Indian Manual Training School Founded in Oregon
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American Methodism continued to grow in the 19th century. Expanding to the Northwest and evangelizing new populations appeared to be the next frontier for the religious movement.

In 1835, Methodist missionary Jason Lee established the first mission and manual labor school for American Indians in Oregon. The school was located near present-day Salem and in many ways functioned as a boarding school where students lived and worked.

The primary goal of the school was to "educate and civilize" the Native children, but the mission largely failed. The native population had been shattered by disease from previous white settlers, and although the missionaries offered health care, disease continued to be an issue. Also, the missionaries failed to realize the preexisting knowledge of hunting and fishing within the community, so many Native Americans found little value in the missionary offerings.

As a result, the missionaries began to shift attention to new white settlers in the area by the early 1840s.
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
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Methodist/Pietist Family: Other ARDA Links

Missionary Movement

First Mission and Manual Labor School for Indians in Oregon- Internet Archive- from Beside the Beautiful Willamette by John Parsons

Jason Lee portrait- Internet Archive- from Jason Lee, Prophet of the New Oregon by Cornelius J. Brosnan

Indian children attending a manual training school- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-105118
Web Source(s)
Willamette University developed from the Indian manual training school
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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