Now You Are My Brother: Missionaries in British Columbia


92 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-7718-8275-0




Reviewed by Nora D.S. Robins

Nora D.S. Robins is co-ordinator of Internal Collections at the
University of Calgary Libraries.


Now You Are My Brother is one in a series of books in the Sound Heritage Series produced by the Provincial Archives of British Columbia. The narrative is a combination of oral and written information. Margaret Whitehead has been researching and writing about British Columbia ecclesiastical history for a number of years and is the author of The Caribou Mission, a narrative of St. Joseph’s mission at Williams Lake.

This book provides a brief introduction to missionary efforts in British Columbia by presenting the reminiscences of those who proselytized and those who were converted. The story covers the period from the establishment of the Anglican missions in the Nass and Skeena River region in the 1870s, as exemplified in the life of Robert Tomlinson, to the post-World War II missionaries of the Caribou-Chilcotin region, who, like their nineteenth century counterparts, served in a variety of roles beyond their clerical duties within the native communities.

The early missionaries were often men and women of strong will and vivid personality who succeeded in their task of bringing the Christian message — often with a touch of ethnocentricity — to the Province’s native people. By the late 1920s, the European missionaries were being replaced by Canadian-born or, at least, Canadian-educated ones. Their attitudes toward their missionary roles were much more realistic and practical than those of their predecessors.

The book is amply illustrated with maps and black-and-white photographs from the Provincial Archives. It would have benefitted from a bibliography of related readings. The brief sketches that comprise this work provide an instructive and entertaining survey of those whose lives added substantially to the richness of British Columbia’s history.


Whitehead, Margaret, “Now You Are My Brother: Missionaries in British Columbia,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,