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1) This last has to do with Annuka’s proclivity, fair and unmarried maiden though she is, to copulate voraciously with whatever male she happens to find convenient when the urge strikes. More shocking, she obviously prefers to do it in the dirt, on all fours, in what is colloquially referred to as “dog style” (like a dog, get it?). Well, if perchance viewers were too startled by such carnality to fully appreciate its significance the first time around, the director includes a second iteration. And, for those who are really slow to catch on, a third. The only deviation from such canine behavior is to be found in yet a fourth sex scene, when Annuka, Pocahontas-like, falls in love with Daniel. La Forge’s young French interpreter. In the best civilizing fashion (albeit still in the dirt, as befits a sin of the flesh), he teaches her the meaning of “the missionary position,” still morally—and in some places, legally—defined as the only “unperverted” sexual posture in the United States, Canada, and Beresford’s Australian homeland. (Ward Churchill 128-29)

2) Maguire and Father LaForgue have one thing in common: they each want to “help” the Indians, one by saving their land and the other by saving their souls. They are both do-gooders who fail in their missions, feel guilty about things that are and are not within their control, and misunderstand the people they are trying to help. (Jacquelyn Kilpatrick 139)

3) The only time Annuka is shown in the position that so offends Churchill comes later in the film, when she seduces her Mohawk captor. Here, Churchill seems to overlook her motivation: she invites the guard to intercourse not out of lust but as a ploy to engineer the prisoners’ escape; crouching on her hands and knees enables her to grab a heavy object and strike the Mohawk by surprise, an act that would be much harder if not impossible were she on her back. (Kristof Haavik 99)

4) Best of all is the film’s evenhanded depiction of the baffling otherness of both native and French cultures. Neither culture is morally privileged; each is presented to the viewer in its undiluted strangeness, as it was to the other in 1634. (James Axtell 78)

5) Beresford’s sexual depictions had nothing to do with “historical accuracy” and everything to do with affirming a cluster of long-established and patently racist fantasies projected by white men onto “Othered” women the world over. (Ward Churchill 124)

6) To impose on the narratives the Jesuits wrote of their own lives Laforgue’s contemptible timidity, sexual panic, and lack of faith is not to take a novelist’s freedom to create a different kind of story with its own laws and its own authenticity. Rather, Black Robe attempts to devalue and mock the Jesuit stories, by almost slavishly imitating their account of the externals of circumstance and action while also denigrating the qualities of mind and spirit of those long dead priests to whom, after all, the experiences narrated in the Relations belong. (Jeanne A. Flood 52)

7) Black Robe could have tried to ennoble Christianity by having its most important Indian character undergo a deathbed conversion, reducing Native spiritual beliefs to silly superstitions he finally rose above, and producing a feel-good scene. . . . Instead, Chomina’s refusal is shown as an act of self-affirmation, almost Sartrean in its insistence on remaining true to oneself. (Kristof Haavik 108)

8) As [Caryn] James sums up, her own infatuation with Black Robe derives precisely from its accomplishment, through the most popular of all media, of the most desirable objective assigned to "responsible" historiography in contemporary North American society: Spin Control. In effect, Beresford successfully rationalizes the past in such a way as to let her, and everyone like her, off the hook: "[He] criticizes cultural imperialism," she says with evident satisfaction, "without creating villains." James’s smug accolade is, to be sure, partly true. But it is at least equally false. What she really means is that Black Robe contains no white villains, and that this is what counts in her ever so “balanced” scheme of things. The handling of the indigenous victims of Europe’s “cultural imperialism” is another matter entirely. (Ward Churchill 124)

9) The similarities between Haavik’s argument in defense of Beresford and Black Robe and that employed by Professor/President Wilson on behalf of Griffith and Birth of a Nation are striking. (Ward Churchill 125)

10) It is argued here that the European perception of what are good Indians and bad Indians is directly related to the perception to what degree these people might be an actual danger to European rule, to their purposes and way of life. (Paula Mota Santos)

11) I will not reveal the conclusion of the film, other than to say that when it was over, I sat there in a state of depressed suspension, wondering if that could possibly be all there was. Matters were not helped by the words that appeared on the screen at the end, telling us what happened during the years to follow. It was as if the entire story of “Black Robe” was a prelude to nothing. (Roger Ebert)

12) Pevere sees Black Robe as a film that “exploits and assuages contemporary guilt by making damned sure not only that we know that what is about to happen is and was wrong, but by making equally sure that its central character knows the same thing. From the moment we see LaForgue, he is clearly bearing the weight of all our rear-projected knowledge and pain. Etched in Bluteau’s drawn face and watery dark eyes is the backward-flung knowledge of impending and ineluctable cultural atrocity. And he, as befits our moral ambassador in history, feels bad about it already.” (Jacquelyn Kilpatrick 139)

13) [Annuka’s seduction of the guard] proves not her immorality but her resourcefulness, to which all the prisoners, Indians and Frenchmen alike, owe their lives. If it contains a message, it is not that Indians need the morality of Christians but rather that Christians need the problem-solving skills of Indians. It is the Indian characters’ ability to overcome obstacles that sets them apart from the Europeans throughout the movie: Laforgue gets lost in the forest while his guides are at home in it; Chomina skillfully shoots wild birds on the wing while Daniel watches in awe. Annuka’s seduction of the guard is one more example of how resourceful the film’s Indians are, strikingly more so than the Europeans. (Kristof Haavik 99)

14) Moore—who adopted Black Robe’s script from his own novel -- complained in a Maclean’s interview that Montreal actor Lothaire Bluteau was too “unsympathetic” in the lead role as a young French Jesuit missionary in the New World. (Brian D. Johnson 72)

15) If there is a distinction to be drawn between the nazis’ anti-Semitic cinema and the handling of indigenous subject matters in contemporary North America, it is that the former were designed to psychologically prepare an entire populace to accept a genocide which was even then on the verge of occurring. The latter is pitched more to rationalizing and redeeming a process of conquest and genocide which has already transpired. (Ward Churchill 130)

16) The native Americans portrayed have what is denominated a non-production economic system: they are hunter-gatherers. Hunter-gatherers have a high degree of mobility when compared to agriculturalists (even early ones). The subsistence strategy is dominated by mobility: mobility to move from region to region according to the seasonality of their resources. And it was precisely this degree of mobility that fooled Europeans. To European eyes these people had no territory of their own: they were wanderers, people who never invested in proper houses, villages, towns, fields, etc.: people who never actually took possession of the land where they lived. (Paula Mota Santos 188)

17) As Johnson pointed out, “The movie’s most obvious shortcoming is that LaForgue’s spiritual torment—which serves as the backbone of the book—is almost invisible. In the novel, he suffers such agonizing lapses of faith that his mission seems absurd; in the movie, his faith is unshakable and the irony is lost.” (Jacquelyn Kilpatrick 139)

18) The most remarkable fact about the depiction of ritual violence in Black Robe is that it ultimately defends its villains. Chomina, who has just seen his son murdered by the Iroquois, nonetheless rejects Daniel’s statement that “the Iroquois are not men. They are animals,” by answering, “They are the same as us.” The us in question is never defined and may refer to Chomina’s Algonquian, who would do the same thing to the Iroquois they captured or to the French, who were carving out an empire in North America at the time. In its terse simplicity, it seems best understood as meaning all human beings, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or any other factors: people are people, period. Such a statement by the character who has the greatest reason to hate his captors goes much further than pious moralizing to assert the equality of all people, amounting to a defense not only of the Mohawks’ brutality but also of their entire culture. (Kristof Haavik 102)

19) The very crux of the problem in Black Robe is that people with good intentions do harm. It is the very subtlety of their attitude, full of goodwill but colored by self-righteous cultural arrogance, that makes the story into a tragedy. (Kristof Haavik 110)

20) The white people in the film are supposed to be French, although they speak in English, and the Natives speak their own languages, which are subtitled. So why would the Indians need to speak in Tonto-talk? They, like their Hollywood brethren, seem to be infested with the bug that takes away the use of pronouns, which in film generally indicates a lower mental capacity. (Jacquelyn Kilpatrick 140)

21) Annuka’s relationship with Daniel seems intended to condemn not animal lust of Native Americans but rather sexual inhibitions of white men. Contrary to Churchill’s claims, she is not inclined to fornicate with any and every male. Other than in her seduction of the Mohawk captor she has sex only with Daniel. . . . If Black Robe makes a judgment of sexual mores, it is those of Christians or Europeans, not of Indians, that are criticized. (Kristof Haavik 99)

22) Black Robe carefully shows that white people’s condescending beliefs about Native culture are illusions, as false as the gods and demons they discount, starting with the opening credits. The very first shot shows sea monsters on the map used as a background, indicating how little Europeans of the time understood about the broader world. From this moment forward, the film presents the falsehood of European beliefs, the humanity of Indians, the inherent value of their civilization, and the catastrophic results of tampering with it, no matter how generous the intentions. A straight line of ignorance and condescension leads from the sea serpent of the first frame to the destruction of the Huron described in the last. (Kristof Haavik 114-15)

23) [Black Robe] is no northern Dances with Wolves; this is, in essence, a religious debate. (Christine Dunphy D18)

24) Brian Johnson summed up the differences between the two Canadian films of 1991 very well: “Black Robe is a dignified spectacle, visually stunning yet strangely lacking in consequence. Clearcut suffers from an overkill of consequence.” (Jacquelyn Kilpatrick 141)

25) More important, however, is what [the film] tells about Christian missionaries among the Indians. Here more than anywhere else, Churchill seems to miss the fundamental point the film is making. The priests’ repeated use of derogatory terms like “savages,” “poor barbarians,” and “these savage people who will never look upon your face in paradise” to describe Native Americans shows not the alleged primitive nature of Indians but the arrogance of Europeans. Clearly these words were placed in the script to show the extreme narrow-minded prejudice of the Jesuit missionaries. (Kristof Haavik 108-9)

26) This is a text totally without reflexivity or irony. As a vision of the traditional clash of cultures in times past, Black Robe is still pegged to the structures of old, to the stereotypes which inhabit the diegetic world of the western. Indeed, it operated as a classic text of the western genre: lone stranger arrives in isolated community, sets its troubles right, then moves on. (Jane Freebury 122)

27) Native warriors had difficulty appreciating French priests, who wore feminine robes, carried no weapons, and showed no interest in women, beaver skins, or hunting. Unlike Counter-Reformation Catholicism, native religion was inclusive and tolerant, adding new deities and rituals to old as hedges against the growing uncertainties of life. (James Axtell 80)

28) [The Iroquois] would never have gratuitously killed a young prisoner who could have been adopted into a family to replace a fallen kinsman. Nor would a guard have attempted to have sex with a female prisoner. A strict taboo applied to war prisoners in general throughout the native East, but the Iroquois in particular eschewed sex with future adopted kinswomen. The filmmakers also have no documentary grounds for depicting two incidents of Indian-Indian sex in the animal position. Finally, no Iroquois guard was ever posted in a scaffold tower in the cold dead of a winter night. Sensibly, native war parties stayed home in winter. (James Axtell 81)

29) There is also a scene in which the Indians sit in hushed silence waiting for “Captain Clock” to chime. While a clock would certainly have been an impressive novelty for Natives of the sixteenth century, the film’s depiction of them as wide-eyed innocents waiting for the “god” to make a noise isn’t meant to elevate the audience’s view of their intelligence. The scene makes it easy to forget that these are people who were master navigators, who mastered multiple languages, and who used muskets in other parts of the film. (Jacquelyn Kilpatrick 140-41)

30) Churchill also sees the film’s depiction of Native American religion as demeaning. He argues that the character Mestigoit, a midget sorcerer, is an ugly caricature. . . . Here too Black Robe follows historical documents: sources contain not only the name Mestigoit but also references to a Native sorcerer who “howled, whooped, rattled a tortoise-shell at his ear to expel the evil spirit” as the movie’s sorcerer does at Laforgue, even “a dwarfish, humpbacked” magician who claimed to be “not a man but an oki,--a spirit, or as the priests rendered it, a demon,--and had dwelt with other okies under the earth,” exactly as Mestigoit claims in the film. (Kristof Haavik 106)

31) In an era of Columbus bashing, [Black Robe] criticizes cultural imperialism without creating villains; it is as politically correct as “Dances with Wolves,” but its hero does not experience a simple-minded conversion to Indian ways, as if he had been bumped on the head. There is much wrongheaded behavior in “Black Robe,” but no evil intentions, which makes the cultural tug of war it depicts sadder and more lucid than it usually is on screen. (Caryn James 24)

32) The Indians call the Jesuits Blackrobes, and the film begins brilliantly with a widescreen shot of blackness that begins to move and proves to be Laforgue’s cloak seen from the back. What better visual metaphor for ambiguity? (John Simon 48)

33) The choice to set the action of the film (and novel) among these tribes, however, instead of any of the many other possible settings, suggests a metaphoric value to this plague: Christianity goes hand in hand with destruction, and those who accept the new faith are the first to be destroyed. Not only does conversion fail to cure the Huron of their sickness, as Laforgue warns them before administering baptism, but also it is explicitly linked to their annihilation by the non-Christian Iroquois. Black Robe does not defend Christian missionaries; rather, it shows them as the causes of the suffering and destruction of Indians. They, not the bloodthirsty Iroquois, are ultimately responsible for the downfall of the Huron. (Kristof Haavik 110)

34) [Caryn] James, for example, is unequivocal in her contention that Black Robe stands as a useful and necessary counterbalance against what she describes as a wave of “Columbus bashing” –by which she means the assignment of some degree of tangible responsibility to Europeans and Euroamericans for their conduct during the conquest and colonization of the Americas over the past five centuries—currently sweeping the continent. The primary strength of Beresford’s exposition, she argues, is that it presents an interpretation of early European colonialist thinking and behavior that embodies “no evil intentions.” While one is free to disagree with or regret it in retrospect, one is compelled to acknowledge that, because they were “sincere,” the colonists “must be respected for [their] motives” in perpetrating genocide, both cultural and physical, against American Indians. Left conspicuously unmentioned in such formulations, of course, is the proposition that with only a minor shift in the frame-of-reference the same “logic” might be applied with equal validity to the Nazis and their implementation of Lebensraupolitik during the 1940s. (Ward Churchill 121)

35) Actually, [Bruce] Beresford softened portions of his characterization of the Mohawks in the interest of not driving away even moderately squeamish viewers. In Moore’s original novel—a book the director and several of Black Robe’s producers found to be so “beautiful” that it simply had to be made into a movie—the body of the child is hacked up, boiled, and eaten while his family is forced to watch. Even in its revised form, however, the matter is very far from the sort of “anthropological” accuracy, distance, and integrity attributed to it by most reviewers. It is, for starters, well established in even the most arcane anthropological sources that Iroquois village life was controlled, not by young men, but by elder women—who fail to appear anywhere in the film—known as Clan Mothers. The latitude of the women’s decision-making included the disposition of captives, a circumstance which led invariably to children being adopted and raised as Mohawks rather than gratuitously slaughtered. By and large, the same rule would have applied to a young woman such as Annuka; she would have been mated to a Mohawk man, perhaps an unkind fate in the estimation of some, but certainly a substantially different fate than being dismembered and burned alive. In a project as exhaustively researched as Beresford’s, it is unlikely to the point of impossibility that “errors” of such magnitude were unintentional. Hence, it is difficult to conclude that the extent to which the Mohawks were misrepresented, and the nature of that misrepresentation, were anything other than a deliberate exercise in vilification. (Ward Churchill 126)

36) 9. Was Le Jeune himself as conscious of his own ethnocentrism and sense of cultural superiority? Yes, since he often called attention to it in comparisons favourable to the Savages. But one should not be surprised that he believed in objective superiority and inferiority. His seventeenth century was an age of intellectual intolerance, of growing nationalism and war, but also of great religious conviction and new expressions of Christian charity in action, if development in arts and sciences. Le Jeune was proud of its achievements. He was making first contact with peoples still living, technologically, in the stone age, extremely small nations without writing or printing, unlike even the ancient Chinese, Greeks and Romans. He found among them no authors, painters, musicians, architects, and little in other arts and crafts to compare with what he had known in France and Europe. In particular, they had no sacred printed documents like the Bible, God’s Word handed down over thousands of years through the Jewish people and the Church. In 1634, he certainly displayed an attitude of European superiority in his judgments regarding Indian material arts, economics, education, and religion, as well as in certain moral traits. (Charles Principe 39)

37) Now the following is, it seems to me, the way in which to acquire an ascendancy over our Savages. First, to check the progress of those who overthrow Religion, and to make ourselves feared by the Iroquois, who have killed some of our men, as every one knows, and who recently massacred two hundred Hurons, and took more than a hundred prisoners. This is, in my opinion, the only door through which we can escape the contempt into which the negligence of those who have heretofore held the trade of this country has thrown us, through their avarice. (Paul le Jeune 143)

38) Now the following is, it seems to me, the way in which to acquire an ascendancy over our Savages. . . . The second means of commending ourselves to the Savages, to induce them to receive our holy faith, would be to send a number of capable men to clear and cultivate the land, who, joining themselves with others who know the language, would work for the Savages, on condition that they would settle down, and themselves put their hands to the work, living in houses that would be built for their use; by this means becoming located, and seeing this miracle of charity in their behalf, they could be more easily instructed and won. While conversing this Winter with my Savages, I communicated to them this plan, assuring them that when I knew their language perfectly, I would help them cultivate the land if I could have some men, and if they wished to stop roving,—representing to them the wretchedness of their present way of living, and influencing them very perceptibly, for the time being The Sorcerer, having heard me, turned toward his people and said, "See how boldly this black robe lies in our presence." I asked him why he thought I was lying." Because," said he, "we never see in this world men so good as thou sayest, who would take the trouble to help us without hope of reward, and to employ so many men to aid us without taking anything from us; if thou shouldst do that," he added, "thou wouldst secure the greater part of the Savages, and they would all believe in thy words." (Paul le Jeune 143, 144-45)

39) Now the following is, it seems to me, the way in which to acquire an ascendancy over our Savages. . . . The third means of making ourselves welcome to these people, would be to erect here a seminary for little boys, and in time one for girls, under the direction of some brave mistress, whom zeal for the glory of God, and a desire for the salvation of these people, will bring over here, with a few Companions animated by the same courage. . . . I would like to keep here, where we are, the children of the Hurons. Father Brebœuf leads us to hope that we shall have some, if he goes with our Fathers into those well-peopled countries, and if there is anything with which to found a seminary. The reason why I would not like to take the children of one locality [and teach them] in that locality itself, but rather in some other place, is because these Barbarians cannot bear to have their children punished, nor even scolded, not being able to refuse anything to a crying child. They carry this to such an extent that upon the slightest pretext they would take them away before they were educated. But if the little Hurons, or the children of more distant tribes, are kept here, a great many advantages will result, for we would not be annoyed and distracted by the fathers while instructing the children; it will also compel these people to show good treatment to the French who are in their country, or at least not to do them any injury. And, lastly, we shall obtain, by the grace of God our Lord, the object for which we came into this distant country; namely, the conversion of these nations. (Paul le Jeune 143, 152-53)

40) Here is the sixth victim whom God has taken to himself from those of our Society whom he had called to this Mission of the Hurons. . . . These Christians, escaped from the peril, arrived at the Tobacco Nation, and reported that the Father [Noel Chabanel] had gone some little way with them, intending to follow them; but that, becoming exhausted, he had fallen on his knees, saying to them, "It matters not that I die; this life is a very small consideration; of the blessedness of Paradise, the Iroquois can never rob me." At daybreak, the Father, having altered his route, desirous of coming to the Island where we were, found himself checked at the bank of a river, which crossed his path. A Huron reported the circumstance, adding that he had passed him, in his canoe, on this side of the stream; and that, to render his flight more easy, the Father had disburdened him self of his hat, and of a bag that contained his writings; also of a blanket, which our Missionaries use as robe and cloak, as mattress and cushion, for a beds and for every other convenience,—even for a dwelling-place, when in the open country, and when they have, for the time, no other shelter. Since then, we have been unable to learn any other news of the Father. (Paul Ragueneau 145, 147-48)

41) Father Noel Chabanel had come to us from the Province of Toulouse, in the year 1643, having been received into our Society as early as the year 1630, when he was only seventeen years of age. God had given him a strong vocation for these countries; but once here, he had much to contend with; for, even after three, four, and five years of effort to learn the language of the Savages, he found his progress so slight, that hardly could he make himself understood even in the most ordinary matters. This was no little mortification to a man who burned with desire for the conversion of the Savages, who in other ways was deficient neither in memory nor mind, and who had made this manifest enough by having for some years successfully taught Rhetoric in France. In consequence of this, the temper of his mind was so opposed to the ways and manners of the Savages, that he saw in them scarce anything that pleased him; the sight of them, their talk, and all that concerned them, he found irksome. He could not accustom himself to the food of the Country; and residence in the Missions did such violence to his entire nature that he encountered the extraordinary hardships, without any consolation,—at least, of the character that we call sensible. There, one must always sleep on the bare ground, and live from morning to night in a little hell of smoke; in a place where often, of a morning, one finds himself covered with the snows that drift on all sides into the cabins of the Savages; where vermin abound; where the senses, each and all, are tormented both night and day. One never has anything but water to quench his thirst; while the best food usually eaten there is only a paste made with meal of Indian corn boiled in water. One must work there incessantly, though always so poorly nourished; never have one moment in the day in which to retire to any spot that is not public; have no other room, no other apartment, no other closet, in which to prosecute his studies. One has not even any other light than that of a smoky fire,—surrounded, at the same time, by ten or fifteen persons, and children of all ages, who scream, weep, and wrangle; who are busied about their cooking, their meals, their work, about everything, in a word, that is done in a house. (Paul Ragueneau 150-51)

42) [Speaking of the life of Noel Chabanel] When God, besides all this, withdraws his sensible graces, and hides himself from a person who longs only for him,—when he leaves him a prey to sorrow, to disgusts, and repugnances of Nature,—these are trials that are not within the compass of ordinary virtue; and the love of God must be strong in a heart, if it is not to be stifled by them. Join to these the continual sight of dangers, in which one finds himself at every moment, of attack by a savage Enemy who often will subject you to the sufferings of a thousand deaths, ere death itself ensues; who uses only fire, and flames, and unheard of cruelties. Doubtless a courage is needed worthy of thy children of God, if one is not to lose heart in the midst of such abandonment. It has been in this abandonment that God has willed to put to the test, for five or six years, the fidelity of this good Father; but assuredly the Devil never having got the better of him upon that account, although he represented to him every day that, by returning to France, he would find there the joy, repose, and comfort which during all his past life he had received; that there he would not lack employment better suited to his disposition, employment in which so many Saintly souls nobly practice the virtue of Charity in a zeal for Souls, and expend their lives for the salvation of their fellow-men. (Paul Ragueneau 152-53)

43) Never, for all that, would he [Noel Chabanel] break away from the Cross on which God had placed him; never did he ask that he might come down from it. On the contrary, in order to bind himself to it more inviolably, he obliged himself, by a vow, to remain there till death, so that he might die upon the Cross. These are the terms of the vow, as he conceived it, and its very words: "Jesus Christ, my Savior, who by a wonderful dispensation of your Paternal Providence have willed that I, though altogether unworthy, should be a Coadjutor of the Holy Apostles in this vineyard of the Hurons; impelled by the desire of ministering to the purpose which your holy Spirit hath respecting me, that I should help forward the conversion to the faith of the barbarians of this Huron country: I, Noel Chabanel,—being in the presence of the most holy Sacrament of your Body and your precious Blood, which is the tabernacle of God among men,—make a vow of perpetual stability in this Mission of the Hurons; understanding all things as the Superiors of the Society expound them, and as they choose to dispose of me. I conjure you, therefore, O my Savior, to be pleased to receive me as a perpetual servant of this Mission, and to make me worthy of so lofty a ministry. Amen." (Paul Ragueneau 154-55)

44) The last time that he [Noel Chabanel] parted from us, to go to the Mission where he died,—embracing and bidding the last farewell to that one of our Fathers who was charged with the direction of his soul,—he said to him: "My dear Father, may it be for good and all, this time, that I give myself to God; and may I belong to him." But he uttered these words with so strong an emphasis, and a countenance so bent upon true sanctity, as sensibly to affect the Father to whom he was speaking, and who, chancing at that very hour to meet one of his friends, could not refrain from saying to him: "Verily, I have just been deeply moved! That good Father has but now spoken to me with the look and voice of a victim who immolates himself. I know not what God wills, but I see that he is fashioning a great Saint." In truth, God was preparing him for the sacrifice, and affording him some kind of presentiment of it. He had said to one of his friends: "I do not know what is working within me, or what God wills to do with me; but, in one respect, I feel entirely changed. I am naturally very timorous; but, now that I am going to a most dangerous post, and, as it seems to me, death is not very far away, I no longer feel any fear. This frame of mind springs not from myself." (Paul Ragueneau 157-58)

45) When he [Noel Chabanel] set out from the Mission of saint Mathias, on the very day of his death, he said, speaking to the Father, who was embracing him: "I am going whither obedience calls me; but whether I shall succeed or not in obtaining from the Superior that he send me back to the Mission that was allotted to me, God must be served until death." We shall see in the following letter,—which he wrote to the Reverend Father Pierre Chabanel, his brother Religious of our Society,—his appreciation of suffering. "Judging from human appearances," said he, "Your Reverence has been very near to possessing a brother a Martyr; but alas! in the mind of God, to merit the honor of Martyrdom, a virtue of another stamp than mine is needed. The Reverend Father Gabriel Lallemant, one of the three whom our Relation mentions as having suffered for Jesus Christ, had taken, for a month before his death, my place in the village of saint Louys,—while I, as being more robust of body, was sent upon a Mission more remote and more laborious, but not so fruitful in Palms and Crowns as that of which my cowardice has, in the sight of God, rendered me unworthy. It will be when it shall please the divine Goodness, provided that I strive to realize, in my person, Martyrem in umbrâ et Martyrium sine sanguine. The ravages of the Iroquois throughout this country will perhaps some day, supply what is wanting, through the merits of those many Saints with whom I have the consolation of leading so peaceful an existence in the midst of such turmoil, and continual danger to life. The Relation will dispense me from adding anything else at present, as I have neither paper nor leisure, save so much as are needed to entreat Your Reverence, and all our Fathers of your Province, to remember me at the holy Altar as a victim doomed, it may be, to the fires of the Iroquois. Ut mereat tot Sanctorum patrocinio victoriam in tam forti certamine." These are his words, worthy of a man who was only awaiting the moment of the sacrifice. (Paul Ragueneau 158-60)

46) A Frenchman named René Goupil, whose death is precious before God, being no longer sustained by those who followed him, was surrounded and captured, along with some of the most courageous Hurons. I [Isaac Jogues] was watching this disaster," says the Father, "from a place very favorable for concealing me from the sight of the enemy, being able to hide myself in thickets and among very tall and dense reeds; but this thought could never enter my mind. 'Could I, indeed,' I said to myself, 'abandon our French and leave those good Neophytes and those poor Catechumens, without giving them the help which the Church of my God has entrusted to me?' Flight seemed horrible to me; 'It must be,' I said in my heart, 'that my body suffer the fire of earth, in order to deliver these poor souls from the flames of Hell; it must die a transient death, in order to procure for them an eternal life.' My conclusion being reached without great opposition from my feelings, I call the one of the Hiroquois who had remained to guard the prisoners. This man, having perceived me dared not approach me, fearing some ambush. 'Come on,' I say to him; 'be not afraid: lead me to the presence of the Frenchman and the Hurons whom you hold captive.' He advances and, having seized me, puts me in the number of those whom the world calls miserable. I tenderly embraced the Frenchman. and said to him: 'My dear brothers God treats us in a strange manner, but he is the master, and he has done what has seemed best in his sight; he has followed his good pleasure. May his holy Name be blessed forever.' This good young man at once made his confession; having given him absolution, I approach the Hurons, and instruct and baptize them; and, as at every moment those who were pursuing the fugitives brought back some of them, I heard these in confession, making Christians those who were not so. (Jerome Lalemant 22-23)

47) The four other Hiroquois fell upon him with a rage of Lions, or rather of Demons. Having stripped him bare as the hand, they bruised him with heavy blows of clubs, and tore out his finger-nails with their teeth,—crushing the bleeding ends, in order to cause him more pain. In short, they pierced one of his hands with a javelin, and led him, tied and bound in this sad plight, to the place where we were. Having recognized him, I [Isaac Jogues] escape from my guards, and fall upon his neck. 'Courage,' I say to him, 'my dear brother and friend; offer your pains and anguish to God, in behalf of those very persons who torment you. Let us not draw back; let us suffer courageously for his holy name; we have intended only his glory in this journey.' The Hiroquois, seeing us in these endearments, at first remained quite bewildered, looking at us without saying a word; then, all at once,—imagining, perhaps, that I was applauding that young man because he had killed one of their Captains,—they fell upon me with a mad fury, they belabored me with thrusts, and with blows from sticks and war-clubs, flinging me to the ground, half dead. When I began to breathe again, those who had not struck me, approaching, violently tore out my finger-nails; and then biting, one after another, the ends of my two forefingers, destitute of their nails caused me the sharpest pain, grinding and crushing them as if between two stones, even to the extent of causing splinters or little bones to protrude. (Jerome Lalemant 25-26)

48) So there we [Isaac Jogues] were, on the way to be led into a country truly foreign. Our Lord favored us with his Cross. It is true that, during thirteen days that we spent on that journey, I suffered in the body torments almost unendurable, and, in the soul, mortal anguish; hunger, the fiercely burning heat, the threats and hatred of those Leopards, the pain of our wounds,—which, for not being dressed, became putrid even to the extent of breeding Worms,—caused us, in truth, much distress. But all these things seemed light to me in Comparison with an inward sadness which I felt at the sight of our earliest and most ardent Christians of the Hurons I had thought that they were to be the pillars of that [young?] Church, and I saw them become the victims of death. The ways closed for a long time to the salvation of so many peoples, who perish every day for want of being succored, made me die every hour, in the depth of my soul. It is a very hard thing, or rather very cruel, to see the triumph of the Demons over whole nations redeemed with so much love, and paid for in the money of a blood so adorable. (Jerome Lalemant 28-29)

49) It is a belief among those Barbarians that those who go to war are the more fortunate in proportion as they are cruel toward their enemies; I [Isaac Jogues] assure you that they made us thoroughly feel the force of that wretched belief. Accordingly, having perceived us, they first thanked the Sun for having caused us to fall into the hands of their Fellow-countrymen; they next fired a salute with a volley of arquebus shots, by way of congratulation for their victory. That done, they set up a stage on a hill; then, entering the woods, they seek sticks or thorns, according to their fancy. Being thus armed, they form in line,—a hundred on one side, and a hundred on the other,—and make us pass, all naked, along that way of fury and anguish; there is rivalry among them to discharge upon us the most and the heaviest blows; they made me march last, that I might be more exposed to their rage. I had not accomplished the half of this course when I fell to the earth under the weight; of that hail and of those redoubled blows. I did not strive to rise again,—partly because of my weakness, partly because I was accepting that place for my sepulchre. Quam diu multúmque in me sævitum est, ille scit pro cujus amore et gloria hæc pati, et jucundum et gloriosum est; tandem crudeli misericordia commoti, volentes me vivum in suam terram deducere, a verberando cessarurt." These are the very words of the Father, who has described in Latin a part of his labors. " Seeing me prostrate they rush upon me; God alone knows for how long a time and how many were the blows that were dealt on my body; but the sufferings undertaken for his love and his glory are filled with joy and honor. Seeing, then, that I had not fallen by accident, and that I did not rise again for being too near death, they entered upon a cruel compassion; their rage was not yet glutted, and they wished to conduct one alive into their own country; accordingly, they Embrace me, and carry me all bleeding upon the stage they have prepared. When I am restored to my senses, they make me come down, and offer me a thousand and one insults, making me the sport and object of their reviling; they begin their assaults aver again, dealing upon my head and neck, and all any body, another hailstorm of blows. I would be too tedious if I should set down in writing all the rigor of my sufferings. They burned one of my fingers, and crushed another with their teeth, and those which were already torn, they squeezed and twisted with a rage of Demons; they scratched my wounds with their nails; and, when strength failed me, they applied fire to my arm and thighs. (Jerome Lalemant 30-31)

50) After they had glutted their cruelty, they led us [Isaac Jogues] in triumph into that first village; all the youth were outside the gates, arranged in line,—armed with sticks, and some with iron rods, which they easily secure on account of their vicinity to the Dutch. Casting our eyes upon these weapons of passion, we remembered what saint Augustin says, that those who turn aside from the scourges of God, turn aside from the number of his children; on that account, we offered ourselves with great courage to his fatherly goodness, in order to be victims sacrificed to his good pleasure and to his anger, lovingly zealous for the salvation of these peoples. Here follows the order which was observed at that funereal and pompous entry. They made one Frenchman march at the head, and another in the middle of the Hurons, and me the very last. We were following one another at an equal distance; and, that our executioners might have more leisure to beat us at their ease, some Hiroquois thrust themselves into our ranks in order to prevent us from running and from avoiding any blows. The procession beginning to enter this narrow way of Paradise, a scuffling was heard on all sides; it was indeed then that I could say with my Lord and master, Supra dorsum meum fabricaverunt peccatores,—'Sinners have built and left monuments and marks of their rage upon my back.' I was naked to my shirt, like a poor criminal; the others were wholly naked, except poor René Goupil, to whom they did the same favor as to me. The more slowly the procession marched in a very long road, the more blows we received. One was dealt above my loins, with the pommel of a javelin, or with an iron knob the size of one's fist, which shook my whole body and took away my breath. Such was our entrance into that Babylon. (Jerome Lalemant 38-39)

51) Others, meanwhile drawing their knives and approaching us, treated me [Isaac Jogues] as a Captain,—that is to say, with more fury than the rest. The deference of the French, and the respect which the Hurons showed me, caused me this advantage. And old man takes my left hand and commands a captive Algonquin woman to cut one of my fingers; she turns away three or four times, unable to resolve upon this cruelty; finally, she has to obey, and cuts the thumb from my left hand; the same caresses are extended to the other prisoners. This poor woman having thrown my thumb on the stage, I picked it up and offered it to you, O my God! Remembering the sacrifices that I had presented to you for seven years past, upon the Altars of your Church, I accepted this torture as a loving vengeance for the want of love and respect that I had shown, concerning your Holy Body; you heard the cries of my soul. One of my two French companions, having perceived me, told me that, if those Barbarians saw me keep my thumb, they would make me eat it and swallow it all raw; and that, therefore, I should throw it away somewhere. I obey him instantly. They used a scallop or an oyster-shell for cutting off the right thumb of the other Frenchman, so as to cause him more pain. The blood flowing from our wounds in so great abundance that we were likely to fall in a swoon, a Hiroquois—tearing off a little end of my shirt, which alone had been left to me—bound them up for us; and that was all the dressing and all the medical treatment applied to them. (Jerome Lalemant 42-43)

52) Evening having come, they made us descend, in order to be taken into the cabins as the sport of the children. They gave us for food a very little Indian corn, simply boiled in water; then they made us lie down on pieces of bark, binding us by the arms and the feet to four stakes fastened in the ground in the shape of saint Andrew's Cross. The children, in order to learn the cruelty of their parents, threw coals and burning cinders on our stomachs,—taking pleasure in seeing us broil and roast. Oh, my God, what nights! To remain always in an extremely constrained position; to be unable to stir or to turn, under the attack of countless vermin which assailed us on all sides; to be burdened with wounds, some recent and others all putrid; not to have sustenance for the half of one's life: in truth, these torments are great, but God is infinite. At Sunrise, they led us back upon our scaffold, where we spent three days and three nights in the sufferings that I have just described. (Jerome Lalemant 44)

53) My [Isaac Jogues] hope is in God, who has no need of us for the execution of his designs. It is for us to try to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our own baseness. I hope that you will obtain for me this favor from our Lord; and that, after having led so slothful a life hitherto, I shall begin to serve him better. My heart tells me that, if I have the blessing of being employed in this Mission, Ibo et non redibo; but I would be happy if our Lord were willing to finish the Sacrifice where he has begun it, and if the little blood which I have shed in that land were as the pledge of that which I would give him from all the veins of my body and my heart. In fine, that people sponsus mihi sanguinum est; hunc mihi despondi sanguine meo. (Jerome Lalemant 111-12)

54) [The death of Isaac Jogues] "This is to inform you how those ungrateful Barbarians did not wait after they had actually arrived in their cabins,—where they were stripped all naked, without shirts, save that they gave them each a breech-clout to hide their wretched plight. The very day of their coming, they began to threaten them,—and that immediately, with heavy blows of fists and clubs, saying: 'You will die to-morrow; be not astonished. But we will not burn you; have courage; we will strike you with the hatchet and will set your heads on the palings' (that is to say, on the fence about their village), 'so that when we shall capture your brothers they may still see you.' You must know that it was only the nation of the bear which put them to death; the nations of the wolf and the turtle did all that they could to save their lives, and said to the nation of the bear: 'Kill us first.' But alas, they are not in life for all that. Know, then, that on the 18th, in the evening, when they came to call Isaac to supper, he got up and went away with that Barbarian to the lodge of the bear. There was a traitor with his hatchet behind the door, who, on entering, split open his head; then immediately he cut it off, and set it on the palings. The next day, very early, he did the same to the other man, and their bodies were thrown into the river." Such is, word for word, what the Dutch have written concerning the death of Father Isaac Jogues. (Jerome Lalemant 116)

55) The Algonquins and Hurons—and next the Hiroquois, at the solicitation of their captives—have had, and some have still, a hatred and an extreme horror of our doctrine. They say that it causes them to die, and that it contains spells and charms which effect the destruction of their corn, and engender the contagious and general diseases wherewith the Hiroquois now begin to be afflicted. It is on this account that we have expected to be murdered, in all the places where we have been; and even now we [Isaac Jogues] are not without hope of one day possessing this happiness. Now, just as of old, in the primitive Church, the reproach was cast against the children of Jesus Christ, that they caused misfortunes everywhere, and as some of them were slain on that account, likewise are we persecuted because by our doctrine, which is no other than that of Jesus Christ, we depopulate—as they say—their countries; and it is for this doctrine that they have killed the Father, and consequently we may regard him as a martyr before God. Moreover, it is true that, speaking humanly, these barbarians have apparent reasons for thus reproaching us,—inasmuch as the scourges which humble the proud precede us or accompany us wherever we go, as they have preceded and accompanied those who have gone before us in the publication of the Gospel; but, in token of the soundness of the adorable truths which it contains, the result is that finally these peoples will not fail to yield themselves to Jesus Christ; although he comes to them only with scourges in his hands. (Jerome Lalemant 120-21)

56) Let us say a few words about the virtues of our Martyr [Isaac Jogues]. He was endowed with a humility altogether rare; he not only recognized his own lowliness, but he desired to be treated according to his nothingness. He approved from his youth those who chastised him, secretly kissing the rods and whips which were used for correcting him. Being in the country of the Hiroquois, he could not behold without joy the posts which supported the scaffold whereon he had suffered so much; he would go to kiss them and embrace them,—not only through a love for sufferings, but because they were, he said, the instruments of divine justice for his crimes. Never had the Society (according to his saying) received any one so base as he, or so unworthy of the garb which he wore. It was necessary to use skill and command upon him, in order to make him tell what we have related,—not that he was restive against obedience, but because he really had so low an opinion of himself that he could not speak thereof but with contempt. (Jerome Lalemant 123)

57) He [Isaac Jogues] sent to Heaven more than sixty persons of that wretched nation: their baptisms were the bond of his captivity. He would have escaped a hundred times if providence had not checked him, by offering him from time to time, through wonderful coincidences, the means of opening the gates of Paradise to some poor soul. He was invited on a certain day to go to see some sports and dances, which were to take place in another village: he betook himself thither in good company. He had no sooner arrived than he stole away from the tumult and the crowd, in order to slip into the cabins,—that he might console the sick and dying, in case he should encounter any. It seems that God led him by the hand on that journey. He found in a cabin five little children who were all in danger of death; he baptized them at his ease, and without noise,—every one having gone out to see those public rejoicings He learned, three days later, that those little innocents were no longer in the land of the dying. O my God! what a propitious encounter! What an admirable stroke of predestination for those little Angels who now praise and bless God with their good Father! oh, what thanks they give him in the holy Zion ! These opportunities, as I have remarked, retained the Father in his exile. (Jerome Lalemant 134-35)

58) The Iroquois came, to the number of twelve hundred men; took our village, and seized Father Breboauf and his companion; and set fire to all the huts. They proceeded to vent their rage on those two Fathers; for they took them both and stripped them entirely naked, and fastened each to a post. They tied both of their hands together. They tore the nails from their fingers. They beat them with a shower of blows from cudgels, on the shoulders, the loins, the belly, the legs, and the face,—there being no part of their body which did not endure this torment. The savages told us further, that, although Father de Brebceuf was overwhelmed under the weight of these blows, he did not cease continually to speak of God, and to encourage all the new Christians who were captives like himself to suffer well, that they might die well, in order to go in company with him to Paradise. While the good Father was encouraging these good people, a wretched Iron renegade,—who had remained a captive with the Iroquois, and whom Father de Brebœuf had formerly instructed and baptized,—hearing him speak Paradise and Holy Baptism, was irritated, and said to him, "Echon," that is Father de Brebœuf's name in Huron, " thou sayest that Baptism and the sufferings of this life lead straight to Paradise; thou wilt go soon, for I am going to baptize thee, and to make thee suffer well, in order to go the sooner to thy Paradise." The barbarian, having said that, took a kettle full of boiling water, which he poured over his body three different times, in derision of Holy baptism. And, each time that he baptized him in this manner, the barbarian said to him, with bitter sarcasm, "Go to Heaven, for thou art well baptized." After that, they made him suffer several other torments. The 1st was to make hatchets red-hot, and to apply them to the loins and under the armpits. They made a collar of these red-hot hatchets, and put it on the neck of this good Father. (Christophe Regnaut 26-27)

59) After that they put on him a belt of bark, full of pitch and resin, and set fire to it, which roasted his whole body. During all these torments, Father de Brebœuf endured like a rock, insensible to fire and flames, which astonished all the bloodthirsty wretches who tormented him. His zeal was so great that he preached continually to these infidels, to try to convert them. His executioners were enraged against him for constantly speaking to them of God and of their conversion. To prevent him from speaking more, they cut off his tongue, and both his upper and lower lips. After that, they set themselves to strip the flesh from his legs, thighs, and arms, to the very bone; and then put it to roast before his eyes, in order to eat it. While they tormented him in this manner, those wretches derided him, saying: "Thou seest plainly that we treat thee as a friend, since we shall be the cause of thy Eternal happiness; thank us, then, for these good offices which we render thee,—for, the more thou shalt suffer, the more will thy God reward thee." Those butchers, seeing that the good Father began to grow weak, made him sit down on the ground; and, one of them, taking a knife, cut off the skin covering his skull. Another one of those barbarians, seeing that the good Father would soon die, made an opening in the upper part of his chest, and tore out his heart, which he roasted and ate. Others came to drink his blood, still warm, which they drank with both hands,—saying that Father de Brebceuf had been very courageous to endure so much pain as they had given him, and that, by drinking his blood, they would become courageous like him. This is what we learned of the Martyrdom and blessed death of Father Jean de Brebœuf, (Christophe Regnaut 29-30)

60) I saw and touched all parts of his [Jean de Brebœuf] body, which had received more than two hundred blows from a stick. I saw and touched the top of his scalped head; I saw and touched the opening which these barbarians had made to tear out his heart. In fine, I saw and touched all the wounds of his body, as the savages had told and declared to us; we buried these precious Relics on Sunday, the 21st day of March, 1649, with much Consolation. I had the happiness of carrying them to the grave, and of burying them with those of Father Gabriel L'Alemant. When we left the country of the Hurons, we raised both bodies out of the ground, and set them to boil in strong lye. All the bones were well scraped, and the care of drying them was given me. I put them every day into a little oven which we had, made of clay, after having heated it slightly; and, when in a state to be packed, they were separately enveloped in silk stuff. Then they were put into two small chests, and we brought them to Québek, where they are held in great veneration. It is not a Doctor of the Sorbonne who has composed this, as you may easily see; it is a relic from the Iroquois, and a person who has lived more than thought. (Christophe Regnaut 34-35)

61) Now let us examine in detail all the comforts of this elegant Mansion [a Native cabin]. You cannot stand upright in this house, as much on account of its low roof as the suffocating smoke; and consequently you must always lie down, or sit flat upon the ground, the usual posture of the Savages. When you go out, the cold, the snow, and the danger of getting lost in these great woods drive you in again more quickly than the wind, and keep you a prisoner in a dungeon which has neither lock nor key. This prison, in addition to the uncomfortable position that one must occupy upon a bed of earth, has four other great discomforts,—cold, heat, smoke, and dogs. [188] As to the cold, you have the snow at your head with only a pine branch between, often nothing but your hat, and the winds are free to enter in a thousand places. For do not imagine that these pieces of bark are joined as paper is glued and fitted to a window frame; they are often like the plant mille-pertuis, except that their holes and their openings are a little larger; and even if there were only the opening at the top, which serves at once as window and chimney, the coldest winter in France could come in there every day without any trouble. When I lay down at night I could study through this opening both the Stars and the Moon as easily as if I had been in the open fields. (Paul le Jeune 36-37)

62) Nevertheless, the cold did not annoy me as much as the heat from the fire. A little place like their cabins is easily heated by a good fire, which sometimes roasted and broiled me on all sides, for the cabin was so narrow that I could not protect myself against the heat. You cannot move to right or left, for the Savages, your neighbors, are at your elbows; you cannot withdraw to the rear, for you encounter the wall of snow, or the bark of the cabin which shuts you in. I did not know what position to take. Had I stretched myself out, the place was so narrow that my legs would have been halfway in the fire; to roll myself up in a ball, and crouch down in their way, was a position I could not retain as long as they could; my clothes were all scorched and burned. You will ask me perhaps if the snow at our backs did not melt under so much heat. I answer, "no, no;" that if sometimes the heat softened it in the least, the cold immediately turned it into ice. I will say, however, that both the cold and the heat are endurable, and that some remedy may be found for these two evils. (Paul le Jeune 38-39)

63) But, as to the smoke, I confess to you that it is martyrdom. It almost killed me, and made me weep continually, although I had neither grief nor sadness in my heart. It sometimes grounded all of us who were in the cabin; that is, it caused us to place our mouths against the earth in order to breathe. For, although the Savages were accustomed to this torment, yet occasionally it became so dense that they, as well as I, were compelled to prostrate themselves, and as it were to eat the earth, so as not to drink the smoke. I have sometimes remained several hours in this position, especially during the most severe cold and when it snowed; for it was then the smoke assailed us with the greatest fury, seizing us by the throat, nose, and eyes. How bitter is this drink! How strong its odor! How hurtful to the eyes are its fumes! I sometimes thought I was going blind; my eyes burned like fire, they wept or distilled drops like an alembic; I no longer saw anything distinctly, like the good man who said, video homines velut arbores ambulantes. I repeated the Psalms of my Breviary as best I could, knowing them half by heart, and waited until the pain might relax a little to recite the lessons; and when I came to read them they seemed written in letters of fire, or of scarlet; I have often closed my book, seeing things so confusedly that it injured my sight. (Paul le Jeune 39-40)

64) As to the dogs, which I have mentioned as one of the discomforts of the Savages' houses, I do not know that I ought to blame them, for they have sometimes rendered me good service. True, they exacted from me the same courtesy they gave, so that we reciprocally aided each other, illustrating the idea of mutuum auxilium. These poor beasts, not being able to live outdoors, came and lay down sometimes upon my shoulders, sometimes upon my feet, and as I only had one blanket to serve both as covering and mattress, I was not sorry for this protection, willingly restoring to them a part of the heat which I drew from them. It is true that, as they were large and numerous, they occasionally crowded and annoyed me so much, that in giving me a little heat they robbed me of my sleep, so that I very often drove them away. In doing this one night, there happened to me a little incident which caused some confusion and laughter; for, a Savage having thrown himself upon me while asleep, I thought it was a dog, and finding a club at hand, I hit him, crying out, Aché, Aché, the words they use to drive away the dogs. My man woke up greatly astonished, thinking that all was lost; but having discovered whence came the blows, "Thou hast no sense," he said to me, "it is not a dog, it is I." At these words I do not know who was the more astonished of us two; I gently dropped my club, very sorry at having found it so near me. (Paul le Jeune 39-40)

65) The Fathers and Brethren whom God shall call to the Holy Mission of the Hurons ought to exercise careful foresight in regard to all the hardships, annoyances, and perils that must be encountered in making this journey, in order to be prepared betimes for all emergencies that may arise. You must have sincere affection for the Savages, looking upon them as ransomed by the blood of the son of God, and as our brethren, with whom we are to pass the rest of our lives. To conciliate the Savages, you must be careful never to make them wait for you in embarking. You must provide yourself with a tinder box or with a burning mirror, or with both, to furnish them fire in the daytime to light their pipes, and in the evening when they have to encamp; these little services win their hearts. You should try to eat their sagamité or salmagundi in the way they prepare it, although it may be dirty, half-cooked, and very tasteless. As to the other numerous things which may be unpleasant, they must be endured for the love of God, without saying anything or appearing to notice them. It is well at first to take everything they offer, although you may not be able to eat it all; for, when one becomes somewhat accustomed to it, there is not too much. You must try and eat at daybreak unless you can take your meal with you in the canoe; for the day is very long, if you have to pass it without eating. The Barbarians eat only at Sunrise and Sunset, when they are on their journeys. You must be prompt in embarking and disembarking; and tuck up your gowns so that they will not get wet, and so that you will not carry either water or sand into the canoe. To be properly dressed, you must have your feet and legs bare; while crossing the rapids, you can wear your shoes, and, in the long portages, even your leggings. You must so conduct yourself as not to be at all troublesome to even one of these Barbarians. (Paul le Jeune 116-17)

66) Finally, understand that the Savages will retain the same opinion of you in their own country that they will have formed on the way; and one who has passed for an irritable and troublesome person will have considerable difficulty afterwards in removing this opinion. You have to do not only with those of your own canoe, but also (if it must be so stated) with all those of the country; you meet some to-day and others to-morrow, who do not fail to inquire, from those who brought you, what sort of man you are. It is almost incredible, how they observe and remember even to the slightest fault. When you meet Savages on the way, as you cannot yet greet them with kind words, at least show them a cheerful face, and thus prove that you endure gayly the fatigues of the voyage. You will thus have put to good use the hardships of the way, and have already advanced considerably in gaining the affection of the Savages. This is a lesson which is easy enough to learn, but very difficult to put into practice; for, leaving a highly civilized community, you fall into the hands of barbarous people who care but little for your Philosophy or your Theology. All the fine qualities which might make you loved and respected in France are like pearls trampled under the feet of swine, or rather of mules, which utterly despise you when they see that you are not as good pack animals as they are. If you could go naked, and carry the load of a horse upon your back, as they do, then you would be wise according to their doctrine, and would be recognized as a great man, otherwise not. Jesus Christ is our true greatness; it is he alone and his cross that should be sought in running after these people, for, if you strive for anything else, you will find naught but bodily and spiritual affliction. But having found Jesus Christ in his cross, you have found the roses in the thorns, sweetness in bitterness, all in nothing. (Paul le Jeune 122-23)

67) While the wind held us prisoners in this unhappy Island, a number of our people went to visit some Savages who were five or six leagues from us, so that there only remained in our cabin the women and children, and the Hiroquois. During the night, a woman who had gone out, returned, terribly frightened, crying out that she had heard the Manitou, or devil. At once all the camp was in a state of alarm, and every one, filled with fear, maintained a profound silence. I asked the cause of this fright, for I had not heard what the woman had said; eca titou, eca titou, they told me, Manitou, " Keep still, keep still, it is the devil. "I began to laugh, and rising to my feet, went out of the cabin; and to reassure them I [page 85] called, in their language, the Manitou, crying in a loud voice that I was not afraid, and that he would not dare come where I was. Then, having made a few turns in our Island, I reëntered, and said to them, " Do not fear, the devil will not harm you as long as I am with you, for he fears those who believe in God; if you will believe in God, the devil will flee from you." They were greatly astonished, and asked me if I was not afraid of him at all. I answered, to relieve them of their fears, that I was not afraid of a hundred of them; they began to laugh, and were gradually reassured. Now seeing that they had thrown some eels in the fire, I asked them the reason for it. "Keep still," they replied; "we are giving the devil something to eat, so that he will not harm us." My host, upon his return, having learned this story, thanked me very much for giving courage to his people, and asked me if I really had no fear of the Manitou, or devil, and if I knew him very well; as for them, they feared him more than a thunderbolt. I answered that, if he would believe and obey him who had made all, the Manitou would have no power over him; that for ourselves, being helped by him whom we adored, the devil had more fear of us than we had of him. He was astonished, and told me that he would be very glad if we knew his language, for you must be aware that we were making each other understand more through our eyes and hands than through our lips. (Paul le Jeune 84-85)

68) One day, when my host had a feast in his turn, the guests made me a sign that I should make them a speech in their language, as they wanted to laugh; for I pronounce the Savage as a German pronounces French. Wishing to please them, I began to talk, and they burst out laughing, well pleased to make sport of me, while I was very glad to learn to talk. I said to them in conclusion that I was a child, and that children made their fathers laugh with their stammering; but in a few years I would become large, and then, when I knew their language, I would make them see that they themselves were children in many things, ignorant of the great truths of which I would speak to them. Suddenly I asked them if the Moon was located as high as the Stars, if it was in the same Sky; where the Sun went when it left us; what was the form of the earth. (If I knew their language perfectly I would always propose some natural truth, before speaking to them of the points of our belief; for I have observed that these curious things make them more attentive.) Not to let me wander from my speech, one of them beginning to speak, after having frankly confessed that they could not answer these questions, said to me: "But how canst thou thyself know these things, since we do not know them? " I immediately drew out a little compass that I had in my pocket, opened it, and, placing it in his hand, said to him, We are now in the darkness of night, the Sun no longer shines for us; tell me now, while you look at what I have given you, in what part of the world it is; show me the place where it must rise to-morrow, where it will set, where it will be at noon; point out the places in the Sky where it will never be." My man answered with his eyes, staring at me without saying a word. I took the compass and explained to him with a few words all that I had just asked about, adding, "Well, how is it that I can know these things and you do not know them? I have still other greater truths to tell you when I can talk." "Thou art intelligent," they responded; "thou wilt soon know our language." (Paul le Jeune 92-93)

69) When they were full almost to bursting, the Sorcerer took his drum and invited everyone to sing. The best singer was the one who howled the loudest. At the end of this uproar, seeing that they were in a very good humor, I asked permission to talk. This being granted, I began to affirm the affection I had for them, "You see," I said, "what love I bear you; I have not only left my own country, which is beautiful and very pleasant, to come into your snows and vast woods, but I have also left the little house we have in your lands, to follow you and learn your language. I cherish you more than my brothers, since I have left them for love of you; it is he who has made all who has given me this affection for you, it is he who created the first man from whom we have all descended; hence see how it is that, as we have the same father, we are all brothers, and ought all to acknowledge the same Lord and the same Captain; we ought all to believe in him, and obey his will." The Sorcerer, stopping me, said in a loud voice, "When I see him, I will believe in him, and not until then. How believe in him whom we do not see?" I answered him: "When thou tellest me that thy father or one of thy friends has said something, I believe what he has said, supposing that he is not a liar, and yet I have never seen thy father; also, thou believest that there is a Manitou, and thou hast never seen him. Thou believest that there are Khichicouakhi, or Spirits of light, and thou hast not seen them." "Others have seen them," he answered. "Thou couldst not tell," said I, "neither when, nor how, nor in what way, nor in what place they were seen; and I, I can tell thee the names of those who have seen the Son of God upon earth,—when they saw him, and in what place; what they have done, and in what countries they have been. Thy God," he replied, "has not come to our country, and that is why we do not believe in him; make me see him and I will believe in him." "Listen to me and thou wilt see him," said I. "We have two kinds of sight, the sight of the eyes of the body, and the sight of the eyes of the soul. What thou seest with the eyes of the soul may be just as true as what thou seest with the eyes of the body. No, "said he, "I see nothing except with the eyes of the body, save in sleeping, and thou dost not approve our dreams." "Hear me to the end," I said. "When thou passest deserted cabin, and seest yet standing the circle of poles, and the floor of the cabin covered with Pine twigs, when thou sets the hearth still smoking, is it not true that thou knowest positively, and that thou sets clearly, that Savages have been there, and that these poles and all the rest of the things that you leave when you break camp, are not brought together by chance? Yes," he answered. "Now I say the same. When thou sets the beauty and grandeur of this world,—how the Sun incessantly turns round without stopping, how the seasons follow each other in their time, and how perfectly all the Stars maintain their order,—thou sets clearly that men have not made these wonders, and that they do not govern them; hence there must be some one more noble than men, who has built and who rules this grand mansion. Now it is he whom we call God, who sees all things, and whom we do not see; but we shall see him after death, and we shall be forever happy with him, if we love and obey him." "Thou dost not know what thou art talking about," he answered, "learn to talk and we will listen to thee." (Paul le Jeune 98-101)

70) My host having invited all the neighboring Savages to the feast, when they had come and seated themselves around the fire and the kettle, waiting for the banquet to be opened, lo, the Sorcerer, who had been lying down opposite me, suddenly arose, not yet having uttered a word since the arrival of the guests. He seemed to be in an awful fury, and threw himself upon one of the poles of the cabin to tear it out; he broke it in two, rolled his eyes around in his head, looked here and there like a man out of his senses, then facing those present, he said to them, Iriniticou nama Nitirinisin, "Oh, men, I have lost my mind, I do not know where I am; take the hatchets and javelins away from me, for I am out of my senses." At these words all the Savages lowered their eyes to the ground, and I raised mine to heaven, whence I expected help,—imagining that this man was acting the madman in order to 'Lake revenge on me, to take my life or at least to frighten me, so that he could reproach me afterwards that my God had failed me in time of need, and to proclaim among his people, that I, who had so often testified that I did not fear their Manitou, who makes them tremble, had turned pale before a man. So far was I from being seized by fear which, in the dangers of a natural death, makes me shrink within myself, that, on the contrary, I faced this furious man with as much assurance as if I had had an army at my side, reflecting that the God whom I adored could bind the arms of fools and madmen as well as those of demons; that besides, if his Majesty wished to open to me the portals of death by the hands of a man who was acting the devil, his Providence was always loving and kind. This Thraso [braggart], redoubling his furies, did a thousand foolish acts of a lunatic or of one bewitched; sometimes he would cry out at the top of his voice, and then would suddenly stop short, as if frightened; he pretended to cry, and then burst into laughter like a wanton devil; he sang without rules and without measure, he hissed like a serpent, he howled like a wolf, or like a dog, he screeched like an owl or a night hawk,—rolling his eyes about in his head and striking a thousand attitudes, always seeming to be looking for something to throw. I was expecting every moment he would tear up one of the poles with which to strike me down, or that he would throw himself upon me; but in order to show him that I was not at all astonished at these devilish acts, I continued, in my usual way, to read, write and say my little prayers; and when my hour for retiring came, I lay down and rested as peacefully through his orgies, as I would have done in a profound silence; I was already as accustomed to go to sleep in the midst of his cries and the sound of his drum, as a child is to the songs of its nurse. (Paul le Jeune 116-19)

71) On the 20th of the same month of November, finding no more Beavers and Porcupines in our quarter, we resumed our journey, this being our second station. The Sorcerer's wife was carried upon a stretcher, and they placed her, as I have already said, upon the snow until our palace was erected. Meanwhile I approached her, showing how greatly I sympathized with her; already for some days I had been trying to gain her affection, that she might more willingly listen to me; I knew that she could not live long, as she was like a skeleton, hardly having strength enough to talk. When she called some one in the night, I arose and awoke him, I made fires for her, I asked her if she was in need of anything; she had me do little things for her, such as closing the door, or stopping up a hole in the cabin which annoyed her. After these little conversations and acts of charity, I approached and asked her if she did not want to believe in him who has made all, so that her soul after death would be blest. At first she answered that she had not seen God, and that I should make her see him, otherwise she could not believe in him. She got this answer from the lips of her husband. I told her that she believed in a great many thin s she had not seen, and besides, her soul would be burned through eternity if she did not obey him who has made all. She softened, little by little, and testified to me that she wished to obey him. I did not dare confer with her long, and only at intervals, for those who saw me would cry out that I should leave her alone. Toward evening, when we were all in our new cabin, I approached and called her by name. She never would talk with me in the presence of the others. I begged the Sorcerer to tell her to answer me, and to help me teach her, showing him that nothing but good could come of this action. He would not answer me any more than the invalid. I addressed the Apostate, urging him with very humble prayers to lend me his voice, but no answer; I return to the sick woman, I call her by name, I speak to her, I ask her if she does not wish to go to Heaven; to all this not a word. I again beg her husband, the Sorcerer; I promise him a shirt and some tobacco, if he will tell his wife to listen to me. "How canst thou ask us," he said, "to believe in thy God, never having seen him?" "I have already answered that question for thee," I returned; "this is no time to argue, this soul is going to be forever lost if thou dost not have pity. Thou seest well that he who has made the Heavens for thee, wishes to give thee greater blessings than to go about eating bark in a village which never existed; but he will also severely punish thee if thou dost not believe in him and obey him.' Not being able to draw any answer from this miserable man, I again urged the sick woman. My host, hearing me call her by name, chided me, saying, "Keep still, do not name her; she is already dead, her soul is no longer in her body." It is a great truth that no one goes to Jesus Christ until the father extends to him the hand. How wonderful a gift is this faith! When these simple Barbarians see that a poor invalid no longer speaks, or that he has fainted, or been seized by a frenzy, they say that the spirit is no longer in the body; and, if the invalid returns to his senses, it is the spirit which has returned. Finally, when he is dead, they must no longer speak of him, nor name him in any way. To finish this story, I had to retire without accomplishing anything. (Paul le Jeune 120-24)

72) On the day of saint François Xavier, our pretended Magician began in the evening to beat his drum and to utter his howls as usual; for he did not fail to give us this entertainment every night at our first sleep. I saw that every one was asleep, and, knowing that this poor man made all this racket in order to cure himself, I entered into conversation with him. I began by expressing a great deal of affection for him, and by heaping praises upon him, as bait to draw him into the nets of truth. I made him understand that if a mind as capable of great things as his was, should know God, that all the Savages, influenced by his example, would like to know him also. He immediately began to soar, and to talk about the power, the authority, and the influence he had over the minds of his fellow-savages. He said that since his youth they had given him the name, Khimouchouminau, meaning, "our sire and our master; "that everything was done according to his opinion, and that they all followed his advice. I helped in this self-praise as well as I could, for he has indeed some good qualities for a Savage. I finally told him that I was surprised that a man of judgment could not realize that there was little connection between this uproar and health. "When thou hast screamed and beaten thy drum with all thy might, what good does it do except to make thy head dizzy? No Savage is sick, whose ears they do not deafen with this drum, to keep him from dying; yet hast thou ever seen it dispel death? I am going to make a proposal to thee, listen to me patiently, "I said to him. "Beat thy drum for ten days, sing and make all the others sing as much as thou wilt, do all thou canst to recover thy health, and if thou art not cured in that time confess that thy din, howls and songs cannot restore thee to health. Now abstain ten more days from all these superstitions; give up thy drum, and all these wild noises; ask of the God whom I adore that he give thee knowledge of himself; reflect, and believe that thy soul must pass to a life other than this; endeavor to interest thyself in its welfare as thou dost in the welfare of thy body ; and when thou shalt have passed these last ten days in this way, I will withdraw for three days to pray in a little cabin that shall be made farther back in the woods. There I will pray my God to give thee health of body and of soul; thou alone shalt come to see me at the time I shall indicate, and thou shalt say with all thy heart the prayers I will teach thee—promising God that, if it pleases him to restore thee thy health, thou wilt call together all the Savages of the place, and in their presence thou wilt burn thy drum and all the other silly stuff that thou usest to bring them together, saying to them that the God of the Christians is the true God, that they must believe in him and obey him. If thou promise this truthfully and from thy heart, I hope that thou wilt be delivered from thy disease, for my God is all-powerful. (Paul le Jeune 128-31)

73) Now as this man is very desirous of recovering his health, he opened his ears, and said to me, " Thy discourse is very good, I accept the conditions that thou givest; but thou begin first, go away and pray, and tell thy God to cure me, for with that we must begin; then I will do all that thou hast prescribed for me. I shall not begin it, "I replied to him, "for if thou get back thy health while I would be praying, thou wouldst be attributing thy recovery to thy drum, which thou wouldst not have given up, and not to the God whom I adore, who alone can cure thee." "No," he replied, "I shall not think it has come from my drum; I have sung and have done all I could, yet I have not been able to save the life of one man; I myself am sick, and to cure myself have made use of all the resources of my art; and behold I am worse than ever. I have used all my inventions to save the lives of my children, especially of the last one who died only a short time ago, and to save my wife, who has just passed away, yet all this has not succeeded; so if thou curest me I shall not attribute my health to my drum nor to my songs. I answered him that I could not cure him, but that my God could do all, and besides we must not make bargains with him, nor prescribe to him the conditions upon which he was to act, saying, "Let him cure me first, and then I will believe in him." "Prepare thyself," I continued, on thy part, and his goodness will not fail thee; for, if he does not give thee health of the body, he will give thee health of the soul, which is of incomparably higher value." "Do not speak to me about the soul," he replied, "that is something that I give myself no anxiety about; it is this (showing his flesh) that I love, it is the body I cherish; as to the soul, I do not see it, let happen to it what will." "Hast thou any reason?" I asked, "thou speakest like a brute, dogs love only their bodies; he who has made the Sun to shine upon thee, has he not prepared something better for thy soul than for the soul of a dog? If thou lovest only the body, thou wilt lose both thy body and thy soul. If a brute could talk, it would talk about nothing but its body and its flesh; hast thou nothing above the brute, which is made to serve thee? Dost thou love only flesh and blood? Thy soul, is it only the soul of a dog, that thou dost treat it with such contempt? Perhaps thou sayest truly, he replied, "and there is something good in the other life; but we here in this country know nothing about it. If thou restorest my health, I will do what thou wishest. "This poor wretch is never able to raise his thoughts above earth. Seeing then no inclination in this haughty spirit, who thought he was obliging God by believing in him, I gave him up for the time being, and retired to rest, for it was well along into the night. (Paul le Jeune 131-34)

74) In the evening of this same Christmas day I went to visit our neighbors. We were now only two cabins, as the Savage Ekhenneabamate had gone off in another direction five or six days before, because there had not been enough game for all of us. I found there two young hunters, in deep distress at not having captured anything that day, nor the one before. They were like all the others, wasted and thin, silent and very sad, like people who parted with life regretfully. It made my heart bleed to see them. After having said a few words of consolation, and cheered them with the hope of better things, I withdrew into my cabin to pray to God. The Apostate asked me what day it was. "To-day is the Christmas festival," I answered him. He was slightly touched, and, turning toward the Sorcerer, said that on this day was born the Son of God, called Jesus, whom we adored. Observing that he showed some wonder, I told him that God was generally very bountiful on these days; and, if we had recourse to him, he would surely help us. To this there was not a word, neither was there any opposition. So seizing the opportunity, I begged him to translate for me two little Prayers into his language, and I would say one of them and the Savages the other. Hoping that we would be succored, the extremity to which we were reduced made him grant, in pure recklessness, what I asked. I immediately composed two little prayers, which he turned into Savage, promising me besides that he would serve me as interpreter if I would call the Savages together, so I was very happy. I commended the matter to Our Lord and the next morning I erected a little Oratory. I hung to the poles of the cabin a napkin I had brought with me; to this I attached a small Crucifix and a Reliquary that two very Religious persons had sent me, also I took from my Breviary one of the Pictures. When this was done, I had all the Savages from our two cabins called, and made them understand, partly through my stammering and partly through the lips of the Renegade, whom the fear of dying from hunger made speak, that it depended upon them alone whether or not they should be relieved. I told them that our God was goodness itself, that nothing was impossible to him; that even though a person had despised him, yet if he believed in him and hoped in him with a sincere heart, he would show himself favorable. Now as these poor people had no more hope in their bows or arrows, they showed much gladness that I had thus called them together, assuring me they would do all I commanded them. I took my paper and read to them the Prayer I wished them to offer, asking if they were content to address to the God whom I adored these prayers from their hearts, and without dissimulation. They all responded, nimiroueritenan, nimiroueritenan, "We are satisfied, we are satisfied." I knelt down first and the others followed, fixing our eyes upon our little Oratory. The Sorcerer alone remained seated; but, when I asked him if he did not wish to be like the others, he did as he saw me do. We were bareheaded, our hands all clasped and raised toward Heaven; and in this attitude I began to repeat the following Prayer aloud in their language: "My Lord, you who have made all, who see all and who know all, have pity upon us. O Jesus son of the All-powerful, you who have taken human flesh for us, who were born of a Virgin for us, who have died for us, who were resurrected and ascended into Heaven for us, you have promised that if anything is asked in your name, you will grant it. I beseech you with all my heart to give food to these poor people, who wish to believe in you and to obey you. These people promise you faithfully that, if you will help them, they will believe entirely in you, and that they will obey you with all their hearts. My Lord, hearken to my prayer; I offer you my life for these people, content to die that they may live and acknowledge you. Amen." (Paul le Jeune 146-50)

75) At these words, "to die" for them, which I used to gain their affection, although really I said it with a sincere heart, my host stopped me and said, "Take back those words, for we all love thee, and do not wish thee to die for us." "I wish to show you," I answered, "that I love you, and that I would willingly give my life for your salvation, so great a thing is it to be saved." After I had offered this Prayer, all of them with hands joined, heads bare, and knees upon the ground, as I have observed, repeated the following, which I pronounced to them with great solemnity: "Great Lord, you who have made heaven and earth, you know all, you can do all. I promise you with all my heart (I could not lie to you) I promise you wholly, that, if it pleases you to give us food, I will obey you cheerfully, that I will surely believe in you. I promise you without deceit that I will do all that I shall be told ought to be done for love of you. Help us, for you can do it; I will certainly do what they shall teach me ought to be done for your sake. I promise it without pretence, I am not lying, I could not lie to you; help us to believe in you perfectly, for you have died for us. Amen." They all offered this prayer, the Apostate and the Sorcerer as well as the others; God alone can judge of their hearts. After this I told them that they should go to the chase with confidence, as they did, the greater part showing by their faces and words that they had taken pleasure in this act. (Paul le Jeune 150-52)

76) As soon as they had captured this game, they divided it up, bringing a large part of it to our cabins, and burying the rest under the snow. Now every one was happy, and a great banquet was made, to which I was invited. Seeing the big pieces of meat they gave to each one, I asked the Apostate if this was an eat-all feast. He answered, " yes"; and I said to him, "It is impossible for me to eat all they have given me." "Indeed you must," he answered, "you must eat it all; the others have to eat all theirs, and you must eat all yours." I made him understand that God forbids such excess, and I would not commit it even if my life depended upon it. This wicked blasphemer, to arouse the others against me, said that God was angry because they had something to eat. "I did not say that," I replied to him in Savage, "but that he prohibits eating to excess." The Sorcerer answered me, "I am never so well off as when I am full." Now as I could not come to the [284] end of my portion, I invited one of my neighboring Savages to take a part of it, giving him some tobacco as a reward for what he would eat for me. I threw another piece of it, secretly, to the dogs. The Savages began to suspect something, from the fight that afterwards took place among these animals; and commenced to cry out against me, saying that I was contaminating their feast, that they would capture nothing more, and that we would die of hunger. When the women and children heard of this afterward, they looked upon me as a very bad man, reproaching me disdainfully, and saying that I would be the cause of their death; and truly, if God had not granted us anything for a long time, I would have been in danger of being put to death for having committed such a sacrilege, to such an extent does their superstition go. To prevent the recurrence of this misfortune, after that they gave me only a small portion; and they also told me that I should not eat any more than I wanted to, that they would eat the rest, but above all I should take care not to throw any to the dogs. (Paul le Jeune 159-62)

77) The Sorcerer asked me if I really did love the other life, that I had described as so full of all blessings; having replied that I did, indeed, love it, "And I," said he, "I hate it, for to go there one must die, and that is something I have no desire to do; and yet if I thought and believed that this life was miserable, and that the other was full of delights, I would kill myself, to be freed from the one and to enjoy the other." I answered that God forbade us to kill ourselves, or to kill any one else, and if we destroyed ourselves we would go down into a life of misery, for having acted contrary to his commands. "Oh well," said he, "thou needst not kill thyself; but I will kill thee, to please thee, that thou mayest go to Heaven, and enjoy the pleasures that thou tellest about." I smiled, and replied to him that I could not without sin agree to have my life taken. "I see plainly," said he, sneeringly," that thou hast not yet the desire to die any more than I have." "None," said I, "to bring about my own death." (Paul le Jeune 163)

78) Black Robe purports to utilize the context of the period's Jesuit missions as a lens through which to explore the complexities of Indian/White interactions during the formative phase of European colonization in North America. The film is expressly intended to convey a bedrock impression that what is depicted therein is "the way it really was, and no pain has been spared to obtain this result. (Ward Churchill 116)

79) Given the sort of deadly seriousness with which the making of Black Robe was approached by all concerned, it was predictable that it would be treated as something more than just another movie by analysts. Indeed, from the outset the mainstream media have rushed to accept at face value the pronouncements of Australian producer Sue Miliken, that the film is meant as an important tool for the understanding of "[Canada's] social history," and Lantos, that, because Black Robe was intended to be at least as much a work of history as of art, no attempt has been made to "tamper with its heart, its honesty." (Ward Churchill 120)

80) Such use of Black Robe as a device in an establishmentarian drive to sanitize and rehabilitate the European heritage in America has been coupled directly to a similar effort to keep Indians "in their place" in the popular imagination. (Ward Churchill 122)

81) We find, not good guys or bad guys, not right or wrong, but rather "well meaning but ultimately devastating" European invaders doing various things to a native population which, through its own imperfections and "mystical" obstinacy, participates fully in bringing its eventual fate upon itself. It's just"one of those things," over which nobody had any genuine control, a "tragedy," no more. No one actually did anything to anyone, at least not with any discernible sense of malice. No one is culpable, there is no one to blame. Even at the level of cultural presumption, it's six of one, half-a-dozen of the other. The entire process was as natural, inevitable, and free of human responsibility, as glaciation. or an earthquake. (Ward Churchill 123)

82) [In regard to the scene with the mutilated missionary] Neither [Caryn James] nor Beresford allow so much as a hint that both clergymen are representatives of a church which had only just completed two centuries of inquisitions in which the refinement of torture had been carried to extraordinary lengths, and in which the pyres of burning heretics numbered in the tens of thousands. Even as the two men spoke, the Thirty Years War was raging in its full fury as Catholics and Protestants battled to the death over which side would dominate the spiritual, political, and economic life of the European subcontinent. (Ward Churchill 124)

83) That which is most decisively Indian -- is by definition evil. This is manifested most clearly in a confrontation between LaForge and an overtly anti-Christian Montaignais spiritual leader. The latter is personified as "a shaman (a nasty-spirited dwarf)," his face continually painted in a vibrant ochre, standing in a shocking contrast to the somber dignity of LaForge's attire and physical stature. The dwarf (indigenous spirituality) is self-serving, malicious, and vindictive, an altogether repulsive entity: LaForge (Christianity), on the other hand, is sensitive and selfless to the extent of self-flagellation and acceptance of martyrdom. (Ward Churchill 127-28)

84) Returning for a moment to the earlier-mentioned Holocaust metaphor, such a conclusion . . . is quite comparable to a film's serving not only to rehabilitate but to ennoble the nazi exterminationist impulse through a systematic defamation of the Jewish untermenschen ("subhumans") based in such "historical documentation" as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This was precisely the objective of Joseph Goebbels's propaganda ministry and its cooperating filmmakers. . . . For all its technical beauty and technical sophistication (or because of them), Black Robe is different mainly in quality, not in kind. (Ward Churchill 130)