By Ronald Niezen
Spirit Wars is an exploration of the ways that the destruction of non secular practices and ideology of local peoples in North the US has ended in stipulations of collective suffering--a technique occasionally often called cultural genocide. Ronald Niezen techniques this subject via wide-ranging case stories regarding diverse colonial powers and nation governments: the seventeenth-century Spanish profession of the Southwest, the colonization of the Northeast via the French and British, nineteenth-century westward growth and nationalism within the swelling usa and Canada, and twentieth-century struggles for local people's religious integrity and freedom. each one bankruptcy bargains with a particular size of the connection among local peoples and non-native associations, and jointly those issues yield a brand new figuring out of the forces directed opposed to the underpinnings of local cultures.
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James Axtell (1988, 106) finds that “in the midst of widespread epidemics, Catholic priests baptized hundreds of natives who lay at death’s door, after only a modicum of instruction and the most circumscribed assent of the stricken. ” One pattern of these epidemics, however, fostered more suspicion than acceptance of the missionaries: the “black robes” and their French allies did not suffer from them nearly as much as the Indians. With European childhood diseases this was particularly noticeable.
Although children were permitted to give evidence against their parents in English trials, contrary to procedures used for other offenses, confession was not commonly pursued through the use of torture. As Macfarlane (1970, 20) points out, indirect pressures, “sharp speeches,” threats of imprisonment and death, mounting suspicions of neighbors, and promises of clemency by clergy and justices were more responsible for confession of witchcraft than the imaginative and sadistic tortures used in inquisitorial proceedings in continental Europe.
The Conquest of Souls 31 Missionaries often undertook their work among the Indians at times when the loss of elders to disease compromised indigenous spiritual and healing traditions. At the same time, it was unusual for missionaries to live in communities that were not faced with continuing, almost overwhelming challenges to their health. Epidemics, loss of subsistence, war, and forced relocation were common backgrounds against which missionaries plied new religious ideas—and new strategies of healing.