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Old Wing Mission: The Chronicles of the Reverend George N. and Arvilla Powers Smith: Missionary Teachers of Chief Wakazoo's Ottawa Indian Band

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2008 / Hardcover

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Product Description

The story of the Ottawa Indians in West Michigan is told here primarily through the diaries and memoirs of George and Arvilla Smith, a Protestant missionary and his wife, who lived and raised their family among the Ottawa Indians. Memorandums and letters are also included, giving a fuller picture of the trials of frontier missionaries. The book begins with an introductory chapter on the history of Old Wing Mission.

The Smiths established their mission near modern-day Holland, Michigan, in the 1830s; their outpost was called the Old Wing Mission. The Smiths provided worship services, education for the children, and, in addition, communicated with the federal government on the behalf of the Ottawa Indians. The diary and memorandum of George Smith cover the period 1838-49; Arvilla's diary begins and ends earlier, 1832-45.

Also included in the book are Arvilla Smith's memoirs, published in the Grand Traverse Herald, Traverse City, Michigan, in 1892; an essay on the Life and Work of the Late Rev. George N. Smith: A Pioneer Missionary by Etta Smith Wilson, his daughter; and relevant correspondence in the records of the Michigan Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 1839-50.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802863817
ISBN-13: 9780802863812
Availability: In Stock
Series: Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America

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Publisher's Description

Old Wing Mission is a historical treasure of rare documents giving the account of Reverend George N. and Arvilla Smith in their work and social interactions with Native Americans at a Christian mission colony.
 

Author Bio

Robert P. Swierenga is Albertus C. Van Raalte Research Professor of History at the A.C. Van Raalte Institute, Hope College, Holland, Michigan. A specialist in Dutch immigration history, Swierenga was knighted in 2000 by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
William Van Appledorn is active in several historical groups and is the author of Chief Waukazoo from Roots to Wing.

Author Bio

Robert P. Swierenga is the foremost American scholar of Dutch immigration to the United States and the experience of Dutch Americans in the midwest during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A long-time faculty member at Kent State University, in 1996 Swierenga assumed the position of senior research fellow at Hope College's A. C. Van Raalte Institute for Historical Studies in Holland, Michigan, deep in the heart of an ethnic enclave he has documented and analyzed so well. Professor Swierenga’s scholarly output, almost entirely devoted to the Dutch in America, is quite substantial. He has written more than a dozen books and well over 100 papers on the subject.

Editorial Reviews

James P. Ronda
— University of Tulsa
"On the American frontier natives and newcomers met in many places, but nowhere was the encounter more profound than at the Christian mission. Here missionaries sought not only to save Indian souls but to Americanize them. . . . As told through a remarkable set of original sources, the story of the Old Wing Mission reveals all the tensions and complexities when one culture seeks to change another. Old Wing Mission offers readers an opportunity to hear voices on both sides of the cultural divide. . . . Deserves a wide and appreciative audience."

James M. McClurken
— Michigan State University
"Meticulous. . . . The Smith diaries recount the trials of frontier missionaries. . . . Academicians, Christian scholars, and readers who love history will all benefit from this high-quality work."
 

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