M930.51.1.62 | Jesuit torture, 1851

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Jesuit torture, 1851
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1851, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
10.3 x 14 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Ethnology (606) , Native people (373) , Print (10661)
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Keys to History

Alongside the "noble savage" view of Aboriginal people, Europeans held a different, darker view that emphasized their supposed violence and cruelty. This woodcut by the 19th-century Montreal illustrator John Henry Walker (1831-1899) shows the fear of indigenous violence that was felt within mainstream Canadian society. The Jesuit in this illustration is not identified, but he is probably St. Jean de Brébeuf or St. Gabriel Lalemant, the two Jesuit missionaries who were killed in March 1649 near what is now Midland, Ontario.

  • What

    This is a 19th-century illustration showing an imaginary scene, based on real events, of Aboriginal people torturing a Jesuit missionary.

  • Where

    The location is probably the Jesuit mission to the Hurons at what is now Midland, Ontario.

  • When

    This incident took place in March 1649.

  • Who

    The First Nations depicted here are Iroquois; the victim is probably St. Jean de Brébeuf, the most famous of the Canadian Jesuit martyrs.