Pierre Jean De Smet

[Pierre Jean De Smet] Jesuit missionary, born Termonde, Belgium, 1801; died Saint Louis, Missoui, USA, 1873. He came to the United States in 1821, became a Jesuit, and was one of the founders of the Missouri Province. In 1838 he estabished a mission among the Potawatomies at Council Bluffs, and arranged a peace between them and the Sioux; in 1840 he was sent to the Flathead and Pend d'Oreille tribes. In 1846 he visited the Blackfeet on a peace mission and then returned to Saint Louis, where his superiors retained him for other work. His association with the Indians, however, never ended. In 1851 and 1858, at the request of the government, he calmed the troubles caused by the advent of the whites into California and Oregon. His most notable peace mission was in 1868, to the Sioux; he was the only white man who could go among this cruel tribe with safety. His interest in the Indians led him to cross the ocean nineteen times and to visit almost every European country, soliciting funds and recruiting missionaries. His numerous writings contain valuable information concerning Indian life.

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