praying Indians

praying Indians,

name for Native North Americans who accepted Christianity. Although many different groups are called by this name, e.g., the Roman Catholic Iroquois of St. Regis, it was more commonly applied to those Native Americans of E Massachusetts who were organized into villages by the Puritan missionary John EliotEliot, John,
1604–90, English missionary in colonial Massachusetts, called the Apostle to the Indians. Educated at Cambridge, he was influenced by Thomas Hooker, became a staunch Puritan, and emigrated from England.
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. In 1674 there were seven principal praying towns—Hassanamesit, Magunkaquog, Nashobah, Natick, Okommakamesit, Punkapog, and Wamesit. Natick, founded in 1651, was the oldest. In King Philip's War (1675) the praying Indians were practically destroyed by the other Native Americans, who viewed them as traitors, and by the English, who thought they were secret allies of King Philip. From a population of 1,100 in 1674, they were reduced to 300 by 1680.
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Their topics include apostates in the woods: Quakers, praying Indians, and circuits of communication in Humphrey Norton's New England's Ensigne; strong expressions of regard: Native diplomats and Quakers in early national Philadelphia; the meddlesome friend: Philip Evan Thomas among the Onondowa'ga 1838-61; of African and Indian descent: creating mission and memory in western Ohio 1805-50; and Quaker roles in making and implementing federal Indian policy: from Grant's peace policy through the early Dawes Act era 1869-1900.
These included public testimonies of conversion by first-generation English migrants, conversion testimonies by Christian southern Algonquians or "praying Indians," deathbed testimonies by Anglo women and children and by Indians, and Jonathan Edwards's revival of a public testimony of faith.
Gookin was appointed the first Superintendent of the Praying Indians. One such community was established in Grafton (Hassanamesset).
The intentional community process for the praying Indians began not long after Eliot commenced his missionary work.
For example, from the outset of his experiments Eliot wanted praying Indians to retain traditional medical practices "virtuous in the way of physic" and to share them with Puritan settlers.
He had established Natick as a native village for "praying Indians" in 1657.
Over the next three decades, Eliot translated the Bible and many other tracts into the Algonquian language, formed several "praying towns" of Indian converts, established schools and congregations, raised funds in England by publishing almost annual accounts of his accomplishments, defended his "praying Indians" against their Indian and white detractors, and persuaded dozens if not hundreds of natives to forgo their customary beliefs for the hope of salvation through God's grace.
He reported numerous instances of backsliding, and it is clear that many "praying Indians" followed older subsistence patterns rather than remaining settled in their towns the year round.
Eliot helped Native Americans set up independent communities, the oldest and best-known of which was at Natick, in addition to schools and seminaries, but all these were swept away in King Philip's War (1675-76), when the <IR> PRAYING INDIANS </IR> were caught between the unconverted ones and the whites.
Hazen, a Seventh-day Adventist, has included so-called "praying Indians" or Christian Indians, in the script, a true aspect of the story.