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UBC Press Winter 2017 Trade

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Mixed Blessings
Indigenous Encounters with Christianity in Canada
Edited by: Tolly Bradford Edited by: Chelsea Horton
9780774829403 Paperback, Trade English Professional/Scholarly RELIGION / Christianity / History Jan 17, 2017
$29.95 CAD
Forthcoming 6 x 9 x 0.5 in | 360 gr 236 pages UBC Press
This collection illuminates how Christianity has proved to be a flexible and charged site of colonial encounter and exchange for Indigenous people in what is now Canada.

Mixed Blessings transforms our understanding of the relationship between Indigenous people and Christianity in Canada from the early 1600s to the present day. While acknowledging the harm of colonialism, including the trauma inflicted by church-run residential schools, this interdisciplinary collection challenges the portrayal of Indigenous people as passive victims of malevolent missionaries who experienced a uniformly dark history. Instead, this book illuminates the diverse and multifaceted ways that Indigenous communities and individuals – including prominent leaders such as Louis Riel and Edward Ahenakew – have interacted, and continue to interact, meaningfully with Christianity.

Tolly Bradford is an assistant professor of history at Concordia University of Edmonton, where he teaches Canadian and world history. Chelsea Horton is a research consultant working with Indigenous communities in Canada. She completed her PhD in history at the University of British Columbia.

Contributors: Tasha Beeds, Jean-François Bélisle, Siphiwe Dube, Elizabeth Elbourne, Amanda Fehr, Carmen Lansdowne, Cecilia Morgan, Denise Nadeau, Timothy Pearson, and Nicole St-Onge

For more information contact
[email protected]

This is an outstanding collection. My perspective on the place of Christianity in the lives of Indigenous peoples was thoroughly reshaped by this book. The authors not only show how Indigenous people fashion and refashion power within themselves and among their communities but also cast new light on the larger transnational narrative of Indigenous-Christian encounters.

- Mark A. Nicholas, co-author of First Americans: A History of Native Peoples

[Mixed Blessings] is, of course, especially timely given the 2015 release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Final Report… Taken together, the diverse and engaging essays in the collection suggest that the role of Christianity in Indigenous life is both intricate and extremely variable.

- Sarah MacKenzie, Canadian Literature, 236

Indigenous studies needs more strong volumes like this one to further conversations about evolving societies and goals. Too many new works rely on old questions: did Indigenous peoples truly become Christians? Was Christianity better or worse for Indigenous societies? Volumes like this one remind us that by letting the subjects guide our questions instead of imposing our questions on our subject, better answers emerge.

- Carol L. Higham, Department of History, University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Canadian Journal of Native Studies

Mixed Blessing is a highly readable update on what is happening in the field of missionary interactions. It exposes the silences – the factual voids in our understanding of the complex Indigenous encounters with Christianity in Canada – and for that reason, I recommend the book to those interested in achieving reconciliation. - Dorothy Kennedy, BC Studies

Bradford and Horton present an interdisciplinary study that spans multiple centuries, allowing space for both historical and theological considerations of First Nations interactions with Christianity… Divided into three sections that focus on “community, individual, and contemporary sites of encounter” respectively (6), Mixed Blessings progresses from detached to increasingly personal analyses and also moves forward in chronology from investigations of the 18th century all the way through the present day. - Rachel R. Luckenbill, Southeastern University, Transmotion

This book offers something truly unique that Canadian historiography very much needs at the moment: a nuanced approach to Indigenous history which returns agency to First Nations sources and actors … I would very much like to see a second volume.

- Stephanie Pettigrew, Department of History, University of New Brunswick, American Review of Canadian Studies

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