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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Gookin transferred 3,000 praying Indians to Deer Island in Boston Harbor.
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.
Moreover, Cogley has wisely created several appendixes, including one on individual praying Indian settlements.
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.