Battle for the Soul: Métis Children Encounter evangelical Protestants at Mackinaw Mission, 1823-1837.

This deals mainly with a US phenomenon of attempted religious colonialism with relevance to Métis in Canada (Mackinaw Mission, 1823-37). It seems a good example of indoctrination requiring a degree of literacy devoid of independent thinking. An Anglo-Métis at Lake Leech in 1833 describes the house he built, with its old straw Hat, a violin with all its appendages; a small shelf upon which are the few books we possess…” etc. (p. 12). Unlike their Chippewa cousins, Métis children at times slept on beds off the ground, listened to their fathers read from books illuminated by candlelight, and danced to fiddle music. Under the same roof, they observed their fathers transact business with their Chippewa relatives and neighbors, who did not utilize amenities such as books and coffee mills…. Boys watched their fathers, some of whom were illiterate, keep records in ledgers of each transaction, often using symbols or pictures to identify each Chippewa customer’s account. Fathers recognized the advantage of written language as a tool to improve the operation of their businesses” (p. 13). Métis boys learned to speak French and/or English from their fathers and Chippewa from their mothers. Métis males could thus communicate with all members of the fur-trade society. Métis boys possessed skills that Chippewa youth did not. (p. 14).