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Voices of the Past:
Father Baraga and the Ojibwe Natives

Author: Heidi Swalve

Father Baraga and the Ojibway people is about the origins of the connections between the missionaries and the Ojibway people before the creation of the reservation system.  It shows the struggles that both the Ojibway people and the natives went through as they struggled through this period of great change.  Father Baraga was a Catholic missionary that is well known on the shores of Lake Superior where the Ojibway natives lived.  He was the first Catholic missionary to set foot on those grounds in 164 years when the French Jesuits first navigated the area.  He was well received by the native people and they cared for him as much as he cared for them.  

The region was under a momentous amount of change for the Ojibwe whom Father Baraga worked directly with.  Fur traders sought to exploit the Native populations.  FIre-water, or alcohol, was used as a way of continuing to abuse the Native people which also propelled the understanding that the Native people were a violent people, were savages.  Europeans continued to flood the region and locations around Lake Superior continued to be surveyed for the greatest mineral rites.  Chief Buffalo was forced into a position where he had to be diplomatic and do everything he could to ensure that the Native people were able to maintain their footing on the land and preserve the rights to the place which they had forever known as home.  Father Baraga lived amongst the Native people who cared for him and he cared for them and guided them into a world where they could live peacefully amongst the European populations.    

This book will not only help a person understand the changing climate that made the United States the way it is today, it also has the power to heal the rifts and misunderstandings that have been had on both the Catholic and Native side of the Catholic and Native traditions.  

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