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Printing Presses in the Promised Land

Printing Presses in the Promised Land

(p.129) 6 Printing Presses in the Promised Land
The Story of Radio Mind
Pamela E. Klassen
University of Chicago Press

For its power to make stories mobile and proliferating, the printing press was a beloved tool of Protestant missionaries. Telling a before-and-after story of a printing press that melted in a fire, this chapter follows Frederick Du Vernet’s relationship with his missionary colleague James McCullagh as they grappled with the promises and unexpected properties of print. As Du Vernet became increasingly taken with liberal Anglican spirituality, McCullagh ventured to England’s Keswick Convention, a Holiness gathering. But both were emboldened by the white possessive, and understood that being white men gave them a peculiar ability to hold property in the British Empire by way of printed deeds that asserted their ownership. As their London- and Toronto-based missionary organizations shifted from “Indian Work” to “White Work,” however, the missionaries knew that theirs was an anxious possession, thanks to their awareness of what the Nisga’a had spelled out for them in person and in print: they had never ceded their territory. Using the mission printing press, the Nisga’a published a newspaper, Hagaga, as well as pamphlets detailing their Land Committee’s strong views against white settlement. Papers that mapped white possession were not enough to truly claim Nisga’a land, and the missionaries knew this.

Keywords:   printing press, James McCullagh, Hagaga, Indian Land Committee, Keswick Convention, White Work, Nisga’a land, liberal Anglicanism, Holiness, British Empire

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