How do you gain the trust of Indigenous people?
Note: Below is advice given to missionaries for converting Native people. Do you think it was good advice? Why?
Excerpt: “Endear yourself to the savages first. Try to have them become attached to you through small gestures such as bringing a burning mirror to make fire during the day so they can smoke the pipe. Try to eat their sagamite1 without disgust, and have a snack in the morning because the “barbarians” only eat at sunrise and sunset when travelling. Be quick to sit in the canoe and disembark nimbly, taking care to roll up your robes so they do not become wet. Above all, do not become troublesome to the savages, endure their shortcomings in silence. If you must reprimand them, do it with loving gestures and words and not with aversion. Remember that small gifts please the Indians; supply yourself with a half-dozen awls2, two or three dozen small knives… to use for buying food. When portaging, try to help them by carrying a few things according to your strength. If fine words fail you, be a kind face to the Natives you meet. Do it for Jesus Christ who is our true greatness, it is only he and his cross that we must seek in running after these peoples.”
1 Cornmeal porridge.
2 Iron punch used for piercing and sewing leather.
Author: BOUCHARD Claude and Robert LAGASSÉ. Nouvelle-France, Canada, Québec. Histoire du Québec et du Canada, Montréal, Beauchemin, 1986, p. 35.