The Book of Common Prayer
United States England Scotland Ireland Wales Canada World

    Portions of the Book of Common Prayer
in Ojibwe


The Ojibwe are one of the largest groups of Native Americans in North America. They total over 200,000, concentrated mostly around the Great Lakes in both the United States and Canada, and extending into the Great Plains. There are nearly 90,000 speakers of the Ojibwe language, mostly in Canada. This makes it one of the most widely spoken indigenous languages in North America. It is of the Algonquian family.

The Ojibwe language has been written both in Latin letters and in syllabic characters. Ojibwe syllabic writing is used almost exclusively in Canada, where it was developed by James Evans, a Methodist missionary. The characters in this writing system typically stand for a consonant followed by a vowel (e. g., chi, ki, mi, ni, etc.). Currently, syllabic writing is common in Canada among the Cree, Ojibwe, and Inuit, where its use has become official in the Canadian Nunavut territory.

The Book of Common Prayer was first translated into Ojibwe in 1844 in the U. S., and in 1846 in Canada. We have the first US translation (actually of only a small portion of the BCP) online. The first Canadian translation (Griffiths 129:1; 1846) is available as PDF graphics from Google Books, and another (Griffiths 129:6; 1882) from the Internet Archive.


Title page, Ojibwe BCP


"Griffiths" refers to a listing in David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer.

The text presented here is, to our knowledge, the only Ojibwe BCP printed in syllabics. It is, of course, a translation of the 1662 BCP, and was done in 1880 by Bp. John Horden (identified on the title page only as "the Bishop of Moosonee"), and a native priest, the Rev. John Sanders. It is listed in David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer as 129:5. As may be seen from the Table of Contents below, some parts of the BCP are omitted in this translation. The particular copy used here was printed in 1930, and has obviously seen a lot of use. The last two pages of Evening Prayer (p. 31 & 32) are missing, and two leaves (four pages) in Evening Prayer are torn, resulting in loss of text. Otherwise the text is complete.

Because the text is in syllabics, it is presented here as graphics in a single Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file:

Download the Book of Common Prayer in Ojibwe syllablics (PDF, 4.8MB)


 Bp. John Horden
Bp. Horden
(photo courtesy of Project Canterbury)

Table of Contents

Morning Prayer
p. 2
Evening Prayer
p. 19
p. 33
Prayer for all Conditions of Men
p. 44
General Thanksgiving
p. 45
Collects for the Church Year
p. 46
Holy Communion
p. 77
Adult Baptism
p. 105
p. 116
p. 125
p. 130
p. 143


Ojibwe photo
Photo found in the BCP


Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld