Native participation in the First Great Awakening in New England is often assumed but little investigated. This essay provides an in-depth examination of Pequot involvement in the Awakening through a close analysis of local records in Connecticut. Most historians have typically followed the lead of eighteenth-century ministers who proclaimed that previously unevangelized Indians in southeastern New England suddenly joined churches in droves during the revivals of the 1740s. In this view, the “Indian Awakening” was unprecedented, sudden, and complete. By providing a broader context for Indian-colonist relationships prior to the Awakening, and by looking closely at the church records of a few Congregational churches during the revivals, this essay argues that Indians joined churches in the early 1740s in far fewer numbers than previously thought and within a very specific time frame that peaked in 1742 and tapered off dramatically shortly thereafter. Instead of the Awakening serving as a point of seismic religious and cultural disjuncture for natives—the dropping of traditional ways and adoption of Christian practices—it was instead just one of many attempted negotiations with the surrounding colonial world.
Linford D. Fisher; “It Provd but Temporary, & Short Lived”: Pequot Affiliation in the First Great Awakening. Ethnohistory 1 July 2012; 59 (3): 465–488. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-1587433
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