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A Jesuit Window on Life in Western Montana in the 1840s and 1850s

with Sally Thompson

author, anthropologist

Diaries, letters, field journals, sketches and paintings by Jesuit missionaries provide particular views of life in the Rocky Mountains in the mid-19th century, during the period after the active fur trade in the region and before the treaties and arrival of government agents. This presentation engages the audience in the recorded observations and the skewed perceptions of these European Jesuits. The presentation includes primary documents from history and anthropology, including maps, sketches and paintings; quotes from literature; interviews with Native American educators; oral histories and folk traditions from local tribes; and comparison of European, Catholic life with North American Native life. Participants receive maps and learn how to figure out where things are when there are no interstate highways to guide them. Thompson then leads small group discussion focused on differences between Jesuit and Indian perceptions and expectations.