Project Canterbury

An Historical Sketch of the Diocese of Saskatchewan of the Anglican Church of Canada

By W. F. Payton, Archdeacon Emeritus

Prince Albert: The Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan, 1974.

Appendices, Bibliography and Addendum


The Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission of Authority to the Right Reverend John McLean as Bishop of Saskatchewan.

To all Christian people to whom these Presents shall come, and in particular to the Clergy and Laity of the Church of England in the region comprising the District of the Saskatchewan and English River, with the sub-district of Fort a la Come, in the Cumberland District, in Her Majesty's Dominion of Canada, Greeting.

Whereas by a Mandate under the Sign Manual and Signet of Her Majesty the Queen, bearing date the seventeenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-four, after therein reciting that We, the undersigned Archibald Campbell, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, had humbly applied to Her Majesty for Her Majesty's License by Warrant, under Her Sign Manual and Signet, authorizing and empowering Us to Consecrate the Venerable John McLean, Archdeacon of the Province of Manitoba in the Dominion of Canada to be a Bishop to the intent that he should exercise his functions in one of Her Majesty's Possessions abroad. We were authorized and empowered by Her Majesty to Consecrate the said John McLean to be a Bishop. And whereas in pursuance of the said Mandate and Authority We, assisted by the Lord Bishop of London, the Lord Bishop of St. Asaph and other Bishops did on Sunday, the third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-four, in the Parish Church of St. Mary, Lambeth, in the County of Surrey, duly Consecrate the said John McLean to be a Bishop. Now therefore We, the Right Honorable and Most Reverend Archibald Campbell, by Divine Providence Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England and Metropolitan, do by these Presents pronounce, decree and declare that the said Right Reverend John McLean is invested with all authority, Episcopal and ordinary, within the limits of the District of the Saskatchewan and English River, with the Sub-District of Fort a la Corne in the Cumberland District aforesaid, heretofore part of the Diocese of Rupert's Land, to the end that he may exercise within the same limits all spiritual functions appertaining to his office.

And we do hereby testify that the said assignment is hereby made with the consent and at the request of the Right Reverend Robert, Lord Bishop of Rupert's Land.

Given at Lambeth under our hand and Archi-Episcopal Seal this twentieth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-four, and in the sixth year of our Translation.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered by the above named Archibald Campbell, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, in the presence of Harry Wilmot Lee, 2 Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, S.W.

A. C. Cantuar.


Visit of Rev. Jas. Hunter to the Settee Mission, Lac la Ronge, (on Kenderdine Island) 1847. Extracts from the Journal of Mr. Hunter, Church Missionary Society Records; Microfilm copy in the Public Archives of Canada; Series C1/M, Mission Books (Incoming letters), 1822-1882, pp. 332-333; Roll A79.

"June 30 (1847). Took leave of the Indians this morning and made towards Lac la Ronge accompanied by two canoes of Indians who are going with me for Instruction and Baptism. Breakfasted on the Rapid Portage which is about one mile in length and where there is a fall of about 70 feet in height presenting a grand appearance, crossed the 'Wahpus Honekaph' or Rabbit Portage about one mile in length and dropped our canoe into the waters of the Lac-la-Ronge. After 14 days travelling I felt thankful that my journey was nearly ended and that the rapids and portages were over; about 4 o'clock arrived at Mr. J. Settee's house, which is pleasantly situated at the base of immense granite rocks of 2 and 300 feet in height; the Mission house is about 27 feet in length and 16 in breadth, has a southern aspect and consists of two rooms; a patch of ground has been cleared this Spring and sown with barley and potatoes the former of which was looking remarkably well; and the whole establishment speaks well for Settee's industry and perseverence, considering the short time he has been located here, and the many hindrances in his work from sickness, journeys, etc. The Company's establishment is on the opposite side of the lake where the Indians were [164/165] encamped, who on my arrival were to be seen on the hill with their children to catch a view of their long expected visitor, and on my landing at the Mission house they all came paddling in their canoes to welcome my arrival; their Christian affection and joy almost overcame my feelings, and it was plainly discernible that the power of the Gospel was felt and recognized in this place. Lac la Ronge is about 500 miles from the Cumberland station and about 1000 from Red River; and it is my privilege to be the first Clergyman that ever visited that neighbourhood. Held Divine Service in the evening, when the house was literally crowded, and appointed tomorrow for examining the Candidates for Baptism, and administering that ordinance.

July 1. ... it was my privilege to baptize 48 adults and 59 children, making a total of 107 persons, the first fruits of a station not yet established one year. . . .

July 2. ...

July 3. ... After Morning Prayers the Indians all came and took an affectionate farewell, earnestly entreating that a Minister might be sent to reside among them. Parents pressed forward their children that they might shake hands with the 'Aiyah-mehow Hookemow' or Praying Chief; some of them also cut off the branches of a tall Pine near the Mission house, excepting at the top as a memento of my visit and afterwards fired a salute round the tree; at my departure they fired their guns which they continued to do until we were out of hearing, several canoes also accompanied me down the lake unwilling as it were to leave me. I hope I shall ever retain a grateful remembrance of my visit among this dear people; and their kindness, but above all their growth in grace and love of the Saviour have more than recompensed me for the dangers and fatigues of the journey. Crossed Rabbit and Rapid Portages and encamped in the evening below the Kettle Island Portage."


Obituary of Rev. Henry Budd in "The Gleaner" published by the Church Missionary Society, London, England subsequent to his death.

Many readers of The Gleaner, to whom the name of Henry Budd has been held in affection and honour for years, will have experienced a shock of regret at the announcement of his death. But many others, no doubt, have yet to learn who and what he was; and we take the opportunity afforded by the sad news lately received to present a portrait of our late revered brother, and a brief sketch of his career.

In the month of August, 1820, the first missionary to the Red Indians of Rupert's Land, the Rev. John West, landed at York Factory, Hudson's Bay. He immediately proceeded on the long and toilsome journey by canoe up the Nelson River to Lake Winnipeg. In that boat, besides the crew, there were with him two young Indian boys, dirty, half-clad, and quite uncivilised, given to him en route by their fathers to be educated. On the voyage, Mr. West tried to teach them a little about their Creator and Redeemer, and made them say this prayer: "Great Father, bless me, through Jesus Christ our Lord". After their arrival at Red River, they made good progress in English and knowledge of the Scriptures, and three years later they received baptism at his hands, and were named John Hope and Henry Budd, the latter from a well-known clergyman at home.

On leaving school, Henry Budd entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, but in 1837 he was invited by the missionaries to take charge of a school at Red River, and in that capacity he displayed so much intelligence and faithfulness, that when, in 1840, it was desired to open a new Mission station at Cumberland Lake, nearly 500 miles to the north-west, the young native schoolmaster was commissioned to this service. Accompanied by his wife and mother, he went forth into the wilds, to gather together the scattered and wandering bands of Cree Indians, and proclaim to them the message of salvation. Two years afterwards, one of the missionaries, Mr. Smithurst, went up to the place where Budd had settled--"The Pas". The voyage along the western banks of Lake Winnipeg and up the River Saskatchewan occupied twenty-six days, and, during all that time, he only saw one human habitation. So isolated was the position of the first Christian Indian sent into the wilderness to bring the wandering sheep into the fold of Christ! The first thing at The Pas that met Mr. Smithurst's eyes was a party of Indian school-children running to meet the "white praying-master"; and, though their.parents were just then away hunting and fishing, [165/166] on the Saturday following a fleet of canoes brought sixty or seventy of them back to spend the Sunday in rest and worship. That evening, and the early part of Sunday, were occupied by Mr. Smithurst in a careful examination of them individually, and then he solemnly baptized 38 adults and 47 children, the fruits of Henry Budd's two years of work.

An ordained missionary was now required for The Pas, and in 1844, the Rev. J. (afterwards Archdeacon) Hunter arrived, and found thirty-one adults and thirty-seven children more ready for baptism. They "came up to the font in families, fathers and mothers giving up themselves and their children to the service of their Lord, while the frequent tear or the loud sob testified to the deep emotion with which they entered into covenant with their God". In another four years nearly all the Indians of the district had cast off their idolatry and put themselves under Christian instruction; 424 had been baptized; and the communicants would, if absent at Christmas and Easter, travel on foot 100 or 200 miles to gather around the Lord's table.

On December 22nd, 1850, Henry Budd was admitted to Holy Orders in St. Andrew's Church, Red River, by Bishop Anderson, the first chief pastor of the Diocese of Rupert's Land. He spent some months beforehand in careful preparation, and the Bishop wrote of him, "He has a good stock of theological knowledge, a very strong and masculine mind, and as regards an examination in pure divinity, he will pass more than an average one". He preached his first sermon at St. Andrew's on Christmas Day to a large congregation of Indians and Half-breeds, in the Cree language. Among his hearers was his own mother, herself also a Christian. What must have been her emotions as she heard him give out his text, "The day spring from on high hath visited us'."

Mr. Budd was stationed for some time at the scene of his previous labours, with Mr. Hunter, and during the latter's absence; but in 1852 he was sent to begin a Mission at Nepowewin, higher up the Saskatchewan and fourteen days' journey west of Cumberland, and there he remained for fifteen years, labouring with unwearied zeal and diligence, though without results in the conversion of the people so remarkable as those in earlier years at The Pas. The first triumph of the Gospel however, was deeply interesting. An old chief named Mansuk had most fiercely resented the idea of a missionary coming there, saying that wherever they went the moose and buffalo disappeared; but when Henry Budd arrived, He who can turn the hearts of our bitterest enemies gave him favour in the sight of old Mansuk, and after some months of diligent instruction, the vanquished chief was baptized on New Year's Day, 1854. He did not long survive, but went peacefully to his rest in June of the same year; and, humanly speaking, the loss of his influence with the people was one cause of the comparative barrenness of Nepowewin.

Still further west, on the Saskatchewan, is Fort Carlton, and this place was visited from time to time by Mr. Budd for the sake of the Indians who frequented it; but his influence had marked effects on the white men there in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company as the following letter, written to Mr. Budd, in 1865, by the Company's agent will show:

"I am happy to state that an evident change has taken place in the minds of some of the men of the fort, specially those of European origin, since your last visit to us. One or two or them particularly were so touched by your last sermon, that they have resolved to turn over a new leaf, and by the grace of God, they have become quite other men. They have, since your departure, kept up regular prayer morning and evening, on Sundays as well as on week days, and they have a considerable influence on the rest of the men. They desire to send their respects and kind regards, and wish you may be able to come and see them soon."

In 1867 Mr. Budd was moved to his old station The Pas, now called Devon, and there he remained up to the time of his death, making missionary journeys as long as his strength allowed it, and faithfully feeding the now settled flock of Native Christians, no longer wandering hunters, but cultivators of their own little farms.

In Mr. Budd's later years it pleased his all-wise and loving Father to afflict him with sad domestic trials. His eldest son Henry, a most promising young man, was brought over to England and educated for the ministry, and, in 1860, was ordained, like his father, at Red River, by Bishop Anderson. But only four years of missionary life was permitted to the younger Budd. He died in 1864; and, within a few weeks, his sister and mother were also taken, leaving the old man bereaved indeed, but submitting with true filial trust to a Father's will. He wrote:

[167] "I do not for one moment doubt a Father's love in all that has befallen, in all that ever shall befall me or mine. I own a Father's hand and a Father's love. I would fain have retained them, but I give way in thankful, adoring, and weeping silence, and say, 'Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight.'"

But this was not all. Four younger sons in succession were taken away in the midst of... -complish in bringing his countrymen within the light of the "day spring from on high"--to quote Henry Budd's first text, already mentioned. But the God of Missions knew. That boy was His "chosen vessel" to bear His name before heathen chiefs and people. Can we doubt that He is even now, unknown to us, fitting other equally unpromising Indians in various parts of that vast continent to carry on the succession of faithful Native clergy begun in the person of Henry Budd.


Bishop McLean's report of a journey to Cumberland House, etc. in 1885, as published by the C.M.S. Intelligencer in January 1886.

July 8th, 1885--Left Prince Albert on the steamer Marquis. She was chartered to convey General Middleton and troops on their homeward journey. The General very courteously invited me to be his guest. The Rev. I. J. Taylor, the C.M.S. missionary at Battleford had come down to Prince Albert by the steamer to see me. I asked him to go on with me as far as Cumberland, that I might have an opportunity of full conversation with him about his mission. The Rev. Canon G. McKay was also with me to act as chaplain through the journey.

9th--I preached to the troops on the lower deck of the steamer.

10th--Reached a point of the river opposite Cumberland House. Here Ven. Archdeacon MacKay and Chief Factor Belanger, of the Hon. Hudson's Bay Company, were waiting to meet me. I left the steamer and embarked with them in a canoe for Cumberland House. Here it was decided not to hold a confirmation until I was on my return journey, but to push on at once to Devon Mission, that we might reach it before Sunday.

I accordingly started in a boat that same evening with Archdeacon MacKay, Canon G. McKay and the Rev. R. McLennan, the Society's missionary at Cumberland. We travelled all that night, and reached Devon on Saturday, the 11th of July, at 4 p.m. I was glad to find that the dwelling-house had been put in an excellent state of repair by Archdeacon MacKay during the period of his residence as missionary in charge.

Sunday, July 12th--A large congregation of Indians assembled in Devon church for the morning service. The prayers were read by the Archdeacon and the Rev. R. McLennan, while I preached fromLevit. xvi. 21, 22, the subject being the scape-goat led into a land of separation, bringing out the separating nature of sin, its tendency to separate man from God and man from his fellow-men and applying it especially to the separation made by the late rebellion between those who ought to live as brethren. Fifty-eight candidates were presented to me for confirmation. I addressed them both before and after the laying on of hands. A second service was held at 3:30 p.m., when I preached from Exodus xvii. 5, 6.

Lined With Canoes

The bank of the river was lined with birch-bark canoes, in which many of the congregation had crossed over for the services. I went round among the people, shaking hands with every man, woman and child, not forgetting even the babies, of whom there was a goodly number. I watched them from the bank as they departed. An Indian would lift up his canoe, carry it easily with one hand to the water; then he and his family would go aboard, and the canoe was swiftly paddled away.

There are 680 Indians in the Devon Mission, all Christians, with the exception of one family of heathens, who live fifty miles from the church. There are two day-schools; the teachers are paid by Government, but are members of the Church of England. One of them, Louis Ahenakew, was brought up at the Asissippi Mission, and then trained for two years at Emmanuel College. He is a young man of excellent character and ability, and has been employed as catechist in the Mission with good results. He has proved himself an acceptable and faithful missionary as well as a successful teacher. In round numbers there are about 2000 Christian Indians connected with the C.M.S. Missions in the Cumberland district, including Stanley.

[168] 13th--Arranged today with Archdeacon MacKay that he should go at once as my commissary to Battleford, for the purpose of reorganizing the C.M.S. there, it having been completely broken up, as one of the many deplorable results of the late rebellion.

I also arranged that Canon George McKay, B.D., should succeed Rev. W. R. Flett, B.A. as C.M.S. missionary and secretary at Prince Albert district, and tutor in Emmanuel College. I further appointed him an archdeacon of the diocese, and arranged that he should travel with me through the C.M.S. Missions.

14th--Consecrated two cemeteries or graveyards in the Devon Mission. One of them is called the Eddy Cemetery, and is about five miles distant from the church, up the river. We were rowed there in a boat. The current was very strong, but we avoided the worst part of it by passing through a marsh into a lake that lay parallel to the river. The still waters of the lake presented a contrast to the rushing torrent of the Saskatchewan. The surface was largely covered with aquatic plants, some with flowers and broad leaves, the leaves floating on the water. There were also large patches of a sweet-smelling flower very like the Scotch "gowan." We landed near the cemetery, and first visited the schoolhouse. Louis Ahenakew, already mentioned, is the teacher.

There were twenty-four children present, fifteen boys and nine girls. They were quiet and attentive, all employed with books or slates when we arrived. I could see that they were making good progress in reading and writing. They sang some hymns very well. I addressed them briefly before I left the school. We then went to the cemetery. It is about an acre in extent, with a neat strong fence. The consecration service of the Prayer Book of the Church of Ireland was used. We formed a procession, I went at the head, followed by the two Archdeacons and by the Indians, about fifty in number, marching two and two all round the cemetery, reading the appointed psalms by alternate verses as we slowly walked. The clergy and myself were fully robed. The day was fine. At the close I pronounced the ground duly consecrated, and then addressed the people on the solemnities of death and judgment, I also spoke of the coming ordination at Devon Church of two Native pastors, expressing the deep interest I took in seeing men of Indian blood trained to preach the Gospel in their mother tongue. I then shook hands with all the people, as did also the Archdeacons. This shaking of hands may be called a great Indian institution. It is one I never omit. We then departed, returning to Devon under sail with a strong, fair wind.

After dinner we sailed down the river for about a mile to a new cemetery, called "Christ Church Cemetery." It is a large one, being about three acres in extent, and it is neatly and strongly fenced. We went through the Consecration Service here, exactly as we did in the morning, there being about fifty people present, who took part in the service. At the close I addressed them on the soul being immediately happy or miserable after death, quoting our Saviour's words to the dying thief and His parable of the rich man in torments.

15th--Left Devon in a York boat, with a crew of five Indians, at 9:50 a.m., Archdeacon McKay being with me, while Archdeacon J. A. MacKay remained at Devon for the purpose of going to Battleford by first steamer. Our intention was to go first of all to the Grand Rapids at Lake Winnipeg, and after visiting the Mission there to take the other Missions on our return journey upstream.

17th--We reached Grand Rapids Mission today, after a prosperous journey. I was pleased to notice that our boat's crew conducted themselves well during the journey. They would sometimes unite in singing Cree hymns when not rowing; sometimes one of them would read aloud to the others from the little Cree hymnbook in the syllabic character.

The Grand Rapids Mission has been under the charge of the Rev. P. Badger for a number of years. The number of Indians here is now reduced to twenty-five families. Mr. Badger is able to minister to a much larger number of people, and it is proposed that he should take charge of Devon in the meantime.

There is a neat, substantial mission-house here, with a plain but commodious chapel. The buildings are prettily situated at the mouth of the river, a fine shingly beach being close to them, with a view of Lake Winnipeg stretching out from the land. Soon after our arrival the chief called. He and one of his councillors have been in the habit of conducting the church services between them, in Mr. Badger's absence, at a small allowance from the Mission grant of fifty cents per Sunday. I said that this allowance would be continued when Mr. Badger went to Devon. We had service [168/169] in the church at 6:30 p.m.; about thirty persons present. Seven candidates were confirmed.

18th--We started on our journey up stream. Our progress is now slow, though we have a crew of eight men, as they have to row and push the boat with poles against the strong current of the river. Mr. Badger is with us, with the view of being ordained priest at Devon. For the next three days the men had to work hard at the oars and poles.

21st--We reached Chemahawin Mission. It is on the Saskatchewan River, near the entrance of Cedar Lake. The word is derived from Cheman, a canoe. They use two canoes with a net dragging between them in catching fish here. The net is something like a bag. The meaning of Chemahawin is the act of canoeing or the using of canoes for fishing. There is no resident missionary here. It is an outpost of Moose Lake Mission, in charge of Mr. J. R. Settee. Mr. Settee visits it from time to time and has induced one of the Indians to read prayers regularly on Sundays, in the school-house. Service was held in the school-house, with about fifty Indians present. I baptized three adults and a child, and then confirmed twenty-eight candidates, including the three adults just baptized--thirteen being males and fifteen females. I addressed them both before and after confirmation, explaining fully in my first address the nature of the vows they were about to take upon them, and pointing them, in my second address, to God's grace as the only power that could enable them to keep their vows, and urging earnest prayer for that grace be given. The service was read from the Cree Prayer-book by Archdeacon G. McKay. We left Chemahawin after the service was over.

22nd--We reached the Hudson's Bay Company's post at Moose Lake at 7:15 p.m. Here we found the Indians for the Mission assembled. Mr. Badger had gone on from Chemahawin in a canoe, to give notice of my being near, and Mr. Settee induced the Indians to paddle in their canoes across the lake, a distance of twenty miles, to meet me, and thus save me an additional journey of nearly two days. This effort was made as otherwise we should have had no chance of reaching Devon before Sunday, and we were all anxious to do so, that the ordination of Mr. Badger and Mr. Settee might be held there on that day. We were hospitably entertained at the Hudson's Bay post by the officer in charge.

23rd--We had breakfast at 5:30 a.m., and then held service at 6 a.m. I baptized six children and two adults, and then confirmed thirty-four candidates, addressing them fully both before and after the laying on of hands, in accordance with my usual practice. There were seventeen of either sex. We left the post immediately after service. Mr. Settee accompanying us. Our object was to reach Devon on Saturday evening. Our boat's crew worked very hard at the oars, and we accomplished our purpose, reaching Devon at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 25th.

Sunday, July 26th--The church was crowded to its utmost capacity at the Ordination Service this morning, several persons remaining outside for want of seats. The candidates for ordination were, Mr. John Richard Settee, for deacons orders; the Rev. Peter Badger, for priest's orders--both of them of Indian blood, trained to preach Christ to their countrymen in their mother tongue, and both of them men of approved Christian character.

The special Psalms were: Psalms lxxii., lxxiv., cxxxiii. The special Lessons: Nehemiah viii, 1-8, 1 Cor. ii. The prayers were read by the Rev. R. McLennan, who had come down from Cumberland to assist at the service. The candidates had been examined and were now presented by the Ven. Archdeacon George McKay, B.D., who, with the Rev. R. McLennan, assisted in the laying on of hands at the ordination of priest. I preached from Joshua i., 8, on the duty of the clergy to study and obey the Word of God, and thus be safe guides or leaders of the people, and on the people's duty to read for themselves, that they might know, like the Bereans of old, "whether these things were so." The special first lesson being from Nenemiah viii. 1-8, I dwelt on the Scribes reading distinctly and giving the sense of Scripture, as a lesson to the clergy on clear, distinct reading, and full and careful exposition of God's Word.

There were 134 communicants at Holy Communion. I gave notice of a second service at 5 p.m., when I should hold a supplementary confirmation and when Mr. Badger would preach. I spoke of the fact of both the newly ordained men being Natives of the country of Indian blood, and of my earnest wish to see the Native race furnishing candidates for Holy Orders. I also spoke of Mr. Settee's father--the aged missionary--the Rev. James Settee--and gave an outline of his long and [169/170] faithful service in the CMS. work. When the service was over we noticed that there were no fewer than 100 canoes on the bank of the river. At 5 p.m. a second service was held, about 200 present, the morning congregation being over 250. I baptized two children, and confirmed 41 candidates at this service, of whom 21 were males and 20 females. A short and appropriate sermon was preached by the Rev. P. Badger.

27th--Examined the Mission Library and stock of Cree books. Had parcels of Prayer-books and Testaments made up for the clergy to take with them to the different missions.

Mr. Badger seems to me to be a man of good natural ability, and of good common sense. I think, too, he is an earnest missionary, and an effective preacher. He is also a man of sound Christian and Evangelical character. He has, however, read very little, so I told him that though he was now in full orders I should wish to take the oversight of his reading for some time.

Mr. Settee appears to me to be also a pious man, of good ability. He is most obliging and kindly in his manner, and I should say he is well calculated to gain the goodwill of the Indians. I was pleased with the amount of his reading. It was very creditable, considering his few opportunities. I also liked the apparent zest with which he undertook to read the books I prescribed for priest's orders. Altogether, I look very hopefully to the future of these two Native brethren.


Written by hand by Canon E. Ahenakew in the Fort a la Corne Parish Register, the following account reads like a story from the Old Testament. Originally recorded in the "Saskatoon Churchman" by Archdeacon J. A. MacKay it describes the experiences of the Bighead Indians after their removal to Fort a la Corne.

Fort a la Corne is one of the old missions in Saskatchewan. It was formerly known as Nepowewin Mission, Fort a la Corne being the name of the Hudson Bay trading post at the same place. The original location was on the North bank of the river, some distance below the present site. The H.B. post was on the south side immediately opposite the mission. There was not a solitary settler in the Country in those days. The prairie was occupied by innumerable herds of buffalo and by bands of roving Indians. The Hudson's Bay Co. kept to the river for transportation and the Missionaries did the same. York boats made the trip to York Factory every summer taking out the proceeds of the Company's trade and bringing back the yearly supplies. The name "Nepowewin" means "standing place." The spot to which the name belongs is a high bank, some distance below the old Mission where a look out used to be kept for the boat returning from York Factory. Later, when Winnipeg became the base of supplies and settlement began to extend westward transportation across the prairie by carts and wagons commenced. Also treaties were made with the Indians, a Reserve was alloted to them and the Mission was moved to the Indian Reserve. The Indians of this mission are (1) the original La Corne Indians, (2) a band of Indians that moved up from Cumberland for the advantage of land fit for cultivation, (3) a portion of a band formerly located at South Branch (their Reserve was situated where now the C.N.R. line Dauphin to Prince Albert crosses the river) and known as Big Head's Band. These Indians under the leadership of a head man named Bighead (Peek-a-hen) at the time of the rebellion of '85 not wishing to take part in the uprising cast its lot with the La Corne Indians, who remained loyal and after the rebellion was quelled they were alloted a Reserve with the La Corne Indians. It is a notable fact that all the Christians in connection with our Church remained loyal during the rebellion and took no part in it. Big Head and most of his Indians had, a year or two before, embraced Christianity chiefly through a very remarkable occurrence. The writer of this (the Archdeacon) was engaged one day with his class in Emmanuel College (Prince Albert) when the door opened, and an Indian stepped in. His costume and everything about was Indian (Bighead's son) except his hair, which had been cut short. He told his story. A brother of his had been ill and died, as they thought, but after his death, the body did not seem like a dead body. Although they could not discover any ordinary [170/171] signs of life. They were afraid to bury it, and contrary to their usual practice, which is to bury as soon as possible after disease, (decease) they kept the body and after three or four days there was a return to life and consciousness and then their brother told them he had seen the other life. He had learned that Christianity was the true religion and he exhorted his friends and relations to embrace Christianity. He said he had been permitted to return only to tell them this, he was leaving them again, and so he passed away. "Now" the Indian said "I have come to ask you to send a teacher out to us that we may learn your religion and become Christians, and see, I have had my hair cut like the white man's to show that I wish to take the white man's religion." A native Deacon who was at the time a student at the College was sent out to instruct them and then admit them into the Church by baptism.

When these people were located at La Corne as already mentioned they settled a good distance from the other Indians and for some years while they had visits, more or less frequently from a Missionary, they had no school for their children and no resident teacher of any kind. A few years ago arrangements were made to open a school there. Rev. J. Hines happened to meet a lady on a railway platform. He was on the lookout for a teacher and she was a new-comer to the country, but an experienced Christian worker and was on the lookout for work. Thus in God's Providence Mrs. Godfrey was led to take up the work in a sphere in which she has been remarkably successful. She opened the school at Bighead's with pupils who had never entered a school before. She did not know one word of Cree, and they did not know one word of English. Last autumn her pupils in competition with the pupils of the public schools at the Kinistino Exhibition carried off the highest prizes (Since the Archdeacon wrote, fresh laurels have been won both in Kinistino and Winnipeg Exhibitions). Before last Christmas she gave with her pupils, two entertainments in aid of the Missionary's stipend in the La Corne Mission and netted the sum of $30.00.

But her work is more and deeper than such performances. The service of the Master is the ground work of the whole. There was a girl in her school unbaptized. The parents were heathen and would not consent that their child should be received into the Christian Church. The girl was anxious to be baptized. One day she was absent from school. Mrs. Godfrey went to enquire and found that she was ill. Day after day she visited her, and prayed with her. One day the father said "If your God restores her to health in response to your prayers you may have her baptized." The girl was restored to health and it was a happy day for herself and her faithful teacher when she became a member of the Church by Baptism."

Such is the Archdeacon's story re the early La Corne Mission and the Bighead band.

E. Ahenakew


The following sermon by Canon Edward Ahenakew, entitled Christ: the Common Hope of the World, was printed in the special Saskatchewan edition of the Canadian Churchman on May 12th, 1938.

His message, which was written against the background of preparations for war, is none the less as relevant and valid today as it was when it was written.

"That they all may be one".--John 17:21.

It was during the war that I spoke on this verse in an Indian's house. He was a thoughtful old man. After prayers he asked me if the Germans were a Christian race. I said they were. "Are all the other nations who are at war Christians?" he asked again. I said they were Christian nations. Needless to say, I felt embarrassed as I had to own up to this. I did my best to set the matter right in his mind; but his silence at the end showed that he was not fully satisfied.

There was One, however, whom he did not blame, for he knew Him--Jesus Christ the Son of God. Of this I was most thankful, but to vindicate the civilized races who sponsored the Christian system, I felt I did not wholly succeed. Even in my own mind, I had to fight the matter out to my satisfaction.

[172] It must be that the same thing sometimes confronts the missionaries to pagan and semi-pagan races today. There seems to be so little oneness in the civilized world at the present time. We see the old order of things tottering and a new make-shift one appearing, one which is disquieting and seemingly full of dire possibilities.

Christianity and civilization are not synonymous terms, but as it happens to be, the two things represented by the words are so co-existent in the lives of many nations and individuals, and so interwoven in many ways with each other, that, to those who look at the matter superficially only, each is liable to be blamed or praised for the deeds of the other.

We look upon Christian Europe and we see conflicting ideas. Besides the organically developed thing which we call Democracy there are Communism, Nazism, and Fascism. The last three are comparatively new products of intense propaganda. They are somewhat synthetic in character. The adherents to them seem to be full of the first fervour of conversion. Something in each has its appeal and its converts have shown a great zeal in carrying on its message to others. Much hate is generated in the clash of these ideas, so much so that we never know, from one day to another, what the next hour may bring forth.

The nations of the world arm themselves feverishly with the latest and most high powered models of engines of destruction. Money is spent in billions yearly, the living of the future generations yet unborn is mortgaged to the hilt in preparation for the anticiapted event which the eye of imagination sees looming up Armageddon-like in the future.

"That they all may be one". On the face of it, the possibility of realizing this seems so much further away than it has been. It may be that the world is going through a moral and spiritual eclipse and that a better understanding and renewed confidence between nations may emerge after a lapse of time, but it seems rather that the voice of the war dead, as uttered by so many millions, is being unheeded as it warns and warns against an intensified repetition of the horrors of the war in which they fought and died.

Is this the fruit of Christianity after it has operated for nineteen centuries? The Indian thinks of his own religious system--the Indian form of worship--the worship of Munito who loved his children and provided for their daily wants, the religion which taught through the mouths of the old men of the tribe many good things of more or less high spiritual value, to be practised it is true only within the narrower limits of tribal community. A thought sometimes comes on its own, "Why cast aside this for that which seemingly is so lightly held in esteem by the nations who are its proponents?"

It is at such times that something in our own experience comes to the rescue. We think of our old missionaries, those who brought us the good news; we think of their lives, their spirit of self-sacrifice, their faithful labours. Then we think of Jesus Christ, the Saviour, they presented to us; Jesus Christ the Crucified, who died but who is alive for evermore.

The Christian nations, specially England, produced these men; there must be many more like them. The Christian nations are not what they seem in the light of present day happenings. Surely in the midst of greed, hate and selfishness there is not only "one but seven thousand in Israel which have not bowed the knee to Baal" and that there are hundreds of thousands of sincere men and women and children who are working quietly in their own communities and still a greater number who take this attitude of Naaman when he said, "In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there and he leaneth on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing."

Not all Christians are aggressively so. There are thousands who live quietly and are unobtrusively helping, with means and prayers, those who are in the forefront. They shed the light of example by means of their faithful Christian lives on those who have good fortune to live near them. This large body of Christians with Christ as their head are the reservoir of spiritual force from which is energized a spiritually sick world. They are organized to fight evil in a spiritual sense. They are, at this stage of the world unable to exert enough influence to say with authority, "There must be no war!" There are stronger forces at work which for the present shape the actions of men and women which bring about the conditions in our day which we so much deplore and which we regard with fear.

[173] When we do our best to bring about better things in the community to which we belong we are often tempted to think as the prophet felt when he said, "I, even I, alone am left." We are never alone at such times; we have Him with us who said, "And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world". "Alas, my master, what shall we do?" cried Elisha's young man. "Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them". Elisha prayed that the Lord would open the eyes of the young man and he saw and beheld the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around about Elisha.

We can therefore visualize, amidst the play of ideas, material aspirations, greed, hate, a body of people who are true to God, true to His Son Jesus. They are working amongst all nations, quietly and with love, to bring about that kingdom which is not of this world and whose head is Jesus Christ.

He who is head of the Kingdom is the point of appeal in the Christian System. He is given to the pagan world in all the beauty of simplicity. The message about Him to them is not served in fine phrases nor is it diluted with other things. He is the centre of every discourse; the lowly form stands out in bold relief. The appeal is strong and the heart of the pagan is touched. He comes to know the Saviour and he loves Him. He grows in grace and as far as it is possible for him he is one with the others who, wherever they may be, also love him. Only in Jesus Christ can all men be one, away from Him there can but be division.

He is the Light of the World. Why hide Him as we so often seem to do under a bushel? He is the only hope of the world, of civilization, such as it is. He is our Light--therefore let your Light so shine before men that they may see.


The Synod Journals and Reports of the Diocese of Saskatchewan.

History of the Church Missionary Society--4 vols. by Eugene Stock; CM S

London, England, 1899. Life of Archbishop Machray--by Robert Machray; Macmillan, Toronto,

Hudson's Bay Company--by E. E. Rich; McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, 1960.

The Net in the Bay--by the Bishop of Rupert's Land; London, 1854.

Dayspring in the Far West--by M.E.J.; London, 1875.

Leaders of the Canadian Church--by Bertal Heeney; Toronto 1918 et seq.

The Bishops of the Church of England in Canada--by C. H. Mockridee Toronto, 1896.

The Anglican Episcopate of Canada and Newfoundland--by O. R. Rowley; Mowbray, London, England, 1928.

History of the Canadian West--by Arthur S. Morton; Nelson, Toronto 1939.

The Birth of Western Canada--by George F. G. Stanley; University of Toronto Press (Reprinted) 1963.

Twenty Years on the Saskatchewan--by Rev. William Newton- London 1897.

The Red Indians of the Plains--by Rev. John Hines; S.P.C.K. London 1915.

The Anglican Church in Canada--by Philip Carrington; Collins, Toronto, 1963.

The Anglican Church from the Bay to the Rockies--by T. C. B. Boon; Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1962.

John Kerr--by Contance Kerr Sissons; Oxford University Press, 1946.

The North-West Rebellion--by Charles Pelham Mulvaney; Toronto, 1885.

The Church and the Prairie--by Bishop H. H. Montgomery; S.P.G. London, 1911.

Saskatchewan--The Making of a University--by Arthur S. Morton; University of Toronto Press, 1959.

Prince Albert--The First Century--by Gary Abrams; Modern Press, Saskatoon, 1966.

The North-West Mounted Police--by John Peter Turner; Ottawa, 1950.

Northern Trader--by H. S. M. Kemp; Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1956.

Publishers of Peace--Edited by Rev. T. R. Millman; Toronto, 1942.

These Men Went Out--Thomas C. B. Boon; Ryerson Press, Toronto.

The Journal of Rev. Robert Hunt at Lac la Ronge and Stanley; National Archives, Ottawa, Ontario.


A Century of Presbyterianism in Saskatchewan--by Robert Dunning; Prince Albert 1966.

Canadian North-West Historical Society: Battleford, Saskatchewan.

Vol. 1, No 3; Rev. Canon E.K. Matheson D.D.

Vol. 1, No. 5; Fifty Years on the Saskatchewan by Robert Jefferson. Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba: Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Series 3; No. 18, 1961-2: The Institute of Rupert's Land and Bishop David Anderson by Rev. T. C. B. Boon.

Journal of the Canadian Church Historical Society; London, Ontario.

Vol. 6, No. 1; 1964: Correspondence of Bishop McLean and Isaac Barr edited by Rev. F. A. Peake.

Vol. 9, No. 2; 1967: Anglican Beginnings in Southern Alberta by John W. Tims.

Offprint No. 7; July 1955: Anglican Beginnings in and about Edmonton by Rev. F. A. Peake.

The Western Producer, Saskatoon, March 30th, 1950.

A Militant Churchman (Canon Edward Ahenakew); by W. Bleasdell Cameron.

The Church Missionary Intelligencer, London, England.

Vol. 1, 1850: The Cumberland Station of our North-West America Mission.

Saskatchewan History; Saskatchewan Archives, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.

Vol. 7, No. 1: Metis Settlement in the North-West Territories; Marcel Giraud.

Vol. 9, No. 3: Early History of Emmanuel College; Jean E. Murray.

Vol. 12, No. 1: The Contest for the University of Saskatchewan; Jean E. Murray.

Vol. 13, No. 2: The Mathesons of Saskatchewan Diocese; Ruth Matheson Buck.

Vol. 13, No. 3. The Campaign of 1885; G. F. G. Stanley.

Vol. 16, No. 3: The Journal of Rev. J. A. Mackay, Stanley Mission 1870-72.

Vol. 17, No. 1: The Story of the Ahenakews; Ruth M. Buck.

Vol. 17, No. 2: Early Missions of the Swan River District; J. F. Klaus.

Vol. 18, No. 2: Little Pine, an Indian Day School; Ruth Buck--E. Ahenakew.

Vol. 19, No. 1: Land Claims in the Prince Albert District; Lloyd Rodwell.

Vol. 19, No. 3: Prince Albert River Lots; Lloyd Rodwell.

Vol. 20, No. 3: Eye Witness to Courage (Barr Colony); Guy R. Lyle

Vol. 22, No. 2: Journal of Eleanor Shepphird Matheson; Ruth Matheson Buck.

Vol. 24, No. 3: Colonization Companies in the 1880's; A. N. Lalonde.

(Note: Most, if not all the above issues are still obtainable from the address above).


Since the preparation of the above list, a book entitled Voices of the Plains Cree has been published by McClelland and Stewart, Toronto. The original manuscript by Canon Edward Ahenakew has been edited and introduced by Ruth Matheson Buck and provides original and valuable material on the history and folklore of the Saskatchewan Indians, revealing also the nobility of character and profound wisdom of many Indian leaders during the past century and a half.

Project Canterbury