Literacy and Revival: The Role of the Written and Printed Passion Narrative in Inuktitutfor the Conversion of the Labrador Inuit to Christianity - Hans J. Rollmann

Part of:
4:15 PM, Friday 4 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
In the winter of 1804/1805, a revival took place in Hopedale, Nunatsiavut/Labrador. The Inuit-driven religious movement of great intensity spread subsequently to Nain and Okak and represents an important step in the Christianization of Inuit on Labrador’s north coast, which until this time had been slow and superficial.

An important factor in the conversion process was the increasing literacy of Inuit made possible by regular schooling, and in particular the translation and printing of the Passion Narrative into the language of the Inuit. I argued in my earlier overview of education and Inuktitut literacy in Labrador, that the reading and internalizing of the passion narrative became a key factor in the indigenization of the Moravian faith among the Labrador Inuit. From the extensive and intensive use of the passion narrative and its recorded effects one can conclude that the Inuit of Hopedale, Nain, and Okak became prepared religiously for the emotional piety and conversions that decisively transformed their religious self-understanding during the revival of 1804/5. The profound religious identification with and internalization of the death, suffering, and resurrection of Christ was made possible through education and literacy and in particular through the availability of the Inuktitut translation of the Passion Narrative.

Memorial University of Newfoundland