Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GANNEAKTENA, Catharine, Indian convert, born in northern New York; died in La Prairie, Canada, in 1673. She was by birth an Erie Indian, but had been adopted into the Oneida tribe. Her husband was a Christian Huron, and she showed a desire to embrace Christianity when Father Bruyas preached the gospel to the Oneidas in 1668. Catharine had long been esteemed for her modesty and gentleness, and was of great assistance to the missionary in learning the language of the tribe. She was ill treated by her relatives because of her inclination to Christianity, and to escape persecution she set out for Montreal in company with her husband, and afterward went to Quebec, where she was baptized by the name of Catharine, and confirmed by Bishop Laval. During her stay at Montreal she received instruction from Father Raffeix, who requested her to found a village in which Indians from the Five Nations that were afraid to acknowledge their conversion to Christianity might settle. At the close of 1669 she was joined by several members of her family, who had become converts, and founded the colony of La Prairie. The village received constant accessions from the missions in the Iroquois cantons, and in 1670 had become so important that a regular government was organized. A system of laws was promulgated, according to which no one was allowed to reside in the village except he renounced three things--belief in dreams, polygamy, and drunkenness. Any Indian violating these rules was expelled. The little colony was long noted for the piety and innocent life of its inhabitants, who regarded their founder as a saint and reverenced her as a mother.
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