The foundation and the early years of the Moravian Mission in Labrador, 1752-1805

Hiller, James (1967) The foundation and the early years of the Moravian Mission in Labrador, 1752-1805. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The old protestant Church of the United Brethren, commonly known as the Moravian Church, was revived by Count Zinzendorf in the 1720's. Attention soon turned to foreign missions, and one of the earliest was in Greenland. It was decided to extend the work to the Labrador Eskimos, and after an abortive attempt to establish a mission on the coast in 1752, a more determined programme was undertaken in the 1760's under the leadership of Jens Haven. With the blessing of government, a mission station was established at Nain in 1771, administered jointly by the German and English branches of the Moravian Church. Other stations were established at Okkak (1776) and Hopedale (1782). -- The policy of the mission was to contain the Eskimos in the north, and to gather them into regulated Christian communities established on traditional Moravian lines. The difficulties were many. The mission could not provide a complete economic substitute for the southern trader, and the policy of containment did not fully succeed. Also, the realisation of the settled community ideal involved far-reaching economic, social and religious changes for the Eskimos, which took far longer to occur than the missionaries originally anticipated. The mission had high standards and was not prepared to compromise. There were not many conversions in the early years, but as the mission became part of the established scene, so the Eskimos' reliance on economic and social services increased; the journies south gradually ceased, and mission schools began to have an effect on the young people. The presence of the mission, and of convert groups following an alien pattern of life disrupted the uniformity of Eskimo society - a uniformity which was reestablished by the convulsive "revival" of 1804-5. This established mission dominance from Okkak to Hopedale and brought into being the settled community, although in a modified form to suit the Labrador environment.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6833
Item ID: 6833
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [240]-246.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1967
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Moravian Church--Missions--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Moravians--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador

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