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THE Wakashan stock embraces the languages spoken by a number of tribes inhabiting the coast of British Columbia near Fort Rupert, and extending southward to Cape Flattery in the State of Washington. Two principal groups may be distinguished — the Nootka and the Kwakiutl. The latter is spoken on Vancouver Island and on the coast of the mainland of British Columbia from the northern end of the Gulf of Georgia northward to the deep inlets just south of Skeena River. The proper name of the tribe, according the ethnologists, is Kwāg·ul, the name of the language Kwāk!wala.

A mission of the Church of England was begun in 1878, three hundred miles to the north of Massett, the chief trading post of the Haidas at Fort Rupert, a trading post at the north end of Vancouver Island. The Roman Catholic Church had been among the Indians there, but without success; and the head chief, having heard of Metlakatla, journeyed thither, and said that Mr. Duncan had “thrown a rope out which was encircling all the Indians in one common brotherhood.” Just at that time a young priest, the Rev. Alfred James Hall, was labouring at Metlakatla with William Duncan. Hall was born in 1853, in the village of Thorpe, Surrey, England. In 1873 he was accepted by the C.M.S. for foreign work, and was sent for four years to Islington College. In February, 1877, he was ordained, and in June of the same year he went to Metlakatla, British Columbia[1]. Here he laboured with Duncan until March 8, 1878. During his eight months’ stay he acquired a fair knowledge of Tsimshian. He left the place, with much regret, to proceed to Fort Rupert, to work among the Kwakiutl, who speak a totally different language. He found it more difficult to acquire than the Tsimshian. In 1881 he went to Alert Bay, on a neighbouring island about twenty miles south of Fort Rupert, and in after years was privileged to reap a harvest of souls. He worked patiently among these Indians. A translation of St. Matthew’s Gospel was printed in 1882; two years later a translation of the Gospel according to St. John. A grammar of the Kwagiutl language, in two parts, followed in 1888 and 1889. His first two converts were baptized in 1883. In 1884 he had a congregation of forty, and in 1890 one of seventy. In 1888, and again in 1891, the S.P.C.K. published for him * a Kwagūtl version of portions of the Book of Common Prayer. 62 pages, 16mo. The portions of the Liturgy include Morning and Evening Prayer, the Litany, and the Ten Commandments, pp. 3-49; Hymns, pp. 50-62; Isaiah Iii, verses 7 and 9, on p. 62. A supplementary edition appeared in 1900, entitled * Portions of the Book of Common Prayer, Kwagutl. London. S.P.C.K. 63 pages, fcap. 8vo. Title, reverse containing Contents: Holy Communion, pp. 3-23; Baptism of those of riper years, 24-32; the Catechism, 33-40; Confirmation, 41-44 ; Holy Matrimony, etc., 45-63. The editions of 1891 and of 1900 are to be used together. In virtue of his literary productions, Archbishop Benson conferred, in 1894, on Hall the Lambeth degree of B.D. Other portions of the New Testament translated by Hall are the Gospels according to St. Luke (1898), and St. Mark (1903), and the Acts of the Apostles (1899). The New Testament portions were all published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.


Previous chapter

[1] Metlakatla is a Tsimshian town, 15 miles south of Port Simpson. While the mission station of the Church of England, established in 1857, was conducted by William Duncan, who came there as a young schoolmaster, it was a flourishing place. Trouble arising between him and Bishop Ridley over the conduct of his work and the theological views maintained by him, Duncan moved in 1887 to Port Chester or New Metlakatla, on Annette Island, Alaska. Most of the Indians followed him. The old town, which in 1906 had 198 inhabitants, is now the site of an Indian school of the Church of England. No one who has carefully studied the different accounts of the trouble can deny that, if Bishop Ridley had shown better discretion and that Christian spirit — rather than muscular Christianity — expected in a minister of Christ, Duncan would still be working at Old Metlakatla. Duncan's side is well represented in Arctander, The Apostle of Alaska, 1909, and H. S. Wellcome, The Story of Metlakatla, Second Edition, 1887.

Griffiths 83:1 (1888, reissued 1891, 1900)



The Salish or Flathead Indians are a linguistic family inhabiting the northern portion of the State of Washington, West Montana, North Montana, a small strip of the northwest coast of Oregon, and in Canada the south-eastern part of Vancouver Island and all the south mainland of British Columbia as far as Bute inlet and Queenelle lake. Their language is divided into dialects of the interior and dialects of the coast. To the former belongs the N(i)tlakapamuk of south-western British Columbia, which alone concerns us at present.

Nitlakapamuk, also called Meklakapamuk (or Thompson river Indian), is the language of a tribe in British Columbia known as the Lytton Thompson Indians[2]. The Rev. John Booth Good, born in 1833, at Wrawby, Lincolnshire, England, and educated at St. Augustine College, Canterbury, devoted twenty-two years of his life (1861-83) to mission work among the North American Indians. As an aid for his mission work he compiled in 1863 a Liturgy and Hymnal. In 1867 he received an invitation from the Thompson river Indians, at Lytton,a tribe numbering about one thousand five hundred people. Mr. Good responded, and worked among them with great success. In 1871 Bishop George Hills laid the foundation of a new church at Lytton, dedicated to St. Paul, by which name the mission has since been known . For the Indians of this mission Good translated from time to time portions of the Prayer Book. In 1878 the St. Paul's Mission Press at Victoria, B.C., printed: The Morning .and Evening Prayer and the Litany, with Prayers and Thanksgivings, translated into the Neklakapamuk tongue, for the use of the Indians of the St. Paul's Mission, Lytton, British Columbia. Title, reverse blank; text, pp. 3-48, 12mo. Contents: Morning and Evening Prayer, pp. 3-33; Administration of the Lord’s Supper, pp. 34-48. This latter portion was issued separately the same year. The cover title of both differs slightly from the inner title. Good continued this work, and issued in 1879: The Office for Public Baptism and the Order of Confirmation, with 'select hymns and prayers, translated into the Neklakapamuk (or Thompson) tongue for the use of the Indians of the St. Paul's Mission, Lytton, British Columbia. (By aid of the Venerable Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge). Victoria, B.C.: printed by the St. Paul's Mission Press (S.P.C.K.) Collegiate School, 1879. Title, p. 1; text, pp. 2-32. 8vo. The tract contains the Office of Baptism of Infants and that of Adults. Select hymns, pp, 20, 25-32.

Another octavo tract, containing Offices for the Solemnizat[i]on of Matrimony, the Visitation of the Sick, and the Burial of the Dead, translated into the Nitlakapamuk (or Thompson) Indian tongue . . . appeared Victoria, B.C.: Printed by the St. Paul's Mission Press (S.P.C.K.) Collegiate School, 1880. Title, reverse blank; text, with headings in English, pp. 3-15.

Good is the author also of A Vocabulary and Outlines of Grammar of the Nitlakapamuk or Thompson Tongue (the Indian language spoken between Yale, Lillovet, Cache Creek .and Nicola Lake), 1880. He is at present living in Pasadena, California.


[2] See James Teit, “The Thompson Indians of British Columbia,” edited by Franz Boas. Illustrations; plates; map. In American Museum of Natural History; Memoirs, Vol. II, pp. 163-392; New York, 1900.

Griffiths lists no texts in this language; however, baptism & confirmation are online from Google Books, and the tract containing marriage, visitation of the sick, & burial is elsewhere on this site.

The Chinook jargon is the Indian trade language of the Columbia river region and the adjacent Pacific coast from California far up into Alaska. It was first brought to public notice in the early days of the Oregon fur trade — about 1810.

The Right Rev. Alexander Charles Garrett, bishop of Dallas, Northern Texas, translated in 1862, while missionary . at Victoria (1861-67), on Vancouver’s Island, portions of the Prayer Book into the Chinook jargon; but the jargon was so hopeless that he never printed a line. The bishop informs me (July 29, 1912) that “the MSS. has long since disappeared.” Garrett was born in Ireland, November 4, 1832. He was ordained priest in 1857. In September, 1859, he sailed as a missionary to British Columbia, where he remained for ten years. The Indians in his charge were a small resident tribe (about 200) of Songes or Tsau-miss, belonging to the great family of the Cowitchins (Cowichan), a group of Salish tribes. Many other neighbouring tribes came to the settlement. Thus the missionary was obliged to use Chinook. In later years Mr. Garrett was a rector, and subsequently bishop of Dallas, Texas, in the Episcopal Church of the United States.



Griffiths lists no texts in this language




THE Athapascan[1] stock is one of the largest and most widely distributed families of speech in North America. Geographically it consists of three divisions-the northern, the Pacific coast, and the southern, this last represented by the renowned Apache and Navajo warriors. The northern division, which only concerns us here, occupies much of the north-western portion of the American Continent. East of the Rocky Mountains the southern boundary is the Churchill river at the south-east, and the watershed between Athaabasca and Peace rivers at the south-west. West of the Rocky Mountains the Athapascan territory begins at the fifty-first parallel of north latitude, and includes all the country except the coast and the islands. Only near the boundary of Alaska and British Columbia did they reach the coast. In the extreme north the coast is in the possession of the Eskimo. To the south the shorelands are occupied by the Haida, Tling(q)it, Tsimshian and Wakashan Indians. Their southern neighbours are members of the Salishan stock.

Beyond the northern boundary of Hudson’s Bay lies the still vaster basin of the mighty Mackenzie river[2], which flows into the Polar Sea. This immense territory is the home of the great nation or family of Indians, the Athaapascans, who call themselves generally Dene or Tinne(h), a word meaning “men.” They comprise the Chipewyans[3], the Tukudh or Takudh, and other tribes.


[1] So called from the Athapascan waters traversing their domain.

[2] Called thus after Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1755 ?-1820). who descended the great river in 1789.


The first Church of England missionary to visit the Tukudh, also called Loucheux (French = squinters, from the oblique form of the eye, which so closely resembles the Mongolian type) or Kutchin (their generic name), was the Rev. William West Kirkby, who in 1861 proceeded as far as Fort Yukon, then the furthest outpost of the Hudson’s Bay Company trade. The encouragement which he met, led him to make the long journey a second time in the following year, 1862, and on his return to Fort Simpson, the capital of the Far North at the confluence of the Liard and Slave rivers, and headquarters of his mission, he found that a colleague had arrived from the south, in the person of the Rev. Robert McDonald.

McDonald was a country-born missionary, trained at Bishop David Anderson’s Collegiate School at Red River, where he had been a highly distinguished student. He was ordained by the same bishop in 1852, and had been in charge of Islington Station for nine years. Thus appeared on the scene the future archdeacon of Mackenzie River and translator of the Scriptures and of the Prayer Book into the Tukudh-Kutchin language. He established his headquarters at St. Matthew’s Mission, on Peel river, Mackenzie district, “one mile within the Arctic Circle.” Here he devoted himself with remarkable industry and success to the study of the language of the Tukudh-Kutchin, and did most of his translational work, all printed in a syllabic type of his own device, suggested by the syllabic characters of Evans. The Indians were taught to read by learning this syllabary of about 500 syllables, containing from two to five letters each. The syllabary sufficed to express all sounds in the language, and was acquired quite easily and rapidly by the Indians. Dr. McDonald died September, 1913.

[3] The Chipewyans must not be confounded with the Chippewas . or Ojibways, who belong to the Algonquian stock. See above, Chap. LXVII
The first Tukudh publication of portions of the Liturgy appeared in 1873. It is entitled: A Selection from the Book of Common Prayer, according to the use of the United Church of England and Ireland. Translated into Tukudh by the Rev. R. McDonald, missionary of the C.M.S. . . . London: S.P.C.K.; . . . 1873. Title, reverse printer’s name. Text, pp. 1-123, with headings in English. 18mo. Contents: Order for Morning (Evening) Prayer, pp. 1-9 (and 10-18); Prayers, 19-20; Order of the Administration of the Lord’s Supper, 20-53; Baptism of Infants, 54-66 ; Baptism of Adults, 66-78; Solemnization of Matrimony, 79-93; Burial of the Dead, 94-104; Hymns, 105-123.

Griffiths 82:1; Griffiths calls this language Kutchin; it is also known as Gwich'in.

The 1873 edition was revised and enlarged and put out by the S.P.C.K. in 1885, entitled: Ettunetle | tutthug enjit gichinchik | akg | Sakrament rsikotitinyoo | ako chizi | thlelchil nutinde ako kindi | kwunttlutritili | Ingland thlelchil | tungittiyin kwikit. | Takudh tsha zit thleteteitazya | Ven. Archdeacon McDonald, D.D., | Kirkhe. | (24), 221 pages,16mo The initial twenty-four pages contain Tukudh title, reverse blank; English title, reverse blank; preface, Concerning the Service of the Church, Of Ceremonies, etc., two leaves; Proper Lessons, etc.; four leaves; Tables and Rules, four leaves. Text, with the exception of a few headings in English, entirely in the Tukudh language, occupying pp. 1-221. On the English title-page it is stated that: {The Preface and Tables are printed in English, and the Epistles and Gospels are not inserted, except those taken from the Old Testament, which are given at the end. The Psalter, the Form of Prayer to be used at Sea, the Ordination Service, and the Articles of Religion are omitted from this edition.)
Griffiths 82:2 (1885, reissued 1890)

An enlarged edition, including the Psalter or Psalms of David (David vi Psalmnut), 426 pages, fcap. 8vo, was published by the S.P.C.K. in 1899. The liturgical Epistles and Gospels, with the exception of the Old Testament Epistles, are not printed in this edition, and a few other pieces are omitted. The edition is otherwise complete. The latest edition, published in 1912, numbers 460 pages. On the English title-page of the edition of 1912 it is stated that: The Tables are printed in English, and the Epistles and Gospels are not inserted, except those taken from the Old Testament, which are given at the end. Prayers for the Governor-General of the Dominion, for the Dominion Parliament, are included; also the Ordination Services, and the Articles of Religion. In 1911 the archdeacon published through the Society a grammar of the Tukudh language. He is one of the very few good Tukudh scholars; knows the language practically as well as philologically, and has done most all the translations of Scripture and of Prayer Book into that language. He retired from the mission field·in 1905, and is living now at Winnipeg, Canada.



Griffiths 82:3

The first book ever printed in Slave was written by the Rev. William West Kirkby, and published in 1862, entitled: Hymns and Prayers, for the Private Devotions of the Slave Indians of McKenzie’s River. By Rev. W. W. Kirkby. New York: Rennie, Shea & Lindsay. Title, reverse blank; syllabic alphabet, p. 1; text (in syllabic characters, with headings in English), pp. 2-16. 12mo. Contents: Easy words, pp. 2-3; Morning Service, 3-5; Evening Service, 5-7; Sunday Service, 8-10; Watts’s Catechism, ro-I3; Ten Commandments, 14-16.

William West Kirkby was born at Hamford, Lincolnshire, England, in 1827. At the age of twenty a strong desire to enter the mission field came into his soul, and he offered his-, services to the C.M.S. The offer was accepted, and he entered St. John’s College, London, to prepare for his new duties. In May, 1852, a sudden call came for a teacher to go at once to Red River, and the Committee selected him for the post. He was ordained priest on December 24, 1854, by the first bishop of Rupert’s Land, the Right Rev. David Anderson. He took charge immediately of St. Andrew’s Church and parish at Red River, then the largest parish in the settlement. Here he remained for four years, having charge also of a model training school and superintending the work of education in the colony in those parishes which belonged to the C.M.S. In the meanwhile the Church had spread northward and westward to Fairford, Cumberland, Lac la Ronge, and the English River; and then, at a single bound, it went into the great Mackenzie Valley[4]. Archdeacon Hunter went thither in 1858 on an exploring tour, and the next year the bishop appointed Mr. Kirkby to take charge of that new work. He at once proceeded thither, and made Fort Simpson, at the junction of Liard and Mackenzie rivers, his headquarters. The first and most imperative task was the acquisition of the language, and then the erection of suitable buildings for church and school purposes. He was most successful in his own work, and carried the Gospel into the Arctic Circle and to Alaska. Here he learned the Tukudh language, a member of the Tinne family. From one of the Fur Company’s forts, near La Pierre’s house, he embarked on the Rat River, and went down the Porcupine River, a tributary of the Yukon. Two miles further up stands Fort Yukon. Upon Mr. Kirkby’s. return the work at the Yukon was given to Robert McDonald, as stated above. Mr. Kirkby remained at Fort Simpson and devoted much of his time to translational work. He collected materials for a grammar and a vocabulary for the use of others. In 1870 he was appointed archdeacon of York, Hudson’s Bay, residing at York Factory, so that he could meet the Chipewyans of Churchill, a tribe numbering some five hundred and extending to the Great Slave Lake. Here he laboured for nine years, and then retired from the mission field to make a home for his children in the more civilized world. He accepted the rectorship of Christ Church, in the village of Rye, near New York City, and died there September 5, 1907, aged eighty years.

Of the translational work which concerns us directly we mention here: A Manual of Devotion and Instruction for. the Slave Indians of McKenzie River, by the Rev. W. W. Kirkby. [Seal of the “C.M.S.” for “the Diocese of Rupert’s Land.”] [London:] Printed by W. M. Watts. . . . [1862]. Title, p. 1; text, in roman characters with English headings, pp. 2-65. 16mo. Two later editions, the one of 76 pages .and the other numbering 86, were published at the beginning of the seventies of the last century.

In 1872 Mr. Kirkby compiled a similar manual in the Chipewyan language for the Indians of Churchill, 113 pages, 18mo. It was practically the same as the third edition of the manual for the Slave Indians, “transliterated into Chipewyan as spoken at Churchill, 3,000 miles from McKenzie’s River” (Kirkby). Another edition, put out a few years later, contained 148 pages.


[4] See also Sarah Tucker, The Rainbow in the North, London, 1851.

In 1879(?) the S.P.C.K. published for the archdeacon: Portions of the Book of Common Prayer, Hymns, etc., in the Chipewyan language. . . . Printed, at the request of the Bishop of Rupert’s Land [the Right Rev. Robert Machray], by the S.P.C.K. . . . London. [1879?] Title, reverse, syllabic alphabet; text (in syllabic characters, with English .headings), pp. 3-195; Colophon, p. 196. 16mo. Another edition appeared in 1881, 160 pages. Text in syllabic characters, with headings partly in syllabic characters and partly in English and. Latin. 16mo. Other translations of the archdeacon into Chipewyan are: Hymns, Prayers and Instructions, 1881 (92 pages, 16mo), text in syllabic characters, with English headings; The New Testament, London, 1881, British and Foreign Bible Society, 396 pages, 8vo.



Griffiths 19:1


Griffiths 19:2

One of the greatest names in the missionary history of the north-west of the American Continent is that of Bishop Bompas. William Carpenter Bompas was born in London, England, in 1834. As son of a serjeant-at-law he intended to follow his father’s profession, and studied law. He soon changed and took Holy Orders. He was ordained deacon in 1859 by the Right Rev. John Jackson, bishop of Lincoln. After serving several curacies in this diocese, he came to. Canada in 1865 as a C.M.S. missionary, and received priest’s orders from the bishop of Rupert’s Land. In 1874 he was summoned to England to receive episcopal consecration as, bishop of Athab(p)asca. In 1884, when the present diocese of Mackenzie River was portioned off from that of Athaab(p)asca, he chose this new diocese, the Right Rev. Richard Young becoming bishop of Athab(p)asca. In 1891 he moved still further west, and became the first Bishop of Selkirk (Yukon), embracing the regions north of Caledonia and west of the Rocky Mountains. “The Great Apostle of the North” died in 1906, at Carcross, on the Upper Yukon while bishop of Selkirk.

“Bishop Bompas was one of the apostolic men of Canada, who, commenced his work in the Far North on Christmas Day, 1865, and who, from that day to his resignation of the Diocese of Selkirk, in the autumn of 1905, only twice left the mission field. Brave old soldier of the frozen North! He ever went to the farthest outpost of the Church, and on each occasion, when his vast diocese· was divided, he chose the more distant and inhospitable district as his field of labour, becoming successively Bishop of Mackenzie· River and of Selkirk. His marvellous self-denial and heroic fortitude have won the admiration and love of all friends of missionary’ enterprise”[5].


Bishop Bompas began his literary work with several primers, all of which were printed by Gilbert & Rivington, London. We mention here: A Beaver Indian primer, 36 pages, 16mo; Chipewyan primer, 36 pages, 16mo; Dog Rib primer, 22 pages, 16mo; Tinne primer, 76 pages 16mo, and a Tukudh primer, 55 pages, 16mo. These were all printed at the expense of the S.P.C.K. They contain, translations of portions of the Book of Common Prayer, Hymns and other materials for religious instruction.

[5] S.P.G. Annual Report for the year 1905 (London, 1906), p. 183.
In 1879 the Venerable S.P.C.K. published: Portions of the Book of Common Prayer, Hymns, etc., in the Chipewyan language. By Archdeacon Kirkby. Adapted for the use of the Slavi Indians by the Right Reverend W. C. Bompas,. D.D., Bishop of Athabasca. Title, reverse, syllabarium; text in syllabic characters with headings in English, pp. 3-175; colophon, p. (176); 16mo. Contains Morning and Evening Prayers, Litany, Prayers, Holy Communion, Hymns, Scripture Lessons, Catechism. The same was also issued in roman characters in 1882, same number of pages and size. In 1889 the S.P.C.K. published an (undated) edition of: Lessons and Prayers in the Tenni or Slavi language ... compiled by W. C. Bompas. 81 pages, printed in roman characters. A similar volume in syllabic characters, with illustrations, appeared in 1892, 126 pages.
Griffiths 158:1; Griffiths calls this language Slave.

Griffiths 158:2 (1882)



In 1891 was issued:

* Part of the Book of Common Prayer, ... Translated into the language of the Chipewyan Indians of the Queen’s Dominion of Canada, by the Ven. Archdeacon W. W. Kirkby, D.D. Adapted to the use of the Tenni Indians of Mackenzie River by the Right Rev. W. C. Bompas, D.D., Bishop of Mackenzie River. . . .

Title, reverse blank; contents, reverse blank; in all, four pages. Text (mostly in Chipewyan, roman characters, with headings and instructions in English), pp. 1-276. 16mo. It begins with the Morning Prayer and ends with the Commination.

Griffiths 158:3

In 1905 the Society published an edition, in syllabic characters, of: Part of the Book of Common Prayer . . Translated into Tenni; (4), 196 pages, fcap. 8vo. It contains much the same matter as the edition of 1891, but it omits the Old Testament Epistles, the liturgical Epistles and Gospels. The rubrics are in English. This edition was probably the joint work of Bishop Bompas and of the Right Rev. William Day Reeve, D.D., bishop of Mackenzie River, 1891-1907, and at present assistant Bishop of Toronto.


Griffiths 158:4 (1903, reissued 1905)

Bishop Bompas wrote also books and tracts in the Algonquian languages, as well as a primer in Eskimo. He devoted a large part of his time to the mission work among the Beaver Indians on Peace River. We mentioned above his. Beaver Indian primer. This primer was reprinted in 1880, entitled: Manual of Devotion, in the Beaver Indian dialect.

Compiled from the manuals of the Venerable Archdeacon Kirkby by the Bishop of Athabasca, for the use of the Indians in the Athabasca Diocese. . . . London: S.P.C.K. [1880]. 48 pages, in syllabic characters. 16mo.

The work among the Beaver Indians was ably continued by the Rev. Alfred Campbell Garrioch. He was born in St. Paul’s Parish, Red River Settlement (or Manitoba), in 1848. He studied for three years at St. John’s College, Winnipeg, and was engaged in 1874 as schoolmaster by Bishop Bompas for the C.M.s. He spent the winter of 1875-76 as a student with the bishop at Fort Simpson, and was then ordained deacon. In 1876 he established a mission of the C.M.S. at Fort Vermilion, under the name of Unjaga Mission. He subsequently visited Canada and England, where he had his translations printed. In 1886 he returned to mission work among the Beaver Indians of Peace River, at Dunvegan. In that year he was ordained priest by the bishop of Athabasca. In 1892 he returned to Manitoba, and retired in 1905 from active work, settling at Portage-le-Prairie (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba.


Mr. Garrioch translated for the use of the Beaver Indians the Gospel according to St. Mark (1886), and compiled a vocabulary of the Beaver Indian language (1885). He edited in 1886 a Manual of Devotion in the Beaver Indian language . . . London: S.P.C.K. . . . 1886. (8), 87 pages. The text is in syllabic characters, with some headings in English and Latin. Contents: Morning and Evening Prayer; Prayers, etc.; Watts’s First Catechism; Grace, Ten Commandments, Prayers; Hymns, and selections from Scripture.





Not listed by Griffiths



THE American Church began work in Alaska in 1886 with a school at St. Michael, on the coast (Eskimo). This school was removed the following year to Anvik, on the Yukon, in charge of the Rev. and Mrs. Octavius Parker and the Rev. John Wight Chapman. Parker retired in 1889, while ,Chapman is still at work in Anvik. In 1890 a mission school was started at Point Hope (Eskimo) under the Rev. John .E. Driggs, M.D., and about the same time another among the Tanana Indians in the middle Yukon Valley, by Archhdeacon and Mrs. Thomas Henry Canham, of the Church of England.

The Tanankutchin (“mountain people”) are an Athapascan tribe in Alaska, which hunts throughout the basin of Tanana river and has its villages along the upper stream. To these people ministered the Rev. Jules Louis Prevost, M.D., from 1891 to 1906. Prevost graduated from the Philadelphia Divinity School and was ordained deacon in 1890, and priest in 1891. He worked in his mission with great faithfulness and built up a strong Indian congregation, of which he was the beloved leader until his retirement in 1906 to take a course in medicine.

In Igor Dr. Prevost published: Cilicu | Whutana kunacu yit | Tatluonu khuyu whukainiwhulit | kowhulud bu Khutitash | Towhutotuwon cithlotalton yilh. 36 pages, rzmo. Title, reverse blank. Preface, p. 3, reverse blank. Orthography, pp. 5-6. Pp. 7-31 contain 35 hymns, of which 18 were not translations. The publication is a hymn book for the Indians at the mouth of the Tanana, on the Yukon. It took the place of former ones, now entirely out of print . It is based on a small collection of translations by the Venerable Archdeacon McDonald, published at Winnipeg in, 1886. In 1894 Prevost printed a pamphlet of sixteen hymns, translations of the Venerable Archdeacon Canham and of Prevost. All of these are reprinted in the 1901 book. Added to these hymns is a translation of the Apostles’ Creed, of the Lord’s Prayer, and of the Ten Commandments.

Six years later, in 1907, Prevost printed: Culic | Whutana kunacu yit | Tadluonu Khuvu Whukainiwhulit | Kowhulud bu Khudidash | Dowhudoduwon Cithlotalton Yilh. A literal translation is: Hymns | people language in | Apostles their Creed | the Lord His Prayer | Commandments Ten with. (32) pages, 12mo. Title-page, reverse, Orthography. Pp. 3-23 contain thirty-five hymns. P. 24 is blank. Then follows a Catechism, pp. 25-32. In 1908 the same missionary published, through the New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society, “The Form of Reinstatement of a. Penitent.” 5 pages, 12mo.

In conducting public services the missionaries to the Yukon river Indians were obliged for years to use manuscript copies of the Liturgy, and they were greatly hampered in their work, only a few of these written services being in circulation. At the request of Bishop Rowe, the New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society printed, in 1908, a service book prepared by Dr. Prevost[1]. The book has the following two titles on the same page:

[1] See Lowndes, Vol. II, pp. 903, 904.

* Service Book: | Being parts of the | Book of Common Prayer | set forth for use in the | Dialect of the Qlīyukuwhutana Indians | at the | Mission of Our Saviour | Tanana, Alaska. || Denatla | Cughalyo ghunīt buyī khutsukhu- | dīdayi, whukōneltuni | Cūn, culīc yilh, | Qlīyukuwhutana Kunaju yīt, | Mission of Our Saviour, Tanana, Alaska. | Printed and published by | the New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society, 1908.

109 pages. Paper, 4⅞ x 7⅜ inches. Printed in long lines. A literal translation of the Tanana title reads: Book Congregation for it in Prayers, Laws [or Commandments]. Also, Chants with- | Qlīyukuwhutana language in. P. 2, i.e., the reverse of the title-page contains the certificate or Peter Trimble Rowe, Missionary Bishop of Alaska, dated: Epiphany Mission, Valdez, Alaska, November 17, 1907. P. 3 has some rules on “Orthography”; p. 4, blank. The main headings are in English and in Tanana. Running headlines and sub-headings in English. Contents: Morning Prayer, pp. 5-23; Evening Prayer, 24-39; the Litany, 40-47; the Collects, 48-52; the Communion, 53-77; the Ministration of Public Baptism, 78-85; Catechism, 86-94 ; Form of . . . Matrimony, 95-98; Burial of the Dead, 99-109[2].



Griffiths 170:1; Griffiths calls this language Tanana.

Ingalik, Ingilik (= having louses’ eggs) is an Eskimo name for Indian, applied to the Kaiyukhotana, a Těn’a (Tinnéh, Déné) tribe of Yukon river, and extended by the Russians to all Kaiyukhotana, sometimes even to all Athapascan tribes in general. The tribe, numbering in 1900 about 600, lives in about twenty villages. They are the most western Athapascan tribe of Alaska, living on the banks of Yukon river between Anvik and Koyukuk rivers. The dialect is in use at Anvik and Koserefski, and on that portion of the lower Innoko which was for a long time known as the Shageluk slough, except at one village, Hologochakat. It is also used with but little variation in the Indian villages of the Kuskokwim, from Vinisale southward, until the Innuit villages begin.

A translation of the “Order for daily Morning Prayer” [New York], 11 pages, paper, 5⅝ x 8¾ inches, long lines was printed for Mr. Chapman. Reverse of title blank; text, pp. 3-11. Headings and subheadings in English .. The pamphlet was printed by A. G. Sherwood & Co., New York City, in 1896.

A copy of the translation was sent to the author by Mr. Chapman, who at the same time stated that:

[2] Dr. Prevost is, at present, rector of St. Paul and St. Peter, Glen Loch, Chester Co., Pa. A copy of the service book and of the other publications of Dr. Prevost, together with a literal translation .of the Indian titles has been furnished by the translator. All these publications are now out of print.


“The translation was made in December, 1895, by the Rev. John Wight Chapman and Paul Hasyan (native), and later a revision was made by Mr. Chapman and Isaac Fisher (native). So far as I am aware this is the first publication in the dialect in use in Anvik. . . . Some errors went into print which I hope to correct in a future revision which is now in course of preparation. The publication will include much more than the service for Morning Prayer. Besides this translation, I have prepared a translation, now ready for print, of the gospels for the Sundays and greater festivals and fasts of the Christian year; also, I have a good deal of material in manuscript which needs revision before it is published”[3].



Griffiths lists no texts in this language.


[3] Letter, dated Anvik, Alaska, October 8, 1912.





THE Tsimshian[1] (Chimmesyan) language is spoken on the coast of northern British Columbia and in the region adjacent to Nass and Skeena rivers. On the islands off the coast the Tsimshian nation occupies the region south-ward as far as Milbank Sound.

[1] The word consists of two parts “zim” and “kshian,” i.e., on the Kshian, the Indian name for the Skeena river.

Three principal dialects may be distinguished: the Tsimishian proper, which is spoken on Skeena river and on the islands further to the south; the Nîsqáe, which is spoken on Nass river, and the Gyitshan, spoken on the upper course of Skeena river.

We have reviewed, in Chapter LXX, the story of Mr. Duncan and Metlakatla and the subsequent emigration of the colony to New Metlakatla, Alaska.

Bishop Ridley, of the diocese of Caledonia, sent from Metlakatla to London a Tsimshian translation of the Liturgy, the joint work of himself and Mrs. Ridley. It was published by the S.P.C.K. in 1892, entitled:

* Shāōnshkgum | Shagait Gigīengwaklthit, | dīlth wila ontk ga | Sacramentsit, | dīlth gik Nagazāout | Hoiya dit dīlth Wilalau churchīt, | nīwalda hoi | Churchum Englandit. | [Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in the Zimshian language.]

Griffiths 198:2; an earlier edition (Griffiths 198:1) may be found elsewhere on this site.


(1), 218 pages, fcap. 8vo. Title-page, reverse blank. Printed in double columns. There is no Table of Contents The book contains neither the Psalter nor the Ordinal. Running headlines and other headings are sometimes in English, instead of in Tsimshian[2].


William Ridley was born in 1836. He entered the C.M.S. College at Islington in 1863. From 1866 to 1870 he was C.M.S. missionary in Peshawar and Afghanistan. After a year’s residence in Germany, as chaplain of the English church at Dresden, Ridley returned to England. In 1879 he was consecrated the first lord bishop of’ Caledonia in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, by the archbishop of Canterbury. Arriving in his diocese he found that the language had not yet been reduced to writing and he set himself to work as soon as possible to supply this deficiency. He retired from his bishopric in 1904 and returned to England where, from 1908, until his death, March 25, 1911, he was rector of Compton Valence, Dorchester, Dorset. At present almost all the Tsimshian Indians use the English language, and no further translations will be required.


[2] A very severe criticism of this translation is printed in Arctander, The Apostle at Alaska. The story of William Duncan, pp. 363, 364.

In 1865 the Kincolith Mission was established among the Nishga (Nisqáe) branch of the Tsimshian, on Nass river, by the Rev. Robert Reid Arthur Doolan; and a few years later another one was founded higher up on the same river. In 1890 James Benjamin McCullagh was ordained deacon and priest, and has been stationed since that time at Aiyansh, Nass river, as a C.M.S. missionary. His work among the Nishga Indians was very successful. For the use of his parishioners he published, through the S.P.C.K.: A Nishga version of portions of the Book of Common Prayer (Shaonsgum Limik). London . . . [1890). 79, 14 pages, 16mo. It comprises the Morning and Evening Prayer, the Litany, and the Communion Office. The 14 additional pages contain a selection of hymns. McCullagh is also the author of a Nishga primer and the translator of the Gospel according to St. John into Nishga.



Haida (Xa’ida = people) is the native and popular name for the Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, and of the south end of Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, comprising the Skittagetan family. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian peoples should be grouped together on the ground of physical characteristics. Language and social organization indicate still closer affinities between the Haida and the Tlingit.

Nearly all of the Haida, numbering some two thousand five hundred people, are Christians. The Church of England shares its work with the Methodists at Skidegate, British Columbia, and with the Presbyterians at Howkan, Alaska.

In 1876 the Rev. William Henly Collison began work among the Haida at Massett, on the north end of the Queen Charlotte Islands. He graduated from the C.M.S. College at Islington in 1873, and was ordained deacon and priest in 1878 by the bishop of Athabasca. He was missionary at Metlakatla from 1873 to 1876, and from 1879 to 1898. At Massett he was stationed from 1876 to 1878. Since 1891 he has been archdeacon of Caledonia.

For the instruction of the Haida Indians the S.P.C.K. published: Old Testament Stories, by the Rev. Charles Harrison, who was stationed at Massett as a C.M.S. missioner for a number of years. He also translated the Gospel according to St. Matthew, printed in 189I; the first book in Haida ever published. It contains a key to the sounds of the letters.

The Rev. John Henry Keen, C.M.S. missioner at Metlakatla, translated into Haida many books of the Old and the New Testament. He also wrote a Haida grammar, 1905, and translated into Haida portions of the Book of Common Prayer, published by the S.P.C.K. in 1899. 39 pages, fcap. 8vo. The portions translated are the Morning and Evening Prayers, the Litany, Prayer for All Conditions of Men, and the General Thanksgiving. P. 4 contains: “System of spelling here adopted.”

Owing to the rapid decrease of the Haida people, printing in Haida has been discontinued at present.

Keen graduated from the Islington C.M.S. College in 1873. He was stationed at Moose Fort, Hudson’s Bay, from 1875 until 1882. He then returned to England for several years. In 1890 he went out to Massett as a missionary. He has been stationed at Metlakatla since 1899.



Griffiths lists no texts in this language.






THE Eskimo language is spoken by about forty thousand individuals, who live in small groups on the northernmost shores of America-from Alaska to East Greenland. Their territory extends south of Bering Sea, and includes the easternmost point of Asia. Since the main groups have been separated for at least six hundred years, it is but natural that their language should have split up into a number of dialects: There are five main dialects: (1) Greenland; (2) Labrador; (3) Baffin Land; (4) Aleut; (5) Alaska. The dialectic differences are important, although not so extensive as to obscure the identity of the Eskimo languages of Alaska and of Greenland. The dialects of Western Alaska differ from the Greenland dialects about as much as English and German,or English and French, differ from each other. The dialects of Western Alaska, again, differ essentially from the Eskimo dialect which is. spoken at the mouth of the Mackenzie river; and yet they all have certain peculiarities in common which show that genetically they belong together.

The Moravian Mission in Greenland, the land of desolation, on the edge of the everlasting glacier ice, was founded in 1733. Two brethren, detailed by Count Zinzendorf, set out as missionaries for Greenland, and after six years of toil they saw the reward of their labours in the baptism of their first convert. The mission became very helpful to those on the Labrador. One of the superintendents of the mission was Christoph Michael Koenigseer, stationed on Greenland from 1773 to 1786. While there he translated into the Eskimo language the Moravian hymn book, which was published at Barby, in Saxony, one of the chief places of the Unitas Fratrum. This hymn and service book is entitled: * Tuksiautit | attuagækset | illageennut | innuit nunnænnetunnut. | [Printer’s design] | Barbime, 1785. 304, (32) pages. Sigs. A-X in eights. Paper, 4 x 7 inches. Title, reverse blank; A2 and A3, four pages, contain: “Inhalt dieses Gesangbuchs, nach den Materien, wovon die Lieder handeln.” Headings and the notation of tunes are also in German. Sigs. U and X (16 ff.) contain: “Register ueber alle in diesem Gesangbuche enthaltene Verse.” Pilling, in his Bibliography of the Eskimo language, p. 94, col. 1, declares “the headings Danish (German letter)” and states: “Leclerc says probably by Paul Egede.” He adds, however, “The work bears no such indication.” It is not by Paul Egede (1708-89), the early Danish missionary among the Greenland Eskimo, and son of Hans Egede (1686-1758), the apostle to the Greenlanders. While Paul Egede translated the New Testament into the Greenland language, he is not the translator of this hymnal, both he and his father being, rather antagonistic to the Moravian mission. A free translation of the Eskimo title is: “Psalms for the use of the congregations that are in the country of the Eskimo.” In Fortsetzung von David Cranzem Bruederhistorie, the author Johann Konrad Hegner (Dritter Abschnitt, von Synodo 1782 bis zum Synodo 1789), 1804, pp. 46, 47, states distinctly that the Moravian missionary, Koenigseer, translated into the Eskimo language the Moravian hymnal, which was published at Barby in 1785. A brief biography of Koenigseer is found in [Jeremias Risler], Erzaehlungen aus der alten und neuen Geschichte der Bruederkirche. Zweyten Theils, zweyter Abschnitt. Barby, Schilling, 1803, pp. 197-200. Koenigseer was born in 1723, in Thuringia, and died in Greenland, May 30, 1786. He had studied at the University of Jena, and was one of the philologically best equipped among the Moravian missionaries.

The Moravian mission could only cover a part of the land of the Eskimos. Other sections remained untouched for years to come. In the autumn of 1822 Captain (later Sir) John Franklin (1786-1847) returned from one of his great Arctic expeditions, and came to the C.M.S. urging it to extend its work to other Indian tribes scattered over those vast regions, particularly pressing the claims of the Eskimo. But many years again rolled by before these extensions could be undertaken. Bishop Bompas and Robert McDonald worked and travelled for a time among the Eskimo of the Arctic coast. In 1876 a young sailor, Edmund James Peck, was sent to live among these northern people, the Eskimo of Hudson’s Bay. On the Atlantic coast of Greenland and in Labrador the Moravians, as said before, had long worked nobly, but they had never crossed the snow-clad wastes of the shores of Hudson’s Bay. Peck was keenly desirous of being sent to the wildest and roughest mission field, and had offered himself to the C.M.S. He was warmly received by Bishop Horden, who had long been asking for just such a mission worker. Almost immediately he started out for Little Whale river, carrying with him two or three books in Eskimo prepared by the Moravians. With these and an Indian interpreter, named Adam, he set to work. After a year’s stay he returned to Moose, spent the winter in study, and was ordained by Bishop Horden in 1878. From 1876 until 1885 Peck laboured with much blessing among the Eskimo of the Great and Little Whale rivers, which flow into Hudson’s Bay. He was the first Englishman to cross the savage tracts between that inland sea and the Bay of Ungava. In 1885 he transferred to Fort George, and thence, in August, 1894, to Cumberland Sound, on Blacklead Island — an “end of the earth,” visited but once in two years by the Peterhead whaling brig Alert. There he built with whale jaws and sealskin the “tabernacle in the wilderness,” preached the Gospel, and taught his people to read.

Cover of Eskimo / Inuit Prayer Book
A later Eslimo / Inuit BCP
(Griffiths 33:5, 1992)


For the instruction of his parishioners Peck translated portions of the Holy Scripture (1878). It was the first publication in the Eskimo language in which the syllabic characters were used. ,Three years later, in 1881, appeared: Portions of the Book of Common Prayer, together with hymns, addresses, etc.; for the use of the Eskimo of Hudson’s Bay. By the Rev E. J. Peck, Missionary of the C.M.S. . . . S.P.C.K., . . . London, 1881. 90 pages, 16mo. Title, reverse blank; syllabarium, p. 3; hymns, pp. 5-22; portions of the Book of Common Prayer, 23-56; prayer for each day in the week, 57-66; Catechism and short addresses, 67-90. Printed in syllabic characters, with a number of changes in the characters from the 1878 publication. As stated before, Peck made an adaptation of the Evans syllabic system to the language of the Eskimo in his charge. An edition of 1902 reads,

Griffiths 32:1 (1881, reissued 1894); Griffiths calls this the Eastern Arctic or Baffin dialect of Eskimo, or Inuit.

* Portions of the Book of Common Prayer; together with Hymns and Addresses in Eskimo. Translated by the Rev. E. J. Peck, Missionary to the Eskimo of Baffin’s Land. Also Eskimo Hymns compiled by the Rev. W. G. Walton, C.M.S. Missionary to the Eskimo of the North-Eastern shore of Hudson Bay.

Reverse of title blank. Text entirely in lithograph script of syllabic characters; not paged. Sigs. A-M in eights; N 4 leaves. Since 1905 Mr. Peck has been at Ashe Inlet, Hudson’s Straits, working among the Eskimo of Moosonee diocese.-William Gladstone Walton graduated from Islington College of the C.M.S. in 1889; was ordained deacon in 1892, and advanced to priesthood in 1894 by the bishop of Moosonee. He has been C.M.S. missionary at Fort George, Hudson’s Bay, since 1892.




Griffiths 32:2 (1900, reissued 1902)



SOUTH AMERICA, for many decades the sadly “neglected continent” in mission work, has received to this day most inadequate attention, both from the Anglican Church, through the South American Missionary Society, and from other missions. For the purposes of this narrative only three of the many tribes of South America need be mentioned. These are: the Indians of British Guiana, the Lenguas, and the Yahgans.

1 British Guiana, the “land of the six peoples.” During the Dutch possession of all Guiana the Moravians, those ubiquitous evangelizers, made in 1735 a noble effort to convert the slaves and to reach some of the river tribes of Indians, the Arawaks and the Caribs. Their mission was totally destroyed in 1763 by the revolting negroes. Several later attempts of that devoted community were crushed out by hostile forces. In the Berbice district the Moravian missions were conducted from 1738 to 1812, when they were destroyed by bush-negroes, and were never renewed.

The first English effort for the benefit of the aborigines of Guiana was made by the C.M.s. in 1829, at Bartica, on the Essequibo. The mission was conducted by the Rev. John Armstrong[1]. He was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Youd, for twenty-seven years a faithful evangelist. The Rev. John Henry Bernau, a Basle man, who had received .additional training at Islington College, took charge of the parent mission at Bartica Grove in 1836. For eighteen years Bernau laboured zealously-until 1855, when the mission closed. It was afterwards taken over by the S.P.G., which still mans the mission. Bernau died in England .in 1890, eighty-five years old.

[l] On the Rev. John Armstrong and the Church in South America, see also The Guardian, October 18, 1912, pp, 1,328, 1,329. He had been sent originally to Buenos Ayres on behalf of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Canton, Vol. II, pp. 85-89.

The true apostle to the Indians of Guiana was the Rev. William Henry Brett (1818-86). He began work as a lay assistant to the Rev. Charles Carter, who, on account of ill-health, never entered upon the work of the mission. No more successful missionary work has been accomplished .in any country or in any age than on the rivers of Guiana, .and the prime agent throughout was Brett. He reduced .to writing in Anglo-roman characters the language of four ·of the Indian tribes of Guiana, viz.: the Arawak, Acawoio, Carib, a,nd Warau, and composed grammars and vocabularies of all of them. He translated, in addition, into the language of each of these four tribes the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, with a short catechism and brief prayers, chiefly from the Book of Common Prayer. These all were printed for him by the S.P.C.K. More of the Liturgy has thus far not been translated for the benefit of the Indians of Guiana, who, like all other Indians, are decreasing in number from year to year, counting at present less than eight thousand people. Brett’s life and his great work among the Indians of Guiana has been admirably described by Canon Fortunato Pietro Luigi Josa, whose Manual of Prayers for the benefit of his Hindi constituency in Guiana has been mentioned in Chapter XXVII, end.

Brett gave up his work in 1879. It was continued by the Rev. William Edward Pierce[2], Rev. Charles Daniel Dance (died 1887), and the Rev. Walter Heard, canon of Georgetown since 1889, and four years later archdeacon of Berbice .. His retirement in 1907, after thirty-seven years of faithful service among the Indians, was a great loss indeed. Heard’s work among the Indians of the Demerara river is continued by the Rev. Frederick Louis Quick (born 1861), and Brett’s work among the Pomeroon Indians — the oldest Indian Mission of the diocese — by the Rev. Freeman Harding, assisted since 1909 by the Rev. Edgar Filippo Charles. Josa, son of Canon Josa.

Griffiths lists no texts in the languages of British Guiana.


[2] Pierce, his wife, three of his four children and his maid-servant were· drowned, September 23, 1881, in the Maraheah Falls of the Essequibo river.



Among the Caribs the work was continued by the Rev. John Farnham Laughton, who laboured at Stann Creek, British Honduras, from 1894-1902. After much study and perseverance he mastered the Carib language, and translated into it portions of the Book of Common Prayer, consisting of the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, etc., printed by the S.P.C.K. He also translated into Carib, with the help, of a Carib native, named Valesquez, the Gospel according to St. Mark (1896, 66 pages), and the Gospel according to St. John (1902, 87 pages).

2 The Lengua Indians. — Evangelistic work among the Indians adjacent to the Falkland Islands diocese, notably in Chili, Paraguay and the Argentine Republic, is carried on under the care of the Church of England South American Missionary Society, founded in 1844 by Allen Francis. Gardiner (1794-1851), the sailor martyr and naval captain. In the year 1899 this society began mission work in the· Paraguayan Chaco, at Villa Concepcion. An account of this. mission is given by the pioneer missionary and explorer, W. Barbrooke Grubb, in his recent book: An Unknown People in an Unknown Land: an account of the life and customs of the Lengua Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco. The book deals almost exclusively with the early years of the author’s life and work among the Lenguas. This work has been in every respect so excellent and remarkable, that the Paraguayan Government appointed Grubb as the official Comisario General del Chaco y Pacificador de los Indios. The mission has been superintended by the Rev. Percy Reginald Turner in the field, and by the first two bishops in the Falkland Isles as visitors.

Mr. R. J. Hunt has been almost entirely responsible for the compilation of a large dictionary and for all translation work, having devoted fifteen years to the study of the peculiar and comprehensive language of the Lenguas.

Lengua (Spanish=tongue) is a nickname .given to the Indians, known in the eighteenth century as “Mascoy,” because they take pride in having their lower lip as widely perforated as possible, thus appearing from afar like the shape of a tongue hanging out. The language of the Lenguas, the Guarani, was reduced to writing by the Jesuit Father Ruiz de Montoya, one of the members of the Order which began a mission to the Indians of Paraguay in 1579.

The tribes known as Lengua, Angaite, Mascoy, Sanapana, Guana, belong to the Machieuy stock, a branch of the great Nu-Arwak group, which is widely spread over the centre of South America, extending from Paraguay to the West Indies, where they are found mixed up with the Caribbic stock.

The Book of Common Prayer, almost complete, the Four Gospels, portions of the Epistles and Genesis, have been translated and printed; as well as a small hymnal set to familiar tunes.

The translation of the Liturgy has the following title:

* Nimpasmo | Nimpaiwa Nelmathnangkama. | Oracion Comun. | Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in the Lengua Language, as spoken by a tribe of Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco. London. S.P.C.K., 1907.


Griffiths lists no texts in the Carib language.

Griffiths 88:1; Holy Communion in this language, perhaps from this book, is available online


171 pages, fcap. 8vo. P. 3 contains “Indice.” The Prayer Book begins (p. 5) with El órden de la Oracion Matutina and ends with La purificacion de las mujeres (p. 131). An Appendix (pp. 135-171) contains: I, Unas Oraciones y Acciones de Gracias, y Himnos; and II, Epistolas y Evangelios que se pueden usar en la Santa Comunion.

3 The Yahgan Indians. — In the language of the Yahgan Indians the S.P.C.K. has thus far published the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed, printed on large sheets (1889); but a translation of the Liturgy is now being prepared and will soon be published.

The Yahgans[3] are Darwin’s “miserable and degraded savages,” the true aborigines of the archipelago Tierra del Fuego, occupying the central islands.


Griffiths 194:1

[3] Yahgan for yamana = “people,” “men,” “individuals.”

The action of the Argentine authorities and the pressure of immigration are driving the natives into the interior, and their numbers are diminishing. This is, therefore, another instance of Christian missions ministering the consolations of religion to a decaying race of men. Descriptions of Yahgans, favourable and unfavourable, may be found in Keane’s work on The World’s People, New York, 1908, pp. 301-306. The author lays stress on the general progress in the civilization of this tribe as due to the beneficent action of the English missionaries in recent years. Their language, comprising no less than 30,000 words, differs from all other Indian languages of South America.

An excellent description of this tribe is also contained in Carl Skottsberg’s The Wilds of Patagonia, chapter vi, “A dying race,” pp. 91-103. The author is of the opinion (p. 103) that the gathering of the Yahgans, accustomed for centuries to roaming on land and on sea, into missions is hastening the final disappearance of the tribe.

The English mission station was formerly installed at Tekenika[4] Bay. Some time ago it was removed to a place in Douglas Bay, on Navarin Island, opposite its former location. In both places the English missionary, the Rev. James Williams, ministers to the remnant of one hundred and seventy souls. Williams is a practical man, and the Indians have confidence in him. He speaks their language fluently.


[4] A name given to the Yahgan tribe by Commander Robert Fitz-Roy, of H.M.S, Beagle.



Valuable observations on the habits and the language of these Indians were made by the late Rev. Thomas Bridges, of Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, through which we possess a fairly complete account of this people. Their language appears to have been reduced to writing by the Rev. George Packenham Despard, formerly secretary of the Patagonian Missionary Society. He used for this purpose the phonetic system introduced by Alexander John Ellis (1814-90). Despard was in Patagonia from 1854 until 1862, when he and his wife returned to England. The same system was adopted by Thomas Bridges, in his lifetime the greatest authority on matters Fuegian. Bridges went out as a boy to the Falklands in 1856 with Despard, and mastered the Indian speech with boyish facility. He was ordained in England about the year 1867, and returning to Ushuaia began his linguistic task. He translated the Gospel according to St. Luke, and also the Acts of the Apostles. Both were published in 1881 by the British and Foreign Bible Society. He wrote a grammar and compiled a dictionary containing 32,430 words of a language which the great naturalist Darwin had described as “scarcely deserving to be called articulate.” A memorable figure under Magellan’s clouds was this solitary possessor of a language, who held, as it were, the spiritual life of a people in the scored and ruffled leaves of his version. Mr. Bridges retired in 1887. He took land, and settled with his eight children among the natives, whom he wished to keep about him. Returning home in 1898, after a short visit to Buenos Ayres, he fell ill, and was taken back to the city, where he died in October of the same year[5]. A good description .of Mr. Bridges’ settlement, carried on after his death by two of his sons, is given in Skottsberg’s volume, mentioned above. [5] See Canton, Vol. IV, pp. 135, 136; Vol. V, p. 336.


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