Browse Exhibits (14 total)

Christianity Conquers


Christianity swept through the western part of America throughout the 19th and 20th century. It conquered native religions and diminished their cultures. Through the works of Father Paul Prando and Father Edward Griva, we are able to track the changes in interaction and culture over 40 years.

Father Grivas travels can be tracked on this interactive map:

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Catholicism as a Meeting Space Between Two Cultures


The photographs in this exhibit and much of the background research that accompanies them come the archives of the the Oregon Province of Jesuits. This exhibit also drew largely from the writings of Father Edward Griva, including written sources from both his diary as well as his brief account of the missions at Nespelem. Father Edward Griva was a unique person at the time, speculated to be the only white person to be able to speak and write the Yakima language. While he was very socially progressive with respect to the Native culture, Father Griva still wrote from a white, Jesuit perspective.

These photos were taken from the St. Ignatius Mission Collection, Jesuit Oregon Province Archives and they provide insight into the changing relationship between the Native people and white people.

Father Griva tended to stick to the areas surrounding Nespelem. More broadly, he largely stuck to the Colville Reservation and the area immediately surrounding. The documents that are being analyzed are largely from 1910-1930, so this is a period of time where tensions between Native people and white people have settled and the communities have started to come together, largely through Catholicism.


Patrick Leon, Rito Karashima

Evolution of social relationships between natives and whites

Encountering Faith on the Plateau


Jesuit missions heading west established missions in the heart of Plateau Indian country. Occupying lard swaths of Eastern Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Canada. For the next 80 years Jesuit attempts at converting and indoctrinating native peoples would be strained by conflicts between native Americans and western settlers, and disease. However, a transition period began, where Jesuits, western settlers, and Native Americans began using spirituality and religion as a place of common ground.


Jesuit Sacraments of the Columbia Plateau


This exhibit details archival records regarding three Jesuit Sacraments on the Columbia Plateau: Confession, Communion and Confirmation. There were a variety of differences in culture between the Jesuit missionaries and the Native Americans of the Plateau. However, the ceremonial nature of the sacraments struck a chord with a variety of Native Americans and they often led to an increased interest and connection with Catholicism. 

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Feast of Corpus Christi


In this exibit are photographs documenting different aspects of the Feast of Corpus Christi, celebrated every year throughout the Catholic Church. These photographs come from the Archives of the Jesuits West Province and depict Corpus Christi Feasts at various Jesuit missions on the Colombian Plateau in the early 20th century. Once thought of by the Jesuits as a pristine Native paradise, the Plateau was one of the last regions in the United States to come into direct contact with White culture. 

The photographs in this exhibit are a conglomoration of various Corpus Christi Feasts at Jesuit missions across the Plateau in the mid-1920s. 

Much of the textual information provided in this exhibit comes from the first hand accounts of Edward Griva, a Jesuit missionary to the Plateau in the early 20th century. While on the Plateau, Griva diligently documented his expeirences in a journal, providing a window into the religious interactions between Natives and Whites. In a seperate account, Griva gives a detailed record of his involvement in, and observations of, multiple Corpus Christi Feasts in May and June of 1926.

In conjunction, the photographs and primary source documents demonstrate the ways in which Natives interacted with, and participated in, an important yearly Jesuit ritual, as seen through a White lens. 

The Feast of Corpus Christi was a highly ceremonial affair, including a great procession with multiple benedictions along the way. This exhibit showcases the various stages of the celebration: leaving the church, processing, stopping for benedicitons, and returning to the church. The photographs are ogranized into subpages based on the stages of the celebration they depict.

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Religious Interactions at Nespelem


This exhibit focuses on the religious interactions between the Jesuit missionaries and native people living in Nespelem. Nespelem is located on the Colville Indian Reservation in Northeastern Washington state. This part of the reservation was home to about 500 natives who had all for the most part been baptized by previous Catholic missionaires. When Jesuit missionary Father Edward Griva arrived at Nespelem in 1915, most of the native people were indifferent towards the Catholic religion and Fr. Griva felt destined by God to fix their "pagan" ways. 

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Catholic Ceremonies on the Plateau


Tradition and ceremonies are central to the Catholic religion. On the Plateau, the Jesuit missionaries shared their religion with the Native Americans through a number of different sacraments and celebrations, notably the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation and the Corpus Christi celebration. 

There are seven holy sacraments in the Catholic tradition, and they are various ceremonies where Catholics are able to connect with God's grace. The sacraments include baptism, receiving the Eucharist, being confirmed into the church, reconciling one's sins, annointing of the sick, marriage, and holy orders, or becoming a priest. Our exhibit highlights the holy sacraments of First Communion, or recieving the Eucharist, and Confirmation, as well as the Corpus Christi celebration, which is not a sacrament. 

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Interactions between Missionaries and Children of the Columbia Plateau Region


Interactions between the Jesuit Priests and the Native American Tribes of the Columbia Plateau region were dynamic and complex interactions.  The purpose of this exhibit is to begin to shed light on some of the specific missions built by the Jesuit Priests, as well as to begin to understand the methods of conversion and evangalizing of the Native peoples of this region.  This exhibit consists of primary sources, primarily photographs, taken by Jesuit priests at these missions, depicting Native children and adults throughout the conversion process.  

Many priests focused on the Native children in terms of teaching and evanglizing, as the children were more succesible to learing new ways of life, and with the goal that these children would then live a Catholic life, and be able to pass on these teachings to future generations.  By starting with the children, the Jesuits sought to evangelize future generations of Native peoples.

The conversion of these children consisted of both cultural and religious changes.  The cultural aspect of change consisted of Western attire and cutting of their hair, as well as teaching English.  In terms of religious conversion, glass lantern slides were commonly used to visually teach both children and adults the teachings of Catholisism.  There is lots of evidence of First Communions, particularly at the Sacred Heart Mission, which is evidence of the conversion of many Native children.  

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Intersectionality of Cultures

This section seeks to explore the different ways in which Native American's and the Jesuit priests interacted both inside and outside of the mission school. The Exhibit offers multiple perspectives for the ways in which their was an intentional blurring of cultures by both the Jesuits and Native Peoples.

The Mission Grounds

This exhibit is important for us as readers to visualize the setting of the novel and the places each character travels. Within you will find images of the St. Ignatius Church, the Jesuit House, the Mission School, the Mission Hospital, the Sisters Quarters, and various Native American Huts.