Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Religion Missions

Positioning the Missionary

John Booth Good and the Confluence of Cultures in Nineteenth-Century British Columbia

by (author) Brett Christophers

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2011
Missions, Native American Studies
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 1999
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 1998
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Positioning the Missionary examines Anglican missionary work in nineteenth-century British Columbia. Its chief protagonists are John Booth Good, an agent of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the Nlha7kapmx poeple of southwestern B.C. Asking why the Nkha7kapmx embraced Good, how he sought to evangelize and civilize them, and how they responded, it situates Good's mission at several scales: the local ethnographic literature; histories of contact and conflict in mainland B.C. from the early nineteenth century; the theology and sociology of mission; and the recent critical literature on European colonialism. Christophers rethinks mission work in the light of contemporary theories of colonial discourse and disciplinary power, and speculates about the interpretative potential of such concepts. In addition to Good's encounter with the Nlha7kapmx, Positioning the Missionary also refers to other colonial missions, identifying by turns the peculiarity of Good's experience and the ways in which it conforms to broader patterns of mission history. As a reflection on the ongoing politics of colonialism, this book discusses Good's contribution to the devastation of Nlha7kapmx culture and his duplicitous role in the appropriation of Nlha7kapmx lands.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Brett Christophers studied in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia. He now lives in London, England.

Editorial Reviews

This well-researched book examines the role of the missionary on the colonial frontier. It presents a measured and subtle picture of a figure who has more often been caricatured, dismissed as an overconfident and blundering proponent of Christianity and imperialism. Doing so, it contributes to a broader post-colonial deconstruction of imperial binaries.

Ecumene 2000 7 (1)

Brett Christophers' account of the life and times of an Anglican missionary in the wilds of British Columbia a hundred and fifty years ago is an excellent case study in thehistory of cross-cultural contacts and conflicts ... Christophers‚ account is well-researched, and in this regard persuasive.

Association of Contemporary Church Historians

A thoughtful contribution to the vexed study of Christianity and imperialism. It is particularly refreshing to have a book which takes religious ideas seriously. It is a testimony to the interest of this short book that one mostly wishes it were longer.

Letters in Canada 1998

Important contribution to the growing literature on culture contact and conflict between Native societies and European settlers .. Christophers is careful to expand understanding of the contexts that had bearing on Good's mission, and one learns much about Nlha7kapmx life and the impact of European contact.