The Whitman Massacre : The Failure Of European Medicine And The Desperate Response Of The Cayuses

1415 Words Oct 11th, 2016 6 Pages
Facing the continuing decline of their population Native Americans called upon neighboring missionaries to aid them. This turning away from traditions was an added challenge to medicine men and traditional culture. Native Americans understood that European medicine came with the expectation of an earnest study of Christianity. Missionaries initially welcomed the desperate natives who were willing to study whichever religion in exchange for medical aid. In Oregon, the Whitman massacre is one example of the failure of European medicine and the desperate response of the Cayuses. “As both a physician and missionary, the Cayuses held Marcus Whitman accountable for the deaths of his patients, especially since they suspected him of spiritual Malpractice.” (Addis 225, 227) Native Americans along the seaboard had long established ways of dealing with illness and responded creatively; however the veracity of diseases alongside traumatic natural events were incomparable during which some readily converted while other recommitted themselves to traditional physical and spiritual practices. (Kelton 47)

With the conversion of Gandeaktena, the Jesuits were handed the achievement of their mission. Trouble had been growing between the different Christian missionaries, according to affiliation. Native Americans had begun to recognize inconsistencies between Catholic and Protestant missionaries, even though they both claimed Christianity. This conflict allowed an “undermining [of] the…

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