“My Obligation to the Doctor for his Paternal Care”

Eleazar Wheelock and the Female Students at Moor’s Indian Charity School, 1761–1769

In: Social Sciences and Missions
Jessica Lauren Criales Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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This article analyzes the experiences of female students at a school for indigenous children in colonial Connecticut, Moor’s Indian Charity School (1754–1771), founded by Congregationalist minister Eleazar Wheelock. The school’s environment was shaped by Wheelock’s missionary paternalism, and exploited the labor of the female students in order to maintain the financial health of the mission project. However, the Indian girls enrolled in the school were able to use Wheelock’s gendered expectations to assert their own agency in subtle ways. In comparison with the male students, the female students were able to resist certain aspects of Wheelock’s educational plan while still maintaining a relationship with Wheelock and the white world.

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