Early Indian Conversion to Christianity
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Sarah McConnell: So what did the colonists discover in terms of religion and spirituality and belief sets on the part of the Indians when they arrived in Virginia? What had they known before they arrived, about what these people believed, given that they intended to convert them to Christianity?
Karen Kupperman: Thomas Harriot who was in Roanoke, which was 20 years before Jamestown, had learned the coastal Carolina Algonquian language before he went and he said, ‘the Indians have the footprints of religion and it will make it that much easier for them to accept Christianity.’
McConnell: Some of them like Pocahontas were famously converted, but did the Indians in general ever really buy into the religion of the English?
Kupperman: I would say not, and I think even Pocahontas’ conversion…there’s some indications that that was a work in progress rather than something that they saw as a final, accomplished fact. There were converts, but I think on the whole the Indians resisted English efforts to convert them, in Virginia.