected him to take charge of a new mission northeast of Fort Edmonton roughly three thousand kilometres away. The Canadian Wesleyan Conference was held in London’s newly built, but spacious, North Street Wesleyan Church.¹ Two days before Steinhauer’s ordination, the delegates celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the commencement of the ministry of their beloved William Case. Life in Canada had changed so in his lifetime. By 1855, the bush had been cleared, the rivers bridged, and railways built. Now,...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 277-282)

    The Methodist outreach to the Ojibwe released an extraordinary amount of new creative energy among the Mississauga. The Methodists owed their success to their partnership with the Ojibwe on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The early Methodists left the Indigenous church very much in the hands of capable Ojibwe evangelists. Peter Jones, John Sunday, George Copway, Peter Jacobs, Henry Steinhauer, William Herkimer, Allen Salt, among others, became fully ordained Methodist ministers. Joseph Sawyer, George Henry (Maungwudaus for many years), and Nahnee (Catharine Sutton) became valued church workers. On foot, by canoe, and on snowshoes, bilingual and bicultural Ojibwe Methodists...

  14. Epilogue
    (pp. 283-286)

    The nineteenth-century prediction that the First Nations would disappear was just a forecast, and it was wrong. Improved nutrition and hygiene, as well as continued progress in the prevention and therapy of infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis, contributed to a dramatic increase in First Nations numbers. Since modern health services reached the reserves in the mid-twentieth century, the Aboriginal peoples have become the fastest growing population sector in the country. Their cultures are flourishing again. There is, today, an intense desire by many Aboriginal persons to recover endangered traditions.

    At first, the Methodists did not hear the voices of the Ojibwe...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 287-404)
  16. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 405-444)
  17. Index
    (pp. 445-457)