Bishop Newnham, who entered upon his work in the Diocese of Saskatchewan in July, 1904, has been good enough to send the Committee an account of his visits to some of the Society's stations in his diocese. He found that although the Cree spoken in the North-West Territory is different from that of his former [440/441] diocese of Moosonee, yet he was able to converse a little with the Indians whom he met.
The work at Prince Albert was under the superintendence of the Rev. J. Hines, the Rev. J. Taylor being in charge of Emmanuel College. Besides receiving a general education, the thirty boys in the college are trained in various branches of farm-work, while the twenty-one girls are taught all kinds of useful household work. Two of the children gained third-class certificates in the examination of the Department of Education for the North-West Territories. Sturgeon Lake, twenty-four miles from Prince Albert, is said to be the stronghold of Heathenism in those parts. Mr. Hines says:--
The only reason I can give is the close proximity of the people to the town of Prince Albert. They cannot understand why white people make themselves drunk and violate the sanctity of the Sabbath, if it is wrong to do so, because, according to their idea, white people must know right from wrong. They therefore do not think it is wrong to follow the example thus set them by the whites, and hence most of the Indians belonging to this reserve are addicted to drink, and if it suits them they work as freely on Sunday as on Monday. Of course, Christianity forbids such conduct, and hence it is they will not embrace it. We preach Christ to them as the Saviour from sin, but as they do not realize themselves to be sinners, they see no necessity for a Saviour.
In January, 1905, Bishop Newnham dedicated a new church at Pahoonan. The return journey was made under trying circumstances. Mr. Hines, who accompanied the Bishop, writes:--
We sat in our sleigh for four hours, and drove twenty-four miles against a slight head-wind, with the thermometer wavering between 45 and 50 deg. below zero. The Bishop had to get out and run to keep himself from freezing, and we had to watch each other's faces, and report at once when we discovered the first sign of frost-bite, so that friction might be applied immediately; but in spit of all our watchfulness the king of the North stole a march upon us and bit the Bishop on his cheeks and me on my nose!
At St. James's, on John Smith's Reserve, eighteen miles from Prince Albert, where the Rev. J. Badger laboured until his death (which has been recorded above, page 436), all the people are Christians. Mr. Badger baptized one man at Nepowewin, thirty-five miles from St. James's, where there are still a few Heathen. The Rev. E. Cook, who is in Deacons' Orders, was quasi-pastor at Sandy Lake, seventy miles from Prince Albert.
A good deal of sickness prevailed among the Indians at STANLEY, where the Rev. R. McLennan had his head quarters, and the older generation of Indians is fast passing away. There were more than 100 communicants on Easter Day, 1904. Mr. McLennan spent some time at Big Stone, and also visited Pelican Narrows and Montreal Lake. Twenty-eight children were baptized during the year.
The Rev. M. B. Edwards was stationed at DEVON. At Cumberland, where the Rev. J. R. Settee had 217 baptized [441/442] Christians under his care, the people remained true to the teaching of the Bible, notwithstanding the efforts made to win them over to Rome.
The Rev. D. D. Macdonald was transferred from Sandy Lake to BATTLEFORD in October, 1903. In the following spring an outbreak of small-pox on the reserves caused much trouble. At Thunderchild's Reserve the sickness made the Indians exceptionally ready to hear the Gospel. All the people on the Assiniboine Reserve are Heathen with the exception of the woman whose baptism was recorded in last year's Report (page 444). At Red Pheasant's Reserve, where the Rev. R. Inkster continued his labours, all the Indians have embraced Christianity.
The boarding-school at FORT PITT, on Onion Lake, under the Rev. J. R. Matheson, contains about fifty pupils. Mrs. Matheson carried on the medical work, which proved a great help in making the Gospel known. Appreciative mention is made by Mr. Matheson in his Annual Letter of the colonists at Lloydminster, thirty-file miles to the south of his station. One adult was baptized.