Chapter 17 Becoming American at the Moravian Missions in Springplace and Oothcaloga

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822
Ulrike Wiethaus
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This study aims at a deeper understanding of the voices and perspectives of African American and Indigenous Moravian converts as presented in historical documents. American Indian communities and individual American Indian converts, like their converted African American neighbors, actively engaged in and reflected upon the theological, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of Moravian missionary spirituality, which in turn developed and changed through the encounter with non-European converts.

Conceived as a cosmopolitan enterprise from its European inception as articulated by Count Zinzendorf, Leonhard Dober and others, Moravian missions to Indigenous communities began with a settlement in Greenland in 1733, in New York in 1740, in Pennsylvania in 1741, and in Labrador in 1771. In 1801, Moravians were the first Christian missionaries invited to settle in the Cherokee Nation in what is today the state of Georgia. The forced Cherokee Removal to Oklahoma in 1839 ended the Moravian missionary presence in Georgia. This chapter explores the dynamics of nearly four decades of Cherokee nationalism, an emerging US federal policy, Southern state rights, and Moravian religious, specifically missionary beliefs as Moravians encountered enslaved Black people and Cherokee communities as their new neighbors.

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