Leon Fouquet OMI 1831-1912

Some useful information on this French missionary from Thomas Anthony Lascelles’ 1986 Simon Fraser University MA thesis, “Leon Fouquet and the Kootenay Indians, 1874-1887” (download it):

Page 10 — In 1859, based in Esquimalt in southeast Vancouver Island: ‘The missionary’s first year in British Columbia was devoted to learning the Chinook Jargon, acquiring rudiments of native languages and culture, and to some exhausting missionary excursions…’

Page 53 — 1874 onward: ‘Apparently, native catechists were not employed at St. Eugene during the first half of Fouquet’s directorship, although part of Oblate policy.  The priests instructed the Indians themselves in preparation for the sacraments with the aid of native interpreters.  The Oblate was not opposed to using native catechists, but his imperfect mastery of the Kootenay language, the people’s limited usage of the Chinook jargon, and his physical workload prevented him from training them.’  [An interesting discussion follows, about correcting new converts’ misunderstandings of Christianity and about Durieu System village organization.]

Page 66 — footnote 36 to the preceding: ‘Fouquet reported only one person spoke the Chinook jargon well in 1875, and in the 1880s William Baillie-Grohman maintained that they were “‘perfectly unacquainted with any language but their own, not even Chinook”.  Cf. Thrupp, “A History of the Cranbrook District in East Kootenay”, p. 58…’  [Which is a 1929 UBC MA thesis; other sources are mentioned too.]

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