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On the Indian Trail Stories of Missionary Work among Cree and Salteaux Indians   By: (1840-1909)

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On the Indian Trail, Stories of Missionary Work among Cree and Saulteaux Indians, by Reverend Egerton Ryerson Young.

In his Introduction to the book the author tells us that some of the stories here recounted are new, while others have been published in others of his works. Thus, if you have read "By Canoe and Dog Train" you will experience a feeling of deja vue.

Like so many nineteenth century clergymen, the author spends a lot of time telling us how very holy he is. But I suppose we have a different view of how we ought to tell others how much time we spend praying. Things are different these days.

This book is one of many to be found on the excellent Early Canadiana Online. We used the new (2005) ABBYY screen grabbing tool to capture the images of the pages, using the third of the five sizes available. This size was chosen because the image of each page just fits the text of the page on the screen. From other points of view it would have been better if we could have used the largest size, which we could not easily do for the following reason. The original scans were far from being nice clean ones, so there were many misreads. We used the Athelstane editing system to produce the final text as we have published it.

Had we used the full sized scans it is quite possible that there would have been just the same number of misreads in the OCRed text, because of the number of bits of hair and fluff, scratches and other blemishes in the scans. So it is lucky that the Athelstane system can trap most of the misreads.



This is not a continuous narrative of missionary work as are some of the author's books. It is a collection of distinct chapters, some of which are written expressly for this volume, others of which, having in whole or in part seen the light in other form, are now, at the request of friends, and thanks to the courtesy of the publishers, here gathered.

Romantic missionary work among the red Indians will soon be a thing of the past. Civilisation is reaching this people, and the iron horse rushes and shrieks where the Indian trail was once the only pathway. The picturesque garb is fast disappearing, and store clothes, often too soon transformed into rags anything but picturesque, have robbed, the Indian of the interest that once clung to him.

These wanderings on the fast disappearing trail, speak of successes rather than failures; not but that there were many of the latter, as well as long waiting after the seed time for the harvest, but because it is so much more pleasant and helpful to look on the bright side of life, and talk of victory rather than defeat.

So in the hope that this book will be helpful and encouraging to the friends and supporters of missions, who have become such an innumerable company, and that His name may be glorified thereby, we send it on its way.

E.R.Y. Toronto .



We struck the prairie trail at Saint Paul in 1868.

We, that is my young wife and I in company with some other missionaries and teachers, were to travel many hundreds of miles upon it, in order that we might reach the wigwam haunts of the Indians in the northern part of the Hudson Bay Territories, to whom we had been appointed to carry the glorious Gospel of the Son of God.

We were to follow up the work begun by men of sublime faith and heroic courage, and to carry it still farther into more remote regions where as yet the sweet story of a Saviour's love had never been heard. We had confidence enough in God to belief that if fur traders could travel along these trails, and live in those lonely remote regions for from the blessings of civilisation, and in order to make money by trading with the Indians put up with the hardships and privations incident to such a life, we could make equal sacrifices for Christ's sake, to carry the Glad Tidings of His great love to those who had never heard the wondrous Story... Continue reading book >>

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