image of the book cover of I Will Fear No Evil: Ojibwa-Missionary Encounters Along the Berens River, 1875-1940

"I Will Fear No Evil": Ojibwa-Missionary Encounters Along the Berens River, 1875-1940

Susan Elaine Gray

$29.95 CAD / $29.95 USD (S)

246 pages

6 x 9 inches

Hardback: 1552381986

Paperback: 978-1-55238-198-4

Library PDF: 978-1-55238-369-8

October 2006

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Winner of the Margaret McWilliams Award and Manitoba Day Award. A new perspective on encounters between missionaries and Ojibwa, blending research with conversations and interviews to examine philosophy-in-action

The history of Christian missions in Canada has traditionally been told only from the point of view of the missionaries, and not those they were attempting to convert. In I Will Fear No Evil, Susan Gray offers a new perspective on missionary-Indigenous encounters between the Berens River Ojibwa and Methodist and Catholic missionaries between 1875 and 1940.

Supplementing her historical research with conversations and interviews with Berens River elders, Gray explores the ways in which Christian beliefs have become incorporated into the traditional Ojibwa worldview. The Ojibwa were active participants in these missionary encounters. They accepted those missionaries who treated them with sensitivity and respect and integrated Christian beliefs and practices into their established belief system.

Today, a blend of Christian and Ojibwa ideas is still interwoven in the lives of Berens River residents, with both traditions holding meaning and sincerity. Their uniquely adaptive religion sheds new light on our understanding of cultural contact and conversion, placing the indigenous experience of these events at centre stage.

About the Author

Susan Elaine Gray is a Research Associate to the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Peoples in an Urban and Regional Context at the University of Winnipeg.

Praise for “I Will Fear No Evil”

Gray has written an important work that offers a deep understanding of native–missionary encounters and the Berens River Ojibwa. It also serves as a worthy guide for scholars researching American-Indian/First Nations history.

—John J. Laukaitis, History of Education Quarterly

The great strength of this book is that it presents post-contact Anishinabe philosophy-in-action as a cultural product in its own right – not as a hastily constructed bulwark against the deprivations of colonialism. Further, Gray casts off clichés about Native cultures, preferring to offer specific, meaningful assertions. 

—Catherine Murton Stoehr, The Canadian Historical Review 

Table of Contents

Foreword by the Very Reverend Dr. Stan McKay



1. Life Along the Berens River, 1875—1940

2. "Listen to the Memegwesiwag Singing"
The Ojibwa World View

3. "They Fought Just Like a Cat and a Dog!"
Catholic–Protestant Encounters on the Mission Field

4. "You’re Pretty Good; but I’ll Tell You What Medicine to Use"
Images and Map

5. "I Got Pretty Close to the Flames That Time; Then I Woke Up"

Acceptances and Rejections, 1917–1940

6. "I’ve Had My Dreams all These Years"

Survivals and Integrations

7."I Will Fear No Evil"



Cast of Characters



WINNER, MHS Margaret McWilliams Award - Scholarly History | 2006

WINNER, AMA Manitoba Day Award | 2006