Effort, the utmost effort, is required. Should you display an effort, so that the fragrances of God may be diffused among the Eskimos, its effect will be very great and far-reaching.
Effort, the utmost effort, is required. Should you display an effort, so that the fragrances of God may be diffused among the Eskimos, its effect will be very great and far-reaching.
God willing, the call of the Kingdom may reach the ears of the Eskimos, the inhabitants of the Islands of Franklin in the north of Canada, as well as Greenland.
If it is possible, send ye teachers to other portions of Canada; likewise, dispatch ye teachers to Greenland and the home of the Eskimos.
Should the fire of the love of God be kindled in Greenland, all the ice of that country will be melted, and its cold weather become temperate -- that is, if the hearts be touched with the heat of the love of God, that territory will become a divine rose garden and a heavenly paradise, and the souls, even as fruitful trees, will acquire the utmost freshness and beauty.
The continent and the islands of Eskimos are also parts of this earth. They must similarly receive a portion of the bestowals of the Most Great Guidance.
Undoubtedly in those regions [America] the Call of God must have been raised in ancient times, but it hath been forgotten now.
He feels that the most important thing at the present time is, of course, the establishment of the first Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly of Alaska. He hopes that, after the assembly is well established and has a sufficient number to maintain its status, you will again be able to do pioneer teaching work among the Eskimos. Your talk on the Faith in the church of Tuluksak may, indeed, have reached some of them, and left a seed of Truth in their minds.
He urges you to concentrate on attracting the natives as much as possible, by that he means the Eskimos. These people have a right to hear of the glorious message of Bahá’u’lláh, and he hopes you will be instrumental in attracting many of them to the Faith.
He very deeply appreciates the contribution which you have made in behalf of the Eskimos of Alaska. Receipt therefor is enclosed herewith. It is fitting that the Eskimos of Alaska be associated with the work of the Shrine of the Báb, and your having made this gift in their behalf is very appropriate, especially as you are endeavoring to work with the Eskimos in that country.
He was also delighted to hear Mr. Oliver is anxious to translate some of the Writings into Eskimo; please assure him this would be rendering both the Eskimos and the Cause a great service. If anything is printed in that language the Guardian would like to receive copies for the libraries here. He hopes through the "Arctic Trails Shopping Service" you will be able to demonstrate the fairness, uprightness, and nobility of the adherents of the Bahá’í Faith to the people it deals with, as this will more than anything else attract their attention to the Faith.
If it is possible," ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has also written, "send ye teachers to other portions of Canada; likewise, dispatch ye teachers to Greenland and the home of the Eskimos." "God willing," He further has written in those same Tablets, "the call of the Kingdom may reach the ears of the Eskimos.... Should you display an effort, so that the fragrances of God may be diffused among the Eskimos, its effect will be very great and far-reaching.
It is a great mistake to believe that because people are illiterate or live primitive lives, they are lacking in either intelligence or sensibility. On the contrary, they may well look on us with the evils of our civilization, with its moral corruption, its ruinous wars, its hypocrisy and conceit, as people who merit watching with both suspicion and contempt. We should meet them as equals, well-wishers, people who admire and respect their ancient decent, and who feel that they will be interested as we are in a living religion and not in the dead forms of present-day churches.
It was very kind of you to think of sending gifts to the Guardian made by Eskimos, and he will value them as tokens of your love and the handiwork of a people whom he is most anxious should receive the Divine Message. He hopes that your Assembly will endeavour to reach the Eskimos with the Message; he fully realizes how difficult a task this is, but it is also one of great importance. If but one of these souls should become truly enkindled, he or she could then teach others in their own language and a manner suited to their minds.
Let anyone who feels the urge among the participators in this crusade, which embraces all the races, all the republics, classes and denominations of the entire Western Hemisphere, arise, and, circumstances permitting, direct in particular the attention, and win eventually the unqualified adherence, of the Negro, the Indian, the Eskimo, and Jewish races to his Faith. No more laudable and meritorious service can be rendered the Cause of God, at the present hour, than a successful effort to enhance the diversity of the members of the American Bahá’í community by swelling the ranks of the Faith through the enrollment of the members of these races.
Nor can we fail to notice the special endeavors that have been exerted by individuals as well as Assemblies for the purpose of establishing contact with minority groups and races in various parts of the world, such as the Jews and Negroes in the United States of America, the Eskimos in Alaska . . .
Nor must the vital obligation of converting as speedily as possible, both the Eskimos and the American Indians, who, as time passes, must assume a notable share in the diffusion of the Faith and the establishment of its rising Order in these regions, be, under any circumstances neglected . . .
Of equal importance is the strenuous yet highly meritorious obligation to add, steadily and rapidly, to the number of the American Indian and Eskimo adherents of the Faith, and to ensure their active participation in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá’í activity -- a task so clearly emphasized by the Pen of the Centre of the Covenant, and in the consummation of which the Canadian Bahá’í Community is destined to play so conspicuous a part.
The greatest care should be exercised to attract the attention, and win the support of other minorities in that land, such as the Indians, the Eskimos, the Dukhobors and the Negroes, thereby reinforcing the representative character of a rapidly developing community.
The Guardian has communicated with the National Spiritual Assembly with regard to the efforts being made by yourself and Mrs. Wells as well as others in connection with the introduction of the Faith amongst the Eskimos, asking them to render every possible assistance to this most important work. It is impossible to let you know how important the Guardian feels the introduction of the Faith amongst the Eskimos is at this particular time.
The Guardian is extremely anxious that the Eskimos be brought into the Faith. He values very highly indeed the very wonderful services rendered by Mrs. Wells. He feels that she has sacrificed very deeply in order to carry the light of guidance to the seeking peoples of the world, particularly in Alaska, and now with the Eskimos. You may be sure the Guardian will pray for her spiritual success and her spiritual happiness.
The Guardian was most happy to hear of the excellent work some of the Bahá’ís are doing with the Eskimos and the Indians, and considers their spirit most exemplary. They are rendering a far greater service than they, themselves, are aware of, the fruits of which will be seen, not only in Canada, but because of their repercussions, in other countries where primitive populations must be taught.
The initial steps should be relentlessly followed by additional measures designed to . . . incorporate a steadily growing element, representative of both the Indian and Eskimo races, into the life of the community. Obstacles, however formidable, will have to be determinedly surmounted. Any reverses that sooner or later may be suffered should be met with stoic fortitude, and speedily offset by victories in other fields. The glorious vision now unveiled to your eyes must never be dimmed. The illuminating promises enshrined in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Tablets should not be forgotten for a moment.
The initiation of a systematic and sustained campaign beyond the frontiers of that Dominion, and in obedience to the Mandate of the Author of the Divine Plan, to which it stands inescapably pledged, and aiming at the introduction of the Faith in Greenland and the conversion of the Eskimos still remains to be undertaken . . . As the operation of the Plan gathers momentum the members of this community must evince a still greater measure of solidarity, rise to higher levels of heroism, demonstrate a greater capacity for collective achievement, and attract still more abundant blessings on the varied enterprises on which they have embarked.
The long overdue conversion of the American Indians, the Eskimos and French Canadians, as well as the representatives of other minorities permanently residing within the borders of that vast Dominion, must receive, in the months immediately ahead, such an impetus as to astonish and stimulate the members of all Bahá’í communities throughout the length and breadth of the Western Hemisphere.
The maintenance and consolidation of the first historic spiritual assembly in Anchorage, the northernmost administrative center of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the world; the multiplication of Bahá’í centers in that territory; the propagation of the teachings among the Eskimos, emphasized by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's pen in those same Tablets; the translation and publication of selected passages from Bahá’í literature in their native language; the extension of the limits of the Faith beyond Fairbanks and nearer to the Arctic Circle -- these constitute the urgent tasks facing the prosecutors of the present Plan in the years immediately ahead.
The obstacles confronting it whether in Greenland, or among the Indians and the Eskimos of the extreme North, are truly formidable. Yet the potency infused into this community, through the Revelation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's Divine Plan, and the spiritual capacity engendered in its earliest members through His visit to their native land -- distinctions which it fully shares with its sister community in the Great Republic of the West -- empower it to discharge -- if it but rise to the occasion -- all the responsibilities it has undertaken and consummate the task to which it stands pledged.
The personality of the Bahá’í who accepts this invitation should be carefully considered, because to be a guest of people in a different climate and environment, of a different nationality and speaking a different language, so far away, might be a little trying, and of course the impression that this Bahá’í creates will be of infinite importance to the Faith in its future development in Greenland. Whether ... makes the sacrifice and goes, or some other individual is chosen, he urges your Assembly to above all consider this matter tactfully and from the human standpoint, rather than the religious one, if one can put it that way.
The work started among the Eskimos and Indians should be maintained at its present level, and should not be permitted to decline.
Though the process of the multiplication of Bahá’í centres, over the length and breadth of so vast a territory, has been, steadily and speedily, gathering momentum, the number of groups that have achieved Assembly status is still relatively insignificant, while the pioneer activity designed to awaken and stimulate the interest of the Eskimos in the Faith and enlist their support may hardly be said to have been vigorously and adequately launched. The call to which this newly-fledged community has been summoned is admittedly urgent and challenging. The character of the tasks alloted to it is, in many respects, unique. The resources at its disposal for the discharge of its peculiar responsibilities are no doubt as yet inadequate. The obstacles that stand in its way and obstruct its path seem almost insurmountable. Its membership, when viewed in relation to the range over which it operates, is no doubt wholly inadequate yet the spirit which has consistently animated the members of the entire community, and the energy and determination which have distinguished their elected representatives in the discharge of their sacred duties, are such as to fortify the hopes which I, as well as their fellow-workers in both hemispheres, have cherished in our hearts, since the inauguration of their first collective enterprise in a land so rich in promise, so vast in its potentialities, and so honoured by the visit of the Centre of the Covenant Himself as well as by the glowing references made to it by Him in His immortal Tablets.
Under whatever conditions, the dearly loved, the divinely sustained, the onward marching legions of the army of Bahá’u’lláh may be laboring, in whatever theatre they may operate, in whatever climes they may struggle, whether in the cold and inhospitable territories beyond the Arctic Circle, or . . . in the lonely, far-away, backward and sparsely populated islands . . . amidst the diversified tribes of . . . the Eskimos and the Lapps of the Arctic regions . . . to them all, as well as to those who, as the fortunes of this fate-laden Crusade prosper, will be called upon to unfurl the standard of an all-conquering Faith . . . I direct my impassioned appeal to obey, as befits His warriors, the summons of the Lord of Hosts, and prepare for that Day of Days when His victorious battalions will, to the accompaniment of hozannas from the invisible angels in the Abhá Kingdom, celebrate the hour of final victory.
The representative character of the Bahá’í community should therefore be reinforced through the attraction, conversion and support of an ever-growing number of new believers from the diverse elements constituting the population of that vast mainland and particularly from among Indians and Eskimos about whose future the Master wrote in such glowing terms. In the glorious freedom which enables you to proclaim, to teach and confirm, to educate and deepen yourselves and others in the verities of the Faith, you have precious opportunities of service denied to many of your fellow believers elsewhere. If your blessed communities are to lead the world spiritually, as the Master envisaged, then the Faith must strike deeper roots in your hearts, the spirit of its teachings must be exemplified in ever greater measure in your lives, and God's Holy Cause must be taught and proclaimed with ever greater intensity. In His immortal Tablets addressed to the Bahá’ís of North America ‘Abdu’l-Bahá assures each one of you that "whosoever arises in this day to diffuse the divine fragrances, the cohorts of the Kingdom of God shall confirm him
We are heartened at the prospect that from indigenous peoples of this vast oceanic area, the Ainu, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans, the Okinawans, the Micronesians, the American Indians, the Eskimos, and the Aleuts vast numbers will soon enter the Faith.
Constantly remembering ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's words in the Tablets of the Divine Plan to "give great importance to teaching the Indians, i.e., the aborigines of America" Shoghi Effendi pursued this objective until the last months of his life, when he wrote, in July 1957, to the Canadian National Assembly, that the "long overdue conversion" of the American Indians, the Eskimos and other minorities, should receive such an impetus "as to astonish and stimulate the members of all Bahá’í communities throughout the length and breadth of the Western Hemisphere.
He feels that this is a very important opportunity which you have now obtained of teaching the Faith to the Eskimo people, and he hopes your efforts will be crowned with success. He would not advise you to teach them Esperanto, as we have no way of knowing whether it will ultimately be chosen as the auxiliary language of the world. He thinks the most direct and quickest way of communicating with them in a common tongue should be chosen; in other words either you should learn their language or they yours, whichever will yield the quickest results. As they are a relatively uncivilized people, unused to the modern cosmopolitan forms of life, and consequently not au courant with the thoughts which to us have become mere commonplace, he would advise you to approach them through love, friendliness, and association, until you are in a position to enter into their confidence, and gradually teach them, in a simple way, the great truths of our Faith. To confirm them in the Faith should be your main objective, always bearing in mind that faith and belief are different from learning and a full grasp of the implications of such a vast Cause as ours. You may be sure his loving prayers will be offered for the success of your historic mission, and he will be interested to hear how you are progressing.
[PS in the Guardian’s handwriting]: Assuring you of my abiding gratitude and appreciation for the magnificent services you are rendering, and for the laudable spirit you are demonstrating in your historic activities and achievements in these days of stress and peril, and assuring you also of my special and constant prayers for the success of every effort you exert, and every step you take in the path of service, (Shoghi Effendi, to Janet Whitenack
On one occasion a pilgrim from Canada had informed the Guardian that in teaching the Faith to the Eskimo people it was very difficult for them to understand the meaning in such similes as the nightingale and the rose because these things were entirely unknown to them. The reaction of Shoghi Effendi to this was typical. When he said good-bye to this friend he gave her a small vial of the Persian attar of rose, the quintessence of what a rose is, and told her to anoint the Eskimos with it, saying that perhaps in this way
they would get an inkling of what Bahá’u’lláh meant when He wrote of the rose.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá was most anxious that the Eskimo people should be taught the Message of this New Day, and it is a source of happiness to all Bahá’ís that you, a member of that race, have arisen to spread these teachings. God has surely guided your steps and blessed your search for divine Truth. (Shoghi Effendi, to Melba Call