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History 114

Black Robe

Black Robe- Journal Entry #

Readings:  Lepore, chapter 4 “Furs, Rivers, and Black Robes:  French Arrival” Kicza, ch. 5 “Native Response to Settlement in the East and Southwest in North America”

The film “Black Robe” tells a set of stories about the first contacts between French-speaking Jesuit missionaries and the Hurons, Algonquins, and the Iroquis in what is now Quebec, Canada in the 1630’s.  Among the issues that it raises are: 
  • Contact, clash of civilizations and colonialism;
  • Religion and the “spiritual conquest”;
  • Guns, Germs& Steel;
  • Commercial exchange and the “marketization” of Native economies


Cast of characters:

Father Laforgue                                   Ougebmat
Daniel (Father Laforgue’s aid)                       Neehatin
Annuka (young woman [Chomina’s daughter]) Awondoie
Chomina                                            Oujita
Father Jerome                                             Mestigoit (Montagnai sorcerer)
The Algonquin (who take Father Laforgue to the Huron Mission)
The Iroquois Confederacy:  Mohawks, Oneida, Onandaga, Cauyga, Seneca

Questions to carefully consider in the context of your readings.  Be expansive!  Relate to your readings in Lepore and Kicza in each case.

1)  Tell me about the ways that the everyday world of the Hurons, Algonquins, and the Iroquois is portrayed in the film and how this compares to your readings.  Include their adaptations to their surroundings, their worldviews…



















2)  Discuss, in detail, the commercial exchanges between the French fur trappers and the natives of the area.  What changes do these commercial contacts bring about for the Huron, Algonquin, and the Iroquois?















3)  Discuss the issue of technology and its consequences for the Huron, Algonquin, and the Iroquois.
















4)  Discuss the ways each “side” views “the other”.  What are some consequences of that?












5)  This film, like “The Mission”, also deals with the issue of “civilization vs. barbarism”.  Discuss.

















6)  Discuss the complexities of the process of religious conversion here.

















7) How do these missions compare to the French Jesuit Missions described in your Lepore reader?










8)  Compare and contrast these Jesuit missions and those we discussed in the film “The Mission” set in Paraguay.



















9)  Discuss any other important issue that the film raises that I did not ask you about.

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