"The Board is, pre-eminently, a society for preaching the gospel. This is…the grand object for which it exists. The heathen are educated, and books are translated, printed, and distributed among them, that they may become attentive, thoughtful, intelligent hearers of the gospel."
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), 1833
In the 1500s, Christians began to journey to the Americas to spread the word of God. Missionaries would spend centuries attempting to convert the people of the "New World" to Christianity and to "civilized" European lifeways.
This same story of religious and cultural encounter would eventually be repeated in the area that became Minnesota. All Indian nations, including the Dakota, were affected. By 1833 the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), dedicated to spreading Christianity across America and abroad, had established five Dakota missions in Minnesota.
Missionaries believed they had the best interests of Dakota people at heart. Their writings make it clear that they saw change as inevitable, that adopting the ways of the white man was the Dakota's only path to survival.
Maxfield, Charles A. "The 'Reflex Influence' of Missions: The Domestic Operations of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1810-1850." Dissertation, Union Theological Seminary. Richmond, Virginia, 1995.
Alexander G. Huggins: An Inventory of His Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection. Minnesota Historical Society.
Henry B. Whipple: An Inventory of His Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection,
The Pond Family: An Inventory of Their Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection.
Stephen R. Riggs and Family Manuscripts Collection: An Inventory of Their Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection.
Duncan, Kunigunde. Blue Star: Story of Corabelle Fellows, Teacher at Dakota Missions, 1884-1888. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1990.