The Preacher's Book at Rupert House 1902-1911by James Scanlon
The Preacher's Book is about the Cree of the James Bay region, the Hudson's Bay Company and the Anglican Church from 1902 to 1911. It looks back on a time when life for the Cree of Waskaganish (Rupert House) pulsated with the energy of the fur trade and the sheer necessity to keep alive in the wilderness. Life's daily demands offered small reward and little comfort.
The missionary companions who served among these stalwart people did so with dedication and patience, sometimes with disappointment and frustration. Their life, as the story reveals, was a lonely life in a large and lonely land far from home.
Dramatic changes are presently occurring in the Rupert House district. The mighty Rupert River is being diverted to power giant hydroelectric turbines near Eastmain. These changes will bring new wealth and opportunity to the Cree of Waskaganish. But they also signal the loss of a proud way of life and the disappearance of much of the habitat of the beaver, the bear and the moose.
It is, nevertheless, a time of new challenge for an ancient and dauntless people. This book holds out a strong hope for them built on a worthy foundation from the past.
James Scanlon grew up in Geraldton, Ontario, a mining town in the territory of the Ojibway Indians. He worked in gold mines and pulp camps, served briefly in the army and then went on to Queen's University, Kingston and Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto. Married and ordained in 1955, he and his wife Doris served for a dozen years in the Diocese of Moosonee. They have a daughter, Jane, and a son, Peter, both born at Opemiska, Quebec among the inland Cree.
James Scanlon has had articles published in the Northland the Diocese of Moosonee Quarterly magazine. His previous book, Letters From James Bay, was published by the Highway Book Shop in 1976.