This Division of the N.W. America Mission covers the same area as the Diocese of Saskatchewan.
The almost complete disappearance of the buffalo this winter is compelling the Indians of these parts to settle down to agriculture, and this is affording increased opportunities for Missionary work among them. Another still more evidently advantageous circumstance is the absence of strong drink, which is now prohibited by law throughout the North-West territories.
The warm friendship and support of the Bishop is also a great help to the Mission. The Bishop's own place of residence, PRINCE ALBERT'S SETTLEMENT, may now be regarded as one of the Society's stations. It is the locality of EMMANUEL COLLEGE, which serves as the TRAINING INSTITUTION for the Society's Saskatchewan Mission; and t is also the abode and [247/148] head-quarters of the Rev. J. A. Mackay, the Society's Saskatchewan Secretary.
At the TRAINING INSTITUTION there were, at the commencement of this year, eight students receiving instruction in Cree and English. The Holy Scriptures, Paley's Evidences, with exercises in Cree and English composition, and in translations from one language into the other, were some of the subjects of study. One of the late students of the College, Mr. John Sinclair, who has been lately labouring at Stanley, was admitted to deacon's orders on 1st February, 1880.
Besides helping in the College, Mr. Mackay has charge of a Mission at an Indian settlement on a reserve on the South branch of the Saskatchewan, about fifteen or twenty miles from Prince Albert's. The population at this South branch settlement is composed of Indians from various parts of the country, the largest proportion being from St. Peter's Indian Settlement, Red River. (The Immigrants from St. Peter's are, it need scarcely be said, professing Christians.) The Reserve comprises forty square miles of excellent farming land. There seems to be good prospect that the settlers, all Indians of course, will form a prosperous community.
Nepowewin, which is a day's journey from the South Branch Reserve, may, for the present, be regarded as an out-station from Prince Albert's, though it is in contemplation to locate there the Rev. J. Settee. The Communicants at Nepowewin number 32; and a school has been opened, one of the Christian Indians of the place being appointed teacher.
BATTLEFORD, the seat of Government, has been one of the Society's stations for more than two years. Its Missionary, the Rev. T. A. Clarke, records, with much gratitude, the extreme kindness of Mr. Laird, the Lieutenant-Governor, whose guest Mr. Clarke was during the whole of the winter months. Nearly all the Indians whom Mr. Clarke has met with, are willing to receive Christian instruction. Not only are the Cree services at Battleford itself well attended; but much encouragement has been met with at two Indian Reserves in this neighbourhood. In both of these settlements Christian Indians are found. These are mostly from St. Peter's, Red River; and some of them exert themselves successfully for the evangelization of their heathen neighbours. At one of these Reserves (Mikisiwuchee) fourteen persons, six adults and eight children, were baptized between Christmas and April; and upwards of seventy Indians assembled at the Sunday service when Mr. Clarke visited the place. At the other Reserve, the chief is exceedingly friend to the [148/149] mission, though he does not seem as yet to have asked for baptism.
The Native Adherents connected with ASISIPI number 217, of whom 22 are Communicants. Eight adults were baptized during the year. The year 1879 was one of great hardships, owing to the scarcity of the fur-bearing animals. Much wheat was sown in the spring, and an abundant harvest was vouchsafed; but even when the Indians suffered much from sickness, not being accustomed to a purely farinaceous diet. Increased and more varied cultivation of the land, which they are now adopting, will doubtless remedy this evil. Meanwhile their constant attendance at church, and their cheerfulness under all their difficulties, prove to Mr. Hines that "they are seeking after the peace which comes from God." The heathen Indians of the neighbourhood have begun to observe the Sabbath and to abandon polygamy.
The work at STANLEY was, during the year 1879, under the care of the Rev. S. Trivett, who has recently been bereaved of his beloved partner. Mrs. Trivett had begun to make herself very useful; but the Committee, as Mr. Trivett himself, believe in the Wisdom and Love that ordered her removal. The Indians show an earnest desire to be present at the house of prayer. During the winter months some of them came in on Saturday evening for the Sunday services from a distance of ten or twelve miles. The largest number of Communicants was on the Sunday after Mrs. Trivett's death, 21st September, 1879, when 99 commemorated the Saviour's dying love at the holy table. In the course of the year the foundation of the church gave way; but the necessary repairs were effected by the voluntary labour of the Indians.--There is an out-station at a place called Pelican Narrows. The Romanists have a mission there; but the Protestant Indians connected with it stand firm. They number altogether about 100. Some of them reside at Nelson River.--Mr. Trivett has probably by this time been rejoined by Mr. Sinclair, who was to proceed to Stanley after having been ordained deacon in February, 1880, and priest in the following month.