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Company fool or God's tool: Robert Terrill Rundle, the Hudson's Bay Company, and the Plains Indians.

"One squeeze of the trigger and I can rid us of this pest before it bites a single soul." (1)

The line quoted above demonstrates how novelist Fred Stenson imagined John Rowand, chief factor at Fort Edmonton, reacted in October 1840 to the arrival of Robert Terrill Rundle, Wesleyan missionary. In his novel, The Trade, Stenson stays close to the truth and Rowand (referred to as One Pound One) does not actually attempt to exterminate Rundle. However, in a book that treats all other characters with respect, Rundle is viewed with contempt. In Stenson's story, the missionary departs from the pages of the novel as a broken man, viewed as a failure by everyone, and more importantly, a failure in his own eyes. (2)

This fictionalized version of Rundle would appear to support the claim of Gerald M. Hutchinson that the missionary has had "poor press" in comparison with later missionaries. (3) Admittedly, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBCo) did not view Rundle as favourably as later more robust Canadian missionaries such as George McDougall, but was he such a failure? It is this "poor press" that the present paper examines to discover if Rundle really was such a pariah on the western plains.

Available evidence confirms that he was tolerated, at best, by the HBCo, but that is not the whole story. While Rundle did not rebel against the constrictions the Company wished to impose on him as overtly as his Wesleyan superior, James Evans, Rundle still managed to independently chart his own path through Rupert's Land. (4) He saw himself as a missionary to the Indians, not as a servant to Governor Simpson, and he had the courage to take his mission into the field and the personal qualities to attract an audience. In spite of what commentators have written since, there is every reason to believe Rundle succeeded in his mission.

Rundle apparently did not enjoy the admiration or respect of HBCo. Some of the factors that generated these feelings may have been circumstantial, rather than related directly to the missionary's actions. Attempts to civilize native people were viewed sceptically by many people who had an economic interest in the fur trade. (5) Missionaries were imposed on the HBCo in part by Christians sitting on the London Board. In addition to the evangelical fervour of the Board members, the HBCo had been forced to react to the public sentiment which believed Christianizing indigenous people all over the world was in the best interests of these people.

The Company also was subject to Parliamentary inquiries when renewing its monopoly and understood it had to respond to the evangelical tenor of the times. HBCo Governor George Simpson was careful not to reveal his inner thoughts on having his company serve missionary goals, but it is likely he accepted missionaries only as a political necessity. Once it was clear that men would be sent to Rupert's Land, Simpson saw their role as working within the trade structure which he hoped would bring economic benefits to the business. (6) In fact, Simpson brought Wesleyan missionaries to Rupert's Land in part in reaction to his failure to control Anglican missionaries already there, and as a way to regain control and treat missionaries as employees of the HBCo. (7)

He may have considered it natural to control men like Rundle who, in class-conscious England, would have been seen as his inferior. Rundle, as were most missionaries, was of "low-birth" and mediocre education. (8)

Simpson attempted to control Rundle in the early years of his mission. On July 27, 1841, when the missionary was still in his first full year in the field, Simpson criticized him in a letter to James Evans in a manner that shows control over Rundle was one of Simpson's primary objectives. He wrote:
 ... Mr. Rundle who I think would do much
 more good by remaining at one of the
 Establishments or dividing his time
 among them, than in wandering about the
 country in search of Indians at their
 camps. There I am certain he can do no
 good, especially among the Plains Indians
 while he exposes himself & us to insult
 and ridicule ... employing Jim Jock, one of
 the most worthless of his breed in the
 country as his interpreter. (9)

Simpson may have had a point when he suggested Rundle's actions might reflect on the traders. Natives were still in control of the western plains and sometimes hundreds of miles lay between one white man and another. What any white traveller did could have an impact on the others. (10)

If control was the goal of Simpson and HBCo, it soon failed with Rundle. The missionary set his own schedule and travelled independently of the Company, although often with HBCo guides and horses. Possibly a motivation for leaving the trading posts was that he understood his mission and was having little success within the forts. By the end of his stay, he had established his own relationship with native people and in concert with them was able to make arrangements to travel and preach independently of the HBCo. (11)

However, complete independence was impossible since the Company had the authority of a government in Rupert's Land. No matter how autonomous Rundle became, even in his last year on the plains he needed Simpson's permission to establish a mission station separate from an existing fur trading post. Rundle received permission to establish a mission at Pigeon Lake in late 1847, a few months before he returned to England. It was left to Rundle's protege, Benjamin Sinclair, to implement the plan. (12)

In 1841, Simpson told Rundle's supervisor, James Evans, that Rundle was a frivolous person, given to chit chat with company clerks. Simpson could not control Rundle because he was not subject to the same discipline as regular employees. (13) Simpson complained to Evans, probably expecting Evans to keep Rundle in line, but ironically, in the end it was Evans whom the Hudson's Bay Company forced out of Rupert's Land, not Rundle.

Simpson's reservations at the outset of Rundle's mission were shared by Simpson's officer, John Rowand, who was of the opinion that Rundle was too young for the job and did not look the part. Rowand wrote to Simpson:
 All the natives expect to see something in
 these men truly respectable and grand,
 superior to the Indian trader. I have
 nothing but good to say of this man. (14)

Rowand's mixed message is typical of his feelings towards Rundle. He was directed to be supportive. Support was given in terms of assisting travel and giving Rundle a place in the fort, but Rowand was Roman Catholic and not a regular attendee of Rundle's services. None but a few English traders regularly attended services at Fort Edmonton and Rundle comments on this often in his journals, going so far as to keep an attendance record in 1845. (15) The attendance sheet shows that from November 9, 1845 to January 11, 1846, Rowand attended only one of Rundle's services.

If Rundle's sole duty had been that of fort chaplain, as Simpson envisaged, his impact on the western plains would have been nonexistent. His lack of influence within the fort walls was almost total.

Although he may have initially thought he was achieving success with the French Canadians and Metis inside Fort Edmonton, when Catholic priests appeared on the scene, they all returned to what he called "popery." (16) Neither was Rundle viewed favourably by the other identifiable Christian group within the fort. The Orkneymen scorned Rundle's Wesleyan message based on a prayer book as they were "ultra-Protestants." (17)

Rowand, although frequently described by Rundle as kind and supportive, continued to have reservations about the missionary throughout the years. Rundle, partly following the example of his supervisor Evans, refused in the summer of 1843 to travel on Sundays. When Rowand instructed his men to abandon him, Rundle sought a compromise by sprinting ahead on Saturday, covering two days of travel in one. (18) Rundle was also aware that Rowand thought that Christian conversion changed Indians in a negative way. He wrote:
 Mr. Rowand has been producing
 complaints against the Indians in
 consequence of their idleness and he
 thinks I believe that things in that respect
 are different than they once were. (I heard
 him say "They must work and pray too.")
 I have not heard him say that he attributes
 their idleness to their change in religious
 affairs and I do not like consequently to
 say more about it. (19)

Rundle has assessed Rowand's attitude correctly. On June 20, 1843, Rowand wrote a letter to James Hargrave and included statements about missionaries and about Rundle personally:
 The worse thing for the trade is those
 ministers & Priests--the natives will never
 work half so well now--they like praying &
 singing--Mr. Thingheaute [Father Thibault]
 is allowed to go back to the Saskatchewan--we
 shall all be Saints after a time--Rundle
 says all the Catholics will go to--as for
 himself he is sure of going strait [sic] to
 heaven when he dies--but he thinks long to
 get a wife--had Mr. Evans seen sent to FDP
 [Fort des Prairies--Edmonton]--at once he
 would have done better than fifty Rundles--but
 it is now too late. (20)

Both Rundle detractor, novelist Stenson, and Rundle supporter, Hutchinson, have concluded that Rowand did not want Rundle, or any clergyman, in the fort at all. (21) This may not be entirely accurate. Rowand is said to have asked that Roman Catholic priests be sent from Red River in 1839 and possibly he repeated this request in 1841, after Rundle's arrival. (22) Priests did arrive and Rundle clearly mistrusted the first on the scene, Father Jean B. Thibault. He stated several times in this journal that he thought that the priest was undermining his work; this must have created some tension within the fort and divided loyalties for the Catholic Rowand.

On the other hand, Rowand must have been open-minded about religion. Rundle did perform the marriage of Rowand's son, John Rowand Jr. to Margaret Harriott, daughter of John E. Harriott, chief trader from Rocky Mountain House. (23) Harriott was the one HBCo officer who provided enthusiastic support throughout Rundle's mission. Harriott was a Protestant.

From Rowand's point of view, Rundle, or any outside moral authority, may have been uncomfortable to have around. Rowand said he couldn't act like he wanted to with Rundle underfoot. (24) Presumably the trader meant he felt restricted when imposing discipline within the fort. Reading Rundle's journals, it does not appear he constantly harped on moral issues, but it seems he was not a full participant in the drunken New Year's celebrations which seemed to go for several days every January. (25) Since he was accused by Simpson of being too informal and lighthearted, it is obvious Rundle did not object to parties or socialization. It appears Rundle objected to the heavy drinking and subsequent problems associated with it.

Among Rundle's duties at Fort Edmonton was the education of Rowand's children and even Simpson's son from his relationship with a native woman. Rundle apparently did this function adequately, if not well. (26) The problem was, Rundle spent as few as 130 days a year at Fort Edmonton. (27) While some of the rest of his time was spent at other forts, he devoted an increasing amount of time to visiting Indians where they lived and had strong friendships with some, such as Maskepetoon. By his own admission he could "stammer a little Cree" by 1843 and converse quite well later on. (28) When Indians came to the fort, he probably was a distraction to the traders who put the priority on business, not religion.

In many ways, Rundle did not fit the stereotype for a man on the western plains in the 19th century. In describing the prototypical successful and independent male in the fur trade in her essay "Les Desjarlais," Heather Devine adopted John E. Foster's concept of a "man of consequence." These men established themselves through physical violence, hunting and trapping skills and sorcery or aboriginal medicine. (29) Although as independent from the Company as any European on the plains, except for his claims to spiritual power through his religious convictions, Rundle was not a "man of consequence."

Just as his low social class gained him no respect from European officers, his small physical stature and non-existent backwoods skills would have earned him no respect from the employees of the fur trade or the natives. On his trip West, before reaching Cumberland House, Rundle proved incapable of crossing a swamp by himself and had to be carried on the back of a crew member, something unlikely to earn any points from the crew. (30) Every year in the plains he noted in his journals his colds, headaches and stomach ailments. His obsession with his illnesses earned him a reputation as a hypochondriac. (31) Certainly, Rundle did not see himself as a strong person, often lamenting his frailties. (32) Particularly in the first couple of winters, he was a frequent victim of frostbite. (33)

Every year he recorded in his journal his misadventures. On one occasion he fell off a horse or was kicked. In 1847, his last full year, he nearly drowned crossing the Bow River on a horse. The men with him admonished him on how he should have acted. (34) Then two months later, in July 1847, he fell off his horse and broke his wrist. (35) Even on his trip out of the country, with eight years of experience, Rundle almost drowned his companions and himself descending rapids to Fort Cumberland. He needed help from a passing brigade of HBCo boats in order to complete the journey. (36)

Also, because of his rashness, Rundle may have appeared to HBCo officers as a dangerous man to have around. He climbed a mountain that is named after him on November 9, 1844, only to be caught in a fog. Terrified, and near fainting, he managed to extricate himself from a situation he should not have placed himself in, in the first place. (37) Hutchinson notes that Rundle was often criticized for travelling in dangerous times without consideration for himself or others. (38) It may have been this tendency which motivated Rowand to exclaim, "this man is a fool." (39)

Fool or not, it is true Rundle did not present the dignified figure that HBCo may have thought proper for a white man. His clothes were embarrassing even to himself. He notes in 1847 he was wearing a piece of trousers for a cap. (40) When he appeared at Cumberland House on his way home on July 25, 1848 he recorded: "My dress was not the best to appear at the Fort--Little trousers. Towel tied round my waist." (41)

It seems Rundle did not really mind playing the fool and people delighted in his actions. Both artist Paul Kane and Rowand wrote about an incident when Rundle sat on a horse, talking to some Indians while his pet cat lay hidden in his coat. The cat startled everyone by leaping out, unfortunately with a string around his neck. It ended up swinging by the neck between the horse's legs. It latched onto the horse's leg, causing it to buck Rundle off. (42) What appears to have amused Rowand, is that Rundle's only concern was for the health of this cat. (43) Everyone, including the Indians found the event very entertaining, although it doesn't have a place in Rundle's journal. What does have a place is an incident earlier in the year when the cat escaped, climbed a tree and Benjamin Maskepetoon had to climb after her. (44)

While it could be argued Rundle was an unwitting clown on the occasion when he was bucked off the horse, another story has made the records where the only possible source for the story is Rundle himself. Therefore, he must have enjoyed these situations, even if he was the butt of the joke. Again, he did not record this story personally. The recorder was Father De Smet, a Jesuit missionary who, in spite of Rundle's strong anti-Catholic sentiment, developed a warm friendship with the Wesleyan missionary.

According to De Smet, an Indian stole two dollars from Rundle and De Smet persuaded him to return the money. Rundle accepted it, but then the Indian asked for a piece of paper before leaving. Rundle was confused, seeing no reason to issue a receipt for the return of stolen money.

"Me want paper," persisted the Indian. "Me go widout paper, Knock on St. Peter gate. He shak'd'ead. I no can go in widout paper."

"But what do you want a paper for?" asked the preacher.

"Don' you see?" exclaimed the Indian impatiently. "Me young, you old. You die first. Den I die. Can't go all round Hell lookin' for you!" (45)

De Smet referred to Rundle as the "Preacher" and from time to time he was "preachy" enough to attempt to force his values on others. His stand on the annual New Year's drinking parties has been noted. On another occasion he insisted three HBCo employees be sent out to look for an elderly Assiniboine woman who had been abandoned. She was found, already dead and scalped. This elicited bitter remarks in Rundle's journal about Indian values. (46) The novelist, Stenson, plays on this side of Rundle's personality when he despairs about ever bringing Christianity to the Indians. Stenson imagines Rundle admitting that the only reason he continued on with the mission was because he did not have the humility to admit defeat.

In Stenson's novel, this fictitious declaration was motivated by an event that is a historical fact. On August 15, 1843, a half breed father and his son were murdered just outside Rundle's tent during a quarrel over gambling. (47) Until a few days before the event, Rundle had hoped for the conversion of the father. The man, however, was losing his way, in Rundle's eyes, because of the intervention of the priest. (48) After the killings, Rundle, in his journal, railed against drinking, gambling, and the priest, but recovered enough the next day to baptize twenty children. In reality, Rundle continued on in the mission field for five years after these murders and he observed several other events equally as violent.

Rundle returned to England not because he was discouraged, but because he wanted to find a wife and recuperate from his injuries. He could have left the mission field earlier if he had wished. In fact Evans expected him to leave in the spring of 1844, but Rundle determined to stay until he was replaced. (49) Two years later, Rundle wrote to the Wesleyan Mission Society, stating he still did not feel he could leave until a replacement was found. (50) While he eventually did leave without a replacement being appointed, his 1848 letters to Benjamin Sinclair (51) and Rowand (52) are clear statements that he intended to return to Rupert's Land.

Rundle's black thoughts have been noted by several commentators. These moods mostly coincide with his trips to Lesser Slave Lake, the area where Father Thibault had the most success with his Catholic mission to the northern Cree. When Rundle returned from Lesser Slave Lake in 1844, he wrote a letter to Evans that came as close as any to the despair attributed to him by Stenson's novel. Apparently Rundle had been censured recently by Evans, which added to his evident depression. In the letter Rundle decried "Heathanism and Popery" and defended himself from accusations by Evans that he had interfered with HBCo business. (53)

The personal problems experienced by Evans may have contributed to the "poor press" Rundle has received. Hutchinson states (54) that Evans was forced from the mission field in 1845 in disgrace after accidentally shooting a companion, and then being accused of having an extra-marital affair with a native woman. The resulting scandal discouraged the Wesleyan Mission Society and left Rundle without support for two years. Eventually the Wesleyans turned over their missions to their Canadian counterparts. As a result, no one took pride or credit for Rundle's accomplishments.

The fact that Rundle's superior proved a serious distraction for the HBCo could not have helped Rundle in his efforts to secure from Simpson, permission to establish an independent mission station or earned Rundle any respect from his other contemporaries in Rupert's Land. He may have received bad press from future writers, but Evans' reputation was in tatters at the time.

While he may not have been guilty of having an affair, Shirritt-Beaumont argues that the missionary (Evans) represented a threat to the HBCo when he inspired members of his congregation to oppose Sunday travel. This brought into question the Hudson's Bay Company's assumption of unquestioned obedience from its employees without recourse to any higher moral authority. Shirritt-Beaumont suggests the HBCo encouraged negative rumours in order to get rid of Evans. (55) Considering Rundle supported Evan's position on Sunday travel, he may have been painted with the same brush.

While the fur traders may have had little use for Rundle, Vera Fast has argued that the missionary did not intend to damage the fur trade and, in fact, he intended to change the prevailing culture minimally for the Indians, which in turn would have minimized his threat to the Company. Fast writes:
 He demanded no total cultural
 capitulation, cultivated no agricultural
 settlements, established no boarding
 schools, distributed no serge suits. In
 essence he practiced a cultural relativism
 similar to that of some of the French
 Canadian Priests whom Ganoin describes,
 and like them, by avoiding an aggressively
 pious evangelism, won a hearing and in
 some cases at least, a positive response.

As Rundle does not fit the missionary stereotype, so were the Indians to whom he preached not made in the image of either noble savages or merciless sub-humans. During this period they still retained their autonomy and decided to whom they would or would not listen. Far from being passive recipients or innocent victims, they were active participants in missionary encounters, accepting or rejecting them on their own volition and terms. (56)

Hudson's Bay Company correspondence contains criticism, or at best faint praise for Rundle nor did he gain a position of respect within the forts. On the other hand, it could be argued that his relationship with HBCo has been viewed more negatively than it really was. Most of the criticism levelled against him came in his first two years in Rupert's Land. After that, the relationship may have been at worst one of tolerance. Rundle was not dependent on the forts for his sense of purpose. He found success outside the palisades. He would have measured his success in baptisms and there is little reason to doubt many of the conversions he made were sincere and long lasting.

Rundle was eventually succeeded by Canadian Wesleyan Thomas Woolsey who in his letters and journals recorded several times where he encountered Indians who remained committed Christians following their initial conversion by Rundle, even though they been without an outside missionary for seven or more years. (57)

Beyond Rundle's measure of evangelical success, observers at the time acknowledge Rundle was liked and respected by Indians. Paul Kane, who sometimes treated Rundle in a condescending manner, acknowledged that the missionary was a favourite of the Indians. Another objective evaluation was found in the Palliser Report of 1858 which stated: "Mr. Rundle, who must have been a very able and influential man, is spoken of among them [the Indians] with reverence and enthusiasm to this day." (58)

Perhaps less objective were the statements of early church historians on the missions on the Canadian prairies. Objective or not, they praised Rundle's efforts. In 1890 Egerton R. Young claimed that Rundle and his works were not forgotten by the Indians. (59) In 1889 John Maclean reported that the songs Rundle taught were still sung by the Indians. (60)

A contrary view is held by a contemporary writer, John C. Jackson, the biographer of Jemmy (or Jimmy) Jock Bird, who often acted as an interpreter for Rundle. Jackson claims that beyond learning a few words of Cree, Rundle understood little about Indian life and tried to impose foreign standards on them. (61) This is the opposite of the conclusion of Fast who says Rundle was effective with natives because he was not judgmental. (62) Fast quotes what Rundle wrote early in his mission: "I have not attempted to reform outward acts of morality, but have levelled at the seat of all corruption, the human heart." (63)

As time passed, Rundle's writing became less and less judgmental and more matter of fact as he concentrated on the business at hand. When he wrote about obviously disturbing events, such as the killing of eleven people in July 1847, he sounded more like a newspaper reporter than a moralist. (64)

Few contemporary Indian sources exist to give first hand witness to how they felt about Rundle. Two letters written in Cree syllabics survive. One letter signed by Me Awasa (which may be a signature or may mean "your son") is addressed to "My friend the man of prayer" and offers "best wishes." (65) Another is signed by Broken Arm, another name for Maskepetoon. Gerald Hutchinson has translated the letter as a request that Rundle teach Maskepetoon's son, Benjamin, English and offers Rundle 160 buffaloes as an effusive thank you. (66) Asking Rundle to educate his son should be seen as a demonstration that Maskepetoon trusted Rundle and respected him.

Much has been made of Rundle's relationship with Maskepetoon and it warrants examination. Without question, Maskepetoon did not accept Rundle's beliefs in a transitory moment of religious euphoria. Rundle never did convert Maskepetoon. Historian J. P. Berry claimed that the Cree leader was eventually martyred for his Christian beliefs. Even Berry felt compelled to include in his essay a report by Kane on a discussion the artist had with Maskepetoon in the spring of 1848, just before Rundle left Rupert's Land for good. (67)

Maskepetoon expressed his confusion about Christianity because he had spoken to Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan missionaries and he discerned the conflicts in their stories. He took the position that he would wait until they resolved their differences before he would accept the new religion. Nevertheless, Maskepetoon did eventually convert, in 1865. (68)

In view of his expressions of doubt, his experience in life, and his sense of responsibility to his people, it seems likely Maskepetoon's baptism was a result of careful consideration. The symbolic waters were administered seventeen years after Rundle had left the mission field. Nevertheless, there is little doubt Rundle and Maskepetoon were friends. Rundle recorded more than twenty entries about Maskepetoon in his journals, but this list is not the full extent of their encounters because in the first entry on Maskepetoon in 1843 Rundle already describes Maskepetoon as "my old friend" and he apparently stayed with him often. (69)

Maskepetoon attended religious meetings and even interpreted for Rundle. (70) Maskepetoon's son, Benjamin, came to stay with Rundle in 1843 and travelled with him extensively until Benjamin died in 1847.

Rundle's relationships with Indians were not limited to Maskepetoon or his family. His journal outlines many friendships that spanned the life of his mission with others such as Makokis, Tanazebechagge and Tuti.

An interview collected in 1954 indicates that Rundle made a lasting impression on the Stoney Indians. Eliza Hunter, then 72 years old, told of the tribe's oral recollection of Rundle's first visit to Rocky Mountain House in 1841. According to Hunter, members of the tribe returning to camp after a trading expedition reported that a man who worked for the Great Spirit was at the fort. She says all the Stoneys went to Rocky Mountain House to hear Rundle. She said they then quit their sins and have been Christians ever since. (71)

As alluded to earlier, Jackson's biography on Jemmy Jock Bird is another example of the bad press Rundle has received. Jackson uses the example of the time Bird walked away from his translating job after Rundle scolded him for not translating accurately. Rundle's condescending manner illustrated how little understanding Rundle had of the culture and how poorly he related to native people, Jackson claims. (72) It might have been fairer to Rundle if Jackson had selected examples from the relationship Rundle had with Bird after it had matured. Instead, Jackson picked an incident that took place in 1841, the first year Rundle travelled in the field. (73)

The disagreement certainly did not end the relationship between the two men. They were travelling together within months, although Rundle does not describe exactly what their relationship was. By 1846 Bird once again acted as an interpreter for Rundle. (74) In the summer of 1847 Rundle held services in Bird's tent. (75) Bird allowed Rundle to baptize his infant daughter. (76) In his last year in the field, Bird was one of Rundle's principal aides, although tension remained to the end over the accuracy of Bird's translations. (77) Rundle could not force Bird, or any other person in Rupert's Land, to listen to him. The fact their relationship, and Rundle's relationships with other Indians, continued for years proves that Rundle could indeed relate to the Plains Indians.

Rundle was not a "man of consequence" and perhaps even acted a bit of a fool, but this would not necessarily have hurt his image in the eyes of the people he was trying to serve. According to George Bird Grinnell, a major figure in Blackfoot mythology was Na'pi or Old Man. Grinnell says that he was a curious mixture of opposite attributes. His power was spoken of respectfully in relation to the creation, but at other times Na'pi was impotent and so helpless he needed the assistance of animals. "He is a combination of strength, weakness, wisdom, folly, childishness and malice." (78)

Except for malice, Rundle combined the same attributes. According to John C. Ewers, the ability to read and write was respected among the Indians and that skill would have granted Rundle power. (79) Offering salvation in the next life would have been seen as a significant gift. On the other hand, Rundle travelled with a cat stuffed in his jacket, dressed like a clown and constantly needed someone to rescue him during his travels.

If Rundle has been given "poor press" as Hutchinson claims and recent publications confirm, it seems likely this was because he found he could serve little purpose inside the HBCo system as a private soldier in Simpson's army. The role of fort chaplain was not valued by the traders. They amply demonstrated their views by staying away from Rundle's services. His role as tutor to Rowand and Simpson's children may have justified his existence from the HBCo point of view, but it was not likely to satisfy Rundle's call to serve his church. Outside the fort, he could not play the part of a "man of consequence," as Simpson and Rowand would have wished.

Rundle may have appeared an embarrassment to the HBCo officers, but in fact he proved to have remarkable qualities. Rundle showed courage and endurance in taking his message to aboriginal people. He earned the respect of the Indians in spite of the fact they were under no obligation to listen to him. No matter how the 21st century observer views the subsequent effect of missionaries on Indians, in terms of accomplishing his personal goals without substantial compromise to his ideals, Rundle's mission was an accomplishment. He continually revealed himself as a humble and self-effacing man, but there is no reason to believe he was disappointed with himself or rejected by the Plains Indians.


(1) Fred Stenson, The Trade. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntrye Ltd., 2000, 250.

(2) Stenson, 286-7.

(3) Gerald M. Hutchinson, "Introduction" in The Rundle Journals 1840-1848, ed. Hugh A. Dempsey & G.M. Hutchinson. Calgary: Historical Society of Alberta, 1977, ix.

(4) As will be discussed later in this essay, James Evans encouraged his parishioners not to work on Sunday. His reputation was tarnished after he accidentally shot and killed a man and later allegedly had an affair with a native woman.

(5) N. Jaye Goossen, "The Relationship of the Church Missionary Society and the Hudson's Bay Company in Rupert's Land, 1821 to 1860," MA Thesis, University of Manitoba, 1974, 2.

(6) Vera Kathrin Fast, "The Protestant Missionary and Fur Trade Society: Initial Contact in the Hudson's Bay Territory, 1820-1850," Ph.d dissertation, University of Manitoba, 1983, 38.

(7) Goossen, 41.

(8) Fast, 60.

(9) Letter, George Simpson to James Evans, July 27, 1841, quoted in Hutchinson, xxviii-xxix.

(10) Goossen, 100.

(11) Fast, 7 and 43.

(12) Frits Pannekoek, Dictionary of Canadian Biography On Line, (volume XII) 1891-1900.

(13) Fast, 91.

(14) Letter, John Rowand, to George Simpson, January 4, 1841, quoted in Hutchinson, xxiv.

(15) Robert Terrill Rundle, The Rundle Journals 1840-1848. Calgary: Historical Society of Alberta, 1977, 209.

(16) John Webster Grant, Moon of Wintertime. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984, 145

(17) Grant, 145.

(18) Letter, Rundle to Evans, January 6, 1844, quoted in The Rundle Journals, 149.

(19) Ibid., 50.

(20) G.P. deT. Glazebrook, ed. The Hargrave Correspondence, 1821-1843. Toronto: The Champlain Society, 441-42.

(21) Hutchinson, xxiii.

(22) Fast, 262.

(23) The Rundle Journals, entry for January 6, 1848, 288.

(24) Fast, 262

(25) The Rundle Journals, entries for January 1, 1848, January 2, 1847, January 1,2,3, 1848, 212, 250, 288.

(26) Hutchinson, xliii.

(27) Ibid., xlii.

(28) Letter, Rundle to James Evans, May 25,1843, in The Rundle Journals, 131.

(29) Heather Devine, "Les Desjarlais: The Development and Dispersion of a Proto-Metis Hunting Band, 1785-1870," in Theodore Binnema, Gerhard J. Ens & R.C. McLeod, From Rupert's Land to Canada. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2001, 150; and John E. Foster, "Wintering, The Outside Adult Male and Ethnogenisis," in Theodore Binnema, Gerhard J. Ens & R.C. McLeod, From Rupert's Land to Canada. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press 2001, 188.

(30) The Rundle Journals, entry for September 29, 1840, 39.

(31) Grant, 145.

(32) The Rundle Journals, entry for February 21, 1842, 1 01.

(33) The Rundle Journals, entry for January 17,1841 and April 28, 1841, 50, 68.

(34) The Rundle Journals, entry for May 25, 1847, 261.

(35) The Rundle Journals, entry for July 26, 1847, 278-9.

(36) Memo written in England, in The Rundle Journals, 316-7 and William S. Gladstone, The Gladstone Diary. Travels in the Early West. Lethbridge: Historic Trails Society of Alberta, 1985, 12.

(37) The Rundle Journals, entry for Nov. 9, 1844, 164-5.

(38) Hutchinson, xxxii

(39) Gerald M. Hutchinson, "Robert Terrill Rundle," in Canadian Methodist Society Papers (June 1978), quoted in Fast, 83-84.

(40) The Rundle Journals, entry for May 26, 1847, 261-62.

(41) The Rundle Journals, entry for July 25, 1847, 315.

(42) Paul Kane, Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America. Toronto: Radisson Society, 1925, 79.

(43) Letter, John Rowand to Sir George Simpson, December 29 1846. Hudson's Bay Company Archives D5/18, quoted in Hutchinson, I: 50.

(44) The Rundle Journals, entry for March 19, 1846, 216.

(45) Jean Pierre De Smet as quoted in Keith Wilson, Robert Terrill Rundle. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1986, 34

(46) The Rundle Journals, entry for April 17, 1843, 124.

(47) The man killed was a French Canadian freeman named Jean-Baptiste Piche who by the early 1840s headed his own Plains Cree band and could at various times of the year be found in large Cree encampments that included Maskepetoon. He met Rundle in August 1843 at a large encampment south of Gull Lake, While he did not attend services, he visited with Rundle twice. This Piche was likely the father of Bobtail, a future Cree chief.

(48) The Rundle Journals, entry for August 15, 1843; and letter, Rundle to James Evans, January 6, 1844, 136, 146-47.

(49) Hutchinson, xxxix.

(50) The Rundle Journals, letter, Rundle to James Evans, August 7, 1846, 226.

(51) The Rundle Journals, letter, Rundle to Benjamin Sinclair, undated but written as Rundle was leaving th country, 317-19.

(52) The Rundle Journals, letter, Rundle to John Rowand, undated but written as Rundle was leaving the country, 319.

(53) The Rundle Journals, letter, Rundle to James Evans, July 15, 1944, 156-58.

(54) Hutchinson, lxii.

(55) Raymond Morris Shirritt-Beaumont, "The Rossville Scandal 1846: James Evans, the Cree and a Mission on Trial." MA thesis, University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg, 2001, 125.

(56) Fast, 7.

(57) Hugh A. Dempsey, ed., Heaven is Near the Rocky Mountains: The Journals and Letters of Thomas Woolsey 1855-1869. Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 1989, 24, 100, 138.

(58) Irene M. Spry, ed.., The Papers of the Palliser Expedition, 1857-1869. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1968, 342.

(59) Egerton R. Young, By Canoe and Dog Train Among the Cree and Salteaux Indians. Toronto: W. Briggs, 1890, 10.

(60) John Maclean, The Indians, Their Manners and Customs. Toronto: W. Briggs, 1889, 345.

(61) John C. Jackson, Jemmy Jock Bird, Marginal Man on the Blackfoot Frontier Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2003, 95-105.

(62) Fast, 111.

(63) Letter of July 17, 1840, in The Bundle Journals, 30.

(64) The Bundle Journals, entry for July 24, 1847, 277-78.

(65) Glenbow Archives, M 1080.

(66) Hutchinson, op. cit.

(67) J. P. Berry. Maskepetoon, Alberta's First Martyr to Peace. Toronto: The United Church of Canada, 1945, page one of unnumbered pamphlet.

(68) Hugh A. Dempsey, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 537.

(69) The Rundle Journals, entry for August 12, 1843 and September 1, 1843, 136, 138.

(70) The Bundle Journals, entry for June 22, 1846, 224.

(71) Ella Elizabeth Clark, Indian Legends of Canada. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1960, 167-68.

(72) Jackson, 96, 97.

(73) The Rundle Journals, letter, Rundle to John Rowand, May 8, 1841, 69-72.

(74) The Rundle Journals, entry for October 25, 1846, 242.

(75) The Rundle Journals, entry for May 31, 1847, 263.

(76) The Rundle Journals, entry for June 6, 1847, 265.

(770 The Rundle Journals, entry for April 27, 1848, 306.

(78) George Bird Grinnell, Blackfoot Lodge Tales: The Story of a Prairie People. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 257.

(79) John C. Ewers, Plains Indian History and Culture: Essays on Continuity and Change. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997, 209.

Daniel Johns, a part time graduate student at the University of Alberta, is a former journalist and is currently employed as an investigator by the Alberta Ombudsman.
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