As a young man, before immigrating to Canada (then: la Nouvelle France), Jean Brébeuf studied theology at the college of Rouen in France and was called to the Catholic priesthood in 1622 AD. "Father Brébeuf" not only became an icon on Quebec but also of Ontario history. There is even a school in British Columbia named after him.

Iroquois v Huron

His capture, torture and execution by one of Canada's First Nations the Iroquois, in 1649 was a black mark on First Nation yet still a pivotal event in Canada's legal history as it brought to a head the perpetually warring nature of the first Nations of Canada but not only as regards to the occupancy of their hunting grounds by Europeans, the French and Dutch, but especially as between themselves.

Diseases had come across with Europeans and these diseases were killing off First Nation people by the thousands. The "First Nations" of Canada came to see a connection between the mysterious deaths of so many of their people and the new arrivals from Europe. But First Nations or aboriginals or Indians, as they have been grouped under a succession of nomenclature.The Iroquois were experimenting with a Confederacy [see and the Great Law of Peace, circa 1,1100 A.D.

Rather than continue in their efforts to unify all First Nations, European politics based on the lucrative fur-trading business intervened:

Martyrdom of Fathers Brébeuf and Lalemant

The British allied with the Iroquois Confederacy (now known as the Haudenosaunee, or People of the Longhouse, this group consisted of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca First Nations) and the First Nations of the Allegheny Mountain range. The French allied with First Nations north of the St. Lawrence River (the Huron, Algonquin, Odawa and Montagnais) and in Acadia (the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy). Using the long-established indigenous trade routes of the Interior, the English and French and their First Nations allies developed a vast trade focused on beaver pelts, that spread across North America. This trade spurred new European explorations throughout the Great Lakes basin, into the Prairies and down the Mississippi River. the Iroquois on computers alliance with English for traitors well be Huron the same with the French.1

 

These events did nothing to encourage the two great nations, Iroquois and Huron to come together but instead fed into an increasingly deadly level of mutual prejudice and hatred. Ultimately, the Iroquois, by far the more aggressive and stronger first nation by he mid-1600s, made the fateful decision to try to eliminate the Huron in taking actions which would today be called genocide.

Father Brébeuf

Soon to be caught up in this, Jean Brébeuf was born in France on 25 March 1593 (at Condé-sur-Vire, Normandy.). He died on about March 16, 1649 at the Huron village of St. Ignace, near the present day community of Midland, Ontario, Canada ]see http://www.midland.ca/visitors/history-of-midland[.

Upon graduation, Brébeuf was enlisted (he did not volunteer) for missionary work in the growing French colony, crossing the Atlantic in about 1625.

Brébeuf had a go with residency as a missionary within a number of Native communities, but as with many of his colleagues, his conversion rate was dismal, as was that of his colleagues. He spent his first few years trying to integrate one First Nation after another, learning the local languages and trying his luck with the Montagnais and then the Huron.

It was a time for introspection even for himself. In 1630, Brébeuf converted fully to the Jesuit branchh of the Catholic faith.

His relationship with the Hurons was exceptional. They baptized him “Echon”. Increasingly integrated with the Hurons, he was unfortunately present in the Huron village of Saint Ignace when it was raided and overcome by an Iroquois war party. But war with the Iroquois was looming: in 1644 another priest, Father Father Bressani was captured by the Iroquois and tortured to death.

It is difficult to imagine what possible reason this young Frenchman could have had for staying with the Hurons at this time. The Iroquois and their numerous allies were set upon not just a warpath with the Hurons, but out and out genocide. The very aggressive and very numerous Iroquois confederacy believed that the Hurons had become weak and could be taken out permanently. As the Iroquois moved across Huron nation, they did not just burn villages, they killed every Huron they found.

Brebeuf must have been privy to some information on the Iroquois scorched-Earth policy, and their blitzkrieg moved straight towards the Hurons.

Many historians extol the fact that for a missionary die in the course of his duties as the ultimate act of faith which can only explain why Brebeuf and his colleagues did not simply take a leave of absence, if not the first boat back to France, at least until the war played itself out between the Indian tribes.

He was caught in an Iroquois raid.

The Iroquois were not kind to POWs, but nor were the Hurons. They dragged their POWs including Brebeuf to the nearby occupied village of Taenhatenteron (aka Teanaostaiaë), where they subjected the French men to ritual torture as they did with all POWs. The brutal punishments was not survivable and Brebeuf was one of five Jesuits to die in agony at Taenhatenteronon that day: the others being his fellow missionaries, Fathers Antoine Daniel, Lalement, Charles Garnier, and Noel Charbanel.

There really was no trial. by any modern understanding of the legal term.

Brébeuf was a prisoner of war. This tall white man, Brebeuf, had not only been found with the and evidently friendly with them, Hurons but he was also French and able to mutter a fer words in Indian languages.

When the Iroquois took prisoners of war, much as the Mayan to the far south of them, there was no Geneva Convention.

Before judging Canadian First Nations for an apparent lack of basic humanity or justice in their then-way of life, consider Crime & Punishment in Medieval England; that across the ocean England, the So-called "bosom of justice", children were being hung hung for shoplifting and so-called “traitors” (e.g. 1306: The Trial of Scotsman William Wallace who was subject to a form of punishment invented by the English law: no less horrifying and barbaric: being drawn and Quartered). See also, Crime and Punishment in Medieval England).

Even the country of Brebeuf’s origin, France, had its own versions of incredible torture in the name of justice To eat only consider the punishment exacted upon François Ravaillac who assassinated Henry V IN 1610. Once caught, Ravaillac WAS quickly convicted of regicide and then drawn and quartered in public and what have to one of the most horrific punishments given by man to another man.


Jean Brébeuf was canonized 29 June 1930 by Pius XI and proclaimed by Pius XII on 16 Oct. 1940 patron saint of Canada along with his martyred companions, recognizing The "North American Martyrs, then, gave up their lives for the sake of the Gospel - in order to bring the faith to the native people whom they served.

One account of his punishment:

quot;Father de Brébeuf had his legs, thighs, and arms stripped of flesh to the very bone; I saw and touched a large number of great blisters, which he had on several places on his body, from the boiling water which these barbarians had poured over him in mockery of Holy Baptism. I saw and touched the wound from a belt of bark, full of pitch and resin, which roasted his whole body. I saw and touched the marks of burns from the Collar of hatchets placed on his shoulders and stomach. I saw and touched his two lips, which they had cut off because he constantly spoke of God while they made him suffer. I saw and touched all parts of his body, which had received more than two hundred blows from a stick. I saw and touched the top of his scalped head; I saw and touched the opening which these barbarians had made to tear out his heart.... I saw and touched all the wounds of his body, as the savages had told and declared to us....1

Father Brébeuf

Upon graduation, Brébeuf was enlisted (he did not volunteer) for missionary work in the French colony, crossing the Atlantic in about 1625. Brébeuf had a go with residency as a missionary within a number of Native communities, but as with many of his colleagues, his conversion rate was dismal. He spent his first few years trying to integrate one First Nation after the other, learning the local languages and trying his luck with the Montagnais and the Huron.

 

It was a time for introspection even for himself.In 1630, Brébeuf converted fully to the Jesuit branch of the Catholic faith.

His relationship with the Hurons was exceptional. They baptized him “Echon”. Increasingly integrated with the Hurons, he was unfortunately present in the Huron village of Saint Ignace when it was raided and overcome by an Iroquois war party. But war with the Iroquois was looming: in 1644 Father Bressani was captured by the Iroquois and tortured to death.MP

It is difficult to imagine what possible reason this young Frenchman could have had for staying with the Hurons at this time. The Iroquois and their numerous allies were set upon Not just a warpath with the Hurons, but out and out genocide. The very aggressive and very numerous Iroquois confederacy believed that the Hurons had become weak and could be taken out permanently. As the Iroquois moved across Huron nation, they did not just burn villages, they killed every Huron they found.


Brebeuf must have been privy to some information on the Iroquois blitzkrieg moving east, and a scorched-earth policy.

However this is something perhaps psychotic Roman Catholic missionaries in the Americas else at this time. Many historians extol the fact that for a missionary die in the course of his duties as the ultimate act of faith.

The Iroquois were not kind to POWs, but nor were the Hurons. They dragged their POWs including bereave to the nearby occupied village of Taenhatenteron (aka Teanaostaiaë), where they subjected the French men to ritual torture as they did with all POWs. The brutal punishments was not survivable and Brebeuf was one of five Jesuits to die in agony at Taenhatenteronon that day: the others being Antoine Daniel, Lalement, Charles Garnier, Noel Charbanel.

Was really no trial. This Tall white man have not only been found with Ron and spoken language. When the Iroquois took prisoners, much as the Mayan to the far south of them, there was no Geneva Convention. Before immediately condemning Canadian First Nations for an apparent lack of justice in this way, consider that across the ocean England, in England, the So-called bosom of justice, children were being hung hung for shoplifting and so-called “traitors” (e.g. William Wallace) Subject to a form of Punishment invwnted by the English law: no less horrifying and barbaric: being drawn and Quartered). See also, Crime and Punishment in Medieval England).

Even the country of Brebeuf’s origin, France, had its own versions of incredible torture in the name of justice. Consider the punishment exacted upon FRenchmen François Ravaillac who assassinated Henry V in 1610. Once caught, Ravaillac was quickly convicted of regicide and then drawn and quartered in public in what is one of the most horrific punishments ever given by a court of law.

Brébeuf was canonized 29 June 1930 by Pius XI and proclaimed by Pius XII on 16 Oct. 1940 patron saint of Canada along with his seven martyred companions, recognized as the "North American Martyrs, who gave up their lives for the sake of the Gospel - in order to bring the faith to the native people whom they served".

Refererences and Citations

  • COLLÈGE PRIVÉ JEAN-DE-BRÉBEUF ] see http://www.brebeuf.qc.ca/college-jean-de-brebeuf[
  • NOTE 1: An account later given by Christophe Regnault. This account like others have to be looked up with some suspicion because it is based on the coming that they will have been survivors. The other troubling suggestion is that as he was being flayed alive, he had the presence of mind to pray out loud. Not speaking from personal experience but extrapolating, seems unlikely that many articulate words of faith or otherwise come from the mouth of a victim of this kind of demise.
  • NOTE 2: a description proposed by the government of Canada as at 3024-08-20, see the the then-active link, https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1307460755710/1307460872523#chp1
  • Municipality of Brébeuf, Quebec, Canada ]official website at http://www.brebeuf.ca/[
  • The image (painting) is of an original held by the National Gallery of Canada with this description: Martyrdom of Fathers Brébeuf and Lalemant, c. 1843, Joseph Légaré , Canadian, 1795 - 1855, oil on canvas, 66.2 x 96.1 cm, Purchased 1977, National Gallery of Canada (no. 18795) description. “Although evidently intended to commemorate the event referred to in the title, this work is first and foremost a landscape. The artist has inserted the historical scene pictured in the center - inspired by a well-known print - into a vista that bears no relation to the story. The setting is the countryside near Quebec City, whose unmistakable rocky promontory can be seen in the distance, but the incident portrayed actually took place in Huronia, close to what is now Midland, in Ontario. Legaré devoted considerable effort to structuring his composition, and the result may be considered his most accomplished picturesque landscape.”
     
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