Tuesday, August 30, 2005
History in the valley
In the dramatic sweep of western history, St. Mary's Mission is a quiet footnote. At its outset, this story (see link here) seems to represent a genuine good-faith effort of two cultures and religions to reach out to one another. It is easy to dismiss all the early missions as impositions, but in this case the Salish repeatedly requested that the "black robes" come to their valley. Without the intervention of disruptive commercial interests (traders and settlers), government policy (moving the Salish onto a reservation), intertribal conflict, and other factors, we will never know how this experiment might have evolved. It's in a beautiful spot in Stevensville, Montana.