..illness swept through the region. Several Cayuse died every day. Despite Whitman's best efforts, he could not save their lives. Chief Tilokaikt lost two children. Half of the tribe perished in two months. The Cayuse noticed that most of the whites treated by Whitman recovered, but the Indians did not. Their anger grew. Some thought that Whitman wanted them to die. Cayuse leaders made plans to kill Whitman and Spalding and overrun the missions.
On Monday, November 29, 1847, a band of Cayuse led by Tilokaikt and Tomahas entered the crowded mission compound. Most of the occupants were sick or needy immigrants wintering at Waiilatpu. Several were orphaned children whose parents had died on the Oregon Trail. Tilokaikt asked Whitman for medicine. When the doctor turned his back to get it, Tomahas struck him in the head with a tomahawk. Throughout the mission grounds, warriors opened fire killing thirteen people, including Narcissa Whitman. The Cayuse looted and burned the mission buildings and held 47 women and children hostage for more than a month. The plan to kill the Spaldings failed when they found protection among friendly Nez Perce.
Officials of the Hudson's Bay Company ransomed the captives for tobacco, clothing and ammunition. They brought the women and children and the Spaldings down river to the safety of Fort Vancouver. In the aftermath of the massacre, the American Board closed its mission stations in the Northwest. The Spaldings, Walkers and Eells moved to the Willamette Valley where Henry Spalding taught school and preached. Eliza Spalding died there in 1851.
Oregon settlers were furious when they learned of the massacre. A volunteer militia of 500 riflemen pursued the Cayuse. Few battles were fought as the Cayuse fled into the Blue Mountains. For two years, militiamen assailed the Cayuse. Many Indians died due to exposure to the harsh elements and lack of food. Finally, the tribe surrendered five warriors involved in the killing. They were tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Tilokaikt, Tomahas and three other warriors were hanged in Oregon City in the spring of 1850.
The Nez Perce Revival
The government forbade Spalding to return to Lapwai for many years. When he did return in October of 1871, 24 years after he was forced to leave, a great spiritual awakening among the Nez Perce began. In less than 18 months, more than 600 people were baptized and joined the church. "This is a glorious day," Spalding wrote, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!"
In 1873, Spokan Garry invited 70-year-old Henry Spalding to preach to the Spokane. He rode nearly 1,500 miles, preaching to the Spokane as they fished, hunted and gathered roots. In the 1840s, the Walkers and Eells had worked with the tribe for nine years without seeing one turn to Christ. During the summer of 1873, more than 300 Spokane confessed faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized. "The labor has been fearfully severe to ride so much on rough horses in my old age," Spalding wrote, "but my heart has overflowed with praises to God and joy in his wonderful work." Henry Spalding died in Lapwai in 1874, leaving behind several strong churches among the Nez Perce and Spokane. This great spiritual awakening among the Plateau tribes is known as the Nez Perce Revival. Several of the churches born out of the revival thrive to the present day.
CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES ARRIVE
John McLoughlin wanted the Hudson's Bay Company to bring Roman Catholic priests to the Northwest. Many of the retired French Canadian trappers living in the Willamette Valley were Catholics. And McLoughlin wanted to encourage more British settlers in the area without relying on the American missionaries for religious instruction.
So in 1838, with the help of the Hudson's Bay Company, Roman Catholic missionaries from Quebec, Francis Blanchet and Modeste Demers, arrived in the Northwest. Both men were well suited for the work; they were diligent and had experience working with Indians. They established St. Paul's Mission at French Prairie in the Willamette Valley, St. Francis Mission in the Cowlitz Valley, St. John the Apostle Mission near Willamette Falls and mission stations at Nisqually, Walla Walla, Okanogan, Colville and several other places.
Blanchet and Demers traveled widely and preached to tribes on the coast, in the lowlands and east of the Cascades. If the Indians were willing, the priests baptized their children immediately. On several occasions they baptized hundreds of children at a time. They taught the Indians to make the sign of the cross, recite short prayers and sing canticles - short chants or hymns used in church services. The singing was essential. One Catholic missionary said, "Without singing, the best things are of little value; noise is essential to their enjoyment."
They encouraged the Indians to practice the songs, prayers and gestures in their absence and teach them to others. This teaching-one-another strategy was very effective. Blanchet often met Indians who had never seen a priest and yet were acquainted with the sign of the cross and could sing a few canticles.
Later, Blanchet was ordained the first archbishop of the Northwest. He sailed to Europe to raise funds and recruit more missionaries for the work. He returned in 1847 with 21 priests and nuns. They built schools and churches throughout the region.
Although Catholic missionaries found the Indians receptive to their forms of worship, getting them to renounce their sins was another matter. One priest working among the tribes of the Puget Sound wrote, "If to be a Christian it were only necessary to know some prayers, and sing canticles, there is not one among them who would not adopt the title; but an important point still to be gained is a change in their morals. As soon as we touch this chord, their ardor is changed into indifference."
Despite frustrations and difficulties, Catholic missionaries labored to win the Indians to the Catholic faith. One priest named Lionnet, working with the Chinook