"Mother of all the living": Motherhood, Religion, and Political Culture at the Ojibwe Village of Fond du Lac, 1835–1839
- Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 17, Number 4, Fall 2019
- pp. 443-473
- Additional Information
- Purchase/rental options available:
Catharine Ely, daughter of a French father and Ojibwe mother, moved to the Ojibwe Village of Fond du Lac (currently Duluth, Minnesota) with her Anglo-American missionary husband, Edmund, in 1835. Having spent ten of her eighteen years boarding at a mission school, Catharine had adopted the domestic ideals and parental principles of American evangelical Protestantism; her approach to mothering, captured by her diary, was quite different from that of the local Ojibwe women. By exploring the contrasting cultural understandings of motherhood present in each community, we glimpse a new facet of the resistance Ojibwe people offered to Edmund and Catharine's plans for their conversion, and to the United States' larger colonial venture in the Upper Midwest.