A Whale Hunt and other stories

The late elder Joseph Guanish reading the new edition of Naskapi Genesis in 2013

Naskapi Language Literacy

The Naskapi people have been literate in their own language for a little over a century or so, beginning when the Anglican clergy brought Cree Scriptures and other religious materials with them to the trading posts where the Naskapi traded. But they have been oral storytellers for generations. Interest in encouraging a broader base of Naskapi people to be literate in their own language blossomed in the community and in the school in the 1990s, when an initiative was established to make Naskapi the official “language of instruction” for the earliest years of education. By the year 2000, children were learning to read and write in Naskapi by grade 3, and after this they transition into the majority languages for instruction in later school years.

Naskapi children reading with Lana Martens at the Naskapi New Testament Dedication in 2007

But to develop and maintain literacy, it is imperative that there be a wide selection of material to read in the language. Many items are being translated: from the Bible, hymnals and prayer books at church, to curriculum and other teaching materials at the school. For years, it has also been the standard practice to translate all administrative documents, reports and minutes of meetings held in the community.

The Naskapi Legends and Stories Project

One of the most valuable projects begun by the Naskapi Development Corporation (NDC) was to produce high-quality Naskapi language reading materials in the Naskapi language from the minds and culture of the Naskapi people themselves. This article is about the Naskapi Legends and Stories Project.

In the fall of 2019, the NDC published their sixth volume in this project series, Wapimakuch ka-nuchahakinuch: A Whale Hunt and other stories.

The groundwork was laid for this series of books even before there was a Naskapi Development Corporation; indeed before there was a Naskapi community at Kawawachikamach.

Some Naskapi History

Until the early 20th century, the Naskapi people were a loosely affiliated indigenous people society living in small independent family groups: nomadic caribou hunters whose territory spanned the northern portion of the Quebec-Labrador peninsula. According to Henriksen (2010), the Naskapi probably came together infrequently, perhaps only annually at the peak caribou-hunting season. Until it was closed in 1868, the first principal trading location for the Naskapi was the Petitsikapau post, called Fort Nascopie by the Hudson’s Bay Company, situated on the southern extreme of the traditional Naskapi hunting territories (see the first story in A Whale Hunt, “Petitsikapau to Chimo”).

Fort Chimo visitors, c.1884 (photo by L.M. Turner)

Following the closure of Fort Nascopie, the Naskapi took their trading business either north to Fort Chimo, near Ungava Bay, or east to the Davis Inlet post, on the Atlantic Ocean; and thus began a process which would eventually lead them to become two separate and sedentary groups. Those who hunted in the northern and north eastern areas of the interior frequented Fort Chimo and Fort McKenzie, and those hunting farther south and east traded at Davis Inlet (Utshimassits). Subsequently, each group would adopt distinct Christian traditions, the Eastern Naskapi (Mushuau Innu) becoming Catholics and the Western Naskapi becoming Anglicans.

Canoe coming ashore at Fort McKenzie, c.1942 (photo by P. Provencher)

In 1956, the Fort Chimo (Western) Naskapi journeyed south to the mining town of Schefferville where educational and medical facilities, as well as employment opportunities in the recently opened iron ore mines were becoming available (Cooke 2012). A year later they were moved two miles away from the town, to John Lake, where they remained until 1972, along with some Montagnais who had moved to Schefferville from the Sept-Iles area.

It was during this period in John Lake that the stories in this book, along with dozens of other tipâchimûna and âtiyûhkinch were performed by John Peastitute and recorded.

John Lake community, c.1962 (photo by A. Cooke)

Naskapi Storytelling

Like other indigenous peoples, the Naskapi have a long tradition of storytelling, passing histories and legends from generation to generation. And, like other Algonquian-speaking groups, the Naskapi distinguish two main genres of storytelling: tipâchimûn is the word for true adventures or histories in which the storyteller himself or other eyewitnesses are characters in or eyewitnesses to the story, and âtiyûhkin is the word for stories which are from a distant “time before now”, generally referred to as “legends”, and often include animal characters.

It may be simple to say that the difference is merely that tipâchimûna (plural form of tipâchimûn) are “only” historical accounts while âtiyûhkinch (plural form of âtiyûhkin) are “only” myths or legends (Ellis 1988). But in truth the dichotomy goes much deeper than this. Tipâchimûna may and often do contain fantastic, amazing or unbelievable accounts—but âtiyûhkinch follow a strict and ancient narrative formula. Savard (1974) calls them “that which must be conveyed”. In his treatise on the Wolverine stories he says that the storyteller he worked with would never have considered the idea that someone could invent a new âtiyûhkin. These stories can only be transmitted from one storyteller to another.

John Peastitute

John Peastitute (1896-1981) was a Naskapi elder who was not only well respected as a story-keeper, but also an accomplished storyteller. His repertoire of both tipâchimûna and âtiyûhkinch was extensive, and his performances engaging. The tapes of his stories that have survived to be processed and studied are a precious legacy.

John Peastitute with his wife Susie Annie, near Fort McKenzie c.1942 (photo by P. Provencher)

While he knew best the area north and northwest of Fort McKenzie, where he hunted and lived most of his adult life, John traveled during his lifetime virtually everywhere in traditional Naskapi territory and then some, deferring to others who best knew the way and what was likely to be found. Before settling at Schefferville, John had trecked even beyond traditional Naskapi territory as far as Sept-Iles (Uashat), North West River (Sheshatshit), Davis Inlet (Utshimassits) and Great Whale River (Whapmagoostui) places where some of his relatives would take their trade and eventually settle. John himself settled with his family in the Schefferville area in the 1950s with the rest of the Naskapi community.

Recording the stories

In 1967 and 1968, when John was in his 70s, Serge Melançon visited the John Lake community near Schefferville to record traditional indigenous stories on audio tape. He was working with the Laboratoire d’anthropologie amérindienne under the supervision of Rémi Savard, on a project to collect oral traditions of several Quebec groups and to compare the content and style of the similar stories across linguistic and cultural boundaries. Savard’s book Carcajou et le sens du monde: récits Montagnais-Naskapi is one of the results of that project, and interested readers would do well to consult it for a thorough cultural analysis some of these and the other stories told by several First Nations in Quebec. (This book is written in French; the title in English is: Wolverine and the Sense of the World: Montagnais-Naskapi Stories, Savard 1971.)

Cover of Savard’s book

The collection of Innu and Naskapi tapes that were originally collected by Savard’s project remained the property of the Laboratoire, but copies on cassette tape were later released to linguists for eventual transcription. Many of the Sheshatshiu Innu (of Labrador) stories from this project are available on the innu-aimun.ca website, and as printed books (Lefebvre, Lanari and Mailhot 1999).

Following the completion of Savard’s project, copies of the Naskapi tapes, along with photocopies of some of the transcriptions, were placed at the NDC office, which was located in Schefferville at the time.

In the course of our compilation of the Naskapi Lexicon, the NDC Board decided to also take on the task of transcribing and translating the stories as a cultural development project.

From Tapes to Books

In the early 1990s, I (Bill) was invited to work alongside the Naskapi translators working at the NDC office in Schefferville on the Naskapi Lexicon, and to help facilitate their other language development projects. During August and September of 1994, I listened to all the tapes and compared the content with the pages and pages of documentation that came with them, and then produced an inventory of all the stories, their (presumed) titles, their position in the audio collection, and I catalogued all of the associated documentation.

With my help, NDC translators Phil Einish and Thomas Sandy read and annotated the photocopied material. Some of this material had been typed, some handwritten. Some were photocopies of Melançon’s or other’s field notes, and some were preliminary transcriptions of the tapes made by Elijah Einish in the early 1980s. Some of the photocopied pages had been keyboarded by Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie or one of her students at Memorial University in the late 1980s.

Alma & Phil at work (1999)

In the late 1990s, the Naskapi Legends and Stories Project goals were set down, and it was decided that it was necessary for each recording to be carefully reviewed phrase by phrase by the Naskapi translation team and the linguistics consulting team, and thoroughly transcribe the text in Naskapi. At that time, the team was made up Naskapi translators Silas Nabinicaboo, Philip Einish and Alma Chemaganish, and consultant linguists Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie, Dr. Julie Brittain, and myself serving as the project’s faciliator and coordinator.

Literary translation process

While our primary goal has always been to render the stories into the Naskapi writing system so that they would be accessible as literature for current Naskapi readers in Kawawachikamach, a secondary goal has been to reproduce in English the elegance and stylistic skill employed by the storyteller, while remaining as faithful as possible to the original text.

The translation process we eventually adopted involved several stages. In group sessions the digital audio file of each story was listened to line-by-line, while the Naskapi team followed along reading a transcribed version in syllabics, which was projected on a screen for the group to see. Each word of the transcription was verified for accuracy and faithfulness to the performance, and translated into a fairly literal rendering in English. Further, each verb was parsed for its inflectional morphology, and the Naskapi team provided information about accurate translation, natural expression, and cultural matters.

Story review and translation session with Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie and the Naskapi team (2014).

As each story is thus meticulously annotated, reviewed and corrected, careful notes are taken and maintained by Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie with the transcription and translation.

Dr. MacKenzie has served as professor and head of the Department of Linguistics at Memorial University, Newfoundland, and has spent her career working with speakers of Cree, Innu (Montagnais) and Naskapi on dictionaries, grammars, and language training materials. She is co-editor of the East Cree Lexicon: Eastern James Bay Dialects (2004, 2012), the Naskapi Lexicon (1994) and the English and French versions of the Innu Lexicon (2013).

These notes were then turned over to Dr. Julie Brittain at Memorial University in Newfoundland, a specialist in Algonquian syntax as well as a gifted English translator of the Naskapi text, with the ability to capture not only the meaning of the original story, but able to also communicate something of the style of the story based on her study of Naskapi language structures. If any questions arise during this stage, these questions are once again reviewed and answered by the Naskapi team at Kawawachikamach before the text is ready for the formatting and typesetting stage. This is followed by commissioning illustrations and designing the publication, after which a proof copy is provided to the editors and the translation team.

Typical working story analysis sheet used by the Naskapi team and linguists

The John Peastitute story series

The present goal is to produce topical collections of stories from John Peastitute’s 1967 recordings, during which he told 36 different stories. The team decided to begin with the traditional legends, the âtiyûhkinch, first. John told a series of several stories that had a wolverine as their main protaganist, which fall into the category of Algonquian “trickster” legends. So we decided to do all the wolverine stories as our first volume, which was published in 2013.

Each volume in the series is organized into four major sections. First, there is the original Naskapi story, written in the Naskapi language for Naskapi readers. This section is printed in a clear, large-size type, paragraphed and formatted with section headings and hand-drawn illustrations.

The Naskapi Development Corporation commissioned our daughter, Elizabeth Jancewicz, to produce the illustrations. This was a natural project for Elizabeth since she grew up in the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach and Schefferville, arriving with us there when she was only one year old.

After attending the Naskapi school, Elizabeth studied art at Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut and Houghton College in New York. She returned to the Naskapi community in 2010 to teach art to Naskapi children at the Naskapi school. Today she serves as the visual arts component of the creative team in the touring band Pocket Vinyl. She continues work full time as a professional artist and illustrator, providing beautiful and culturally appropriate work to accompany this series. She also has a growing portfolio of books, graphic novels and commissions. (www.pocketvinyl.com).

The Naskapi reading section of the Wolverine book

The second section in the books contains the literary English translation, based on the work of the Naskapi team and the consultant linguists, but crafted and rendered in a literary style designed to reflect the Naskapi storyteller’s craft. This translation is prepared by Dr. Julie Brittain.

Dr. Brittain currently works as an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at Memorial University, Newfoundland. She began research on the dialect of Naskapi spoken at Kawawachikamach in 1996 and continues to work on this and related dialects. She is the author of The Morphosyntax of the Algonquian Conjunct Verb: A Minimalist Approach (2001) and has written numerous articles on the structure of Cree, Innu-aimun and Naskapi.

English translation section from the Giant Eagle book

The third section of the books contains background information about the culture and history of the Naskapi people, along with an in-depth discussion of some of the content of the stories that might be relevant to better understanding. This third section also contains academic bibliographic references to guide the interested reader to resources for further reading (see the links and bibliography at the bottom of this article to see for yourself).

The fourth section of the books provides a display of the Naskapi text rendered in a phonemic spelling (pronunciation) set parallel to the translation, line-by-line. This is provided so that students of indigenous languages have access to the stories for further study and analysis. Each line of the text is numbered in order to assist readers in finding their place in the stories presented in the other sections of the book.

Parallel Naskapi and English section for linguistic study from the Chahkapas book

Online Resources

We are also working on producing the audio recordings of the stories so that they are available for airplay on the local Naskapi radio station. These radio programs are also available to listen to online via live-stream or download at the following website: https://yourlisten.com/NDevCorp.

Online repository of the Naskapi stories in audio: https://yourlisten.com/NDevCorp

Most of the books that contain tipâchimûna (historical accounts) also feature printed maps, labeled in Naskapi and in English with the traditional Naskapi placenames in their territory. Like most indigenous cultures, the Naskapi people have a close affinity with the land, the physical resources and the animals that live there with them. Many of the stories have detailed accounts of travel and survival on the land, and references to real places where these events actually happened.

Printed and online GIS map from the Achan: Naskapi Giant Stories book

The books with maps also contain geographic information system (GIS) data with online content so that users can explore these sites using online services such as Google Maps or Google Earth. Here is an example link to the maps from our 2019 book, Wapimakuch ka-nuchahakinuch: A Whale Hunt and other stories.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1S5EkbHzxhWLdMfkja5liEJ7zDVtzpvdZ&usp=sharing

Google Maps showing the Naskapi overland route from Fort McKenzie to Fort Chimo

Google Maps showing a closeup detail of Limestone Falls (ᒥᔅᑎ ᑭᔅᒐᒄ ‘big steep waterfall’ )

http://googleearthcommunity.proboards.com/thread/6410/whale-hunt-stories-wapimakuch-nuchahakinuch

Naskapi History by Naskapi People

Even though what usually comes to mind when this project is discussed are the legends of talking animals and amazing events, mainly covered in the genre of âtiyûhkinch featured in the first few volumes of this series. But in recent years the series has transitioned to books containing exclusively stories told in the tipâchimûna genre, that of true and eyewitness accounts. The present volume A Whale Hunt and the previous volume Caught in a Blizzard (2017) contain stories of caribou hunting, fox hunting and even whale hunting; stories about journeys across their broad and beautiful land in all of the extremes winter and summer weather; and accounts of danger and disaster, starvation and exposure, drownings and war. Through it all we can hear of the resilience of the Naskapi people, their dependence upon and knowledge about the resources of the land, and their relationships with each other and the early visitors to their territory, both European (mainly fur traders) and strangers from other indigenous groups. Some readers may find the stories raw or disturbing, but they reflect the hard realities of survival (and often, death) in a landscape that while vast and breathtaking can be unforgiving.

In these stories we gain a perspective of life on the land through the eyes of the people who lived it. While they remain stories that were originally meant to be heard in an oral context, told in certain seasons of the year, at night in family groups by the fire, they provide a real history of the Naskapi people that can help us and indeed their own younger generations to understand who they are and are where they are from.

How to get the books

The best place to purchase books in this collection is at the Naskapi Development Corporation Head Office, in Kawawachikamach, Quebec. There a modest inventory of all the books are kept on hand so that anyone in the Naskapi community can come and buy these books at a very reasonable cost. Costs are kept lower than retail by purchasing wholesale in bulk quantities. But not everyone is able to purchase the books in person.

We help the Naskapi Development Corporation maintain an online bookstore where these and all the other Naskapi books can be purchased. You can visit the Naskapi Development Corporation “Storefront”, hosted by Lulu.com, at this link:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/naskapi

Naskapi Development Corporation “Storefront” online bookstore

There you can find not only the books in the Naskapi Legend and Stories Project, but all the Naskapi language resources that the NDC makes available to the Naskapi community. The books in this series all come in three editions: economical paperbacks (sc), durable hardcover (hc), and deluxe, library-quality clothbound books with dust jackets.

Cloth-bound, library-quality with dust jacket; hard cover (hc); economical paperback (sc)

Cloth-bound, library-quality with dust jacket; hard cover (hc); economical paperback (sc)

You will find, in the online store, that each edition is listed separately. If you are interested in a particular edition such as the economical paperback (sc), be sure to select a book that has “(sc)” in the title, like this:

Three editions of the Whale Hunt volume

As we pointed out earlier, Wapimakuch ka-nuchahakinuch: A Whale Hunt and other stories, is our sixth volume in the Naskapi Legends and Stories project. You can find all the titles that have been published so far in this series available on our online store.

The first six titles in the Naskapi Legends and Stories Project

It is our privilege be a part of helping to make these traditional Naskapi stories available to Naskapi people today and for future generations. We are grateful for the opportunity.

–Bill Jancewicz, project facilitator,
for the entire Naskapi language team, the linguistic consultants, and the illustrator

References and recommended further reading:

Armitage, Peter. 1992. “Religious Ideology among the Innu.” In Religiologiques: Sciences humaines et religion 6 (automne 1992) edited by Guy Ménard. Montreal: UQAM http://www.religiologiques.uqam.ca/

Baldwin, Gordon C. 1970. Talking Drums to Written Word. New York: Norton.

Brittain, Julie, and Marguerite MacKenzie. 2014. “Umâyichîs.” In Sky Loom: Native American Myth, Story, Song, 379-398. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

———. 2005. “Two Wolverine Stories.” In Algonquian Spirit: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America, 121–58. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

———. 2011. “Translating Algonquian Oral Texts.” In Born in the Blood: On Native American Translation, 242–74. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Canada, Government of. 1975. James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA). Ottawa, ON: Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
http://www.naskapi.ca/documents/documents/JBNQA.pdf.

———. 1984. Northeastern Quebec Agreement (NEQA). Ottawa, ON: Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. http://caid.ca/AgrNorEasQueA1974.pdf.

Carlson, Hans M. 2009. Home is the Hunter: The James Bay Cree and their Land. Vancouver BC: UBC Press.

Ellis, C. Douglas. 1989. “Now Then, Still Another Story—”: Literature of the Western James Bay Cree: Content and Structure. Winnipeg, MB: Voices of Rupert’s Land.

Hammond, Marc. 2010. Monts-Pyramides and the Naskapis: A report to Nunavik Parks Department of Renewable Resources, Environmental and Land Use Planning Department. Kuujjuaq, Quebec: Kativik Regional Government.

Henriksen, Georg. 2010. Hunters in the Barrens: The Naskapi on the Edge of the White Man’s World. New York: Berghahn Books.

———. 2009. I Dreamed the Animals: Kaniuekutat: The Life of an Innu Hunter. New York: Berghahn Books.

Lefebvre, Madeleine, Robert Lanari, José Mailhot. 1999 & 2004. Sheshatshiu-atanukana mak tipatshimuna. St. John’s, NL: Labrador Innu Text Project. https://cura.innu-aimun.ca/english/stories/.

MacKenzie, Marguerite. 1980. “Towards a Dialectology of Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi.” PhD thesis, Toronto, ON: University of Toronto. https://cura.innu-aimun.ca/english/resources/papers/papers-mm/.

MacKenzie, Marguerite, and Bill Jancewicz. 1994. Naskapi Lexicon / Lexique Naskapi. First Edition. 3 vols. Kawawachikamach, QC: Naskapi Development Corporation. https://dictionary.naskapi.atlas-ling.ca/#!/help

Peastitute, John. 2013. Kuihkwahchaw: Naskapi Wolverine Legends. Edited by Marguerite MacKenzie. Translated by Julie Brittain. Kawawachikamach, QC: Naskapi Development Corporation.

———. 2014. Chahkapas: A Naskapi Legend. Edited by Marguerite MacKenzie. Translated by Julie Brittain. Kawawachikamach, QC: Naskapi Development Corporation.

———. 2015. Achan: Naskapi Giant Stories. Edited by Marguerite MacKenzie. Translated by Julie Brittain. Kawawachikamach, QC: Naskapi Development Corporation.

———. 2016. Misti-Michisuw: The Giant Eagle and other stories. Edited by Marguerite MacKenzie. Translated by Julie Brittain. Kawawachikamach, QC: Naskapi Development Corporation.

———. 2017. Iskwachiwatinisuch: Caught in a Blizzard and other stories. Edited by Marguerite MacKenzie. Translated by Julie Brittain. Kawawachikamach, QC: Naskapi Development Corporation.

———. 2019. Wapimakuch ka-nuchahakinuch: A Whale Hunt and other stories. Edited by Marguerite MacKenzie. Translated by Julie Brittain. Kawawachikamach, QC: Naskapi Development Corporation.

Preston, Richard. 2002. Cree Narrative: Expressing the Personal Meanings of Events. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Quebec, National Assembly of. 1979. “An Act Respecting the Naskapi Development Corporation.” Québec, QC: Publications du Québec. http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/ShowDoc/cs/S-10.1.

Savard, Rémi. 1971. Carcajou et le sens du monde: récits Montagnais-Naskapi. Troisième édition revue et corrigée edition. Civilisation du Québec 3. Éditeur Officiel du Québec, Québec. http://classiques.uqac.ca/contemporains/savard_remi/carcajou/
carcajou.html.

———. 1985. La Voix des Autres. Positions anthropologiques. Montréal: L’Hexagone. http://classiques.uqac.ca/contemporains/savard_remi/
voix_des_autres/voix_des_autres.html.

Speck, Frank. 1977. Naskapi: The Savage Hunters of the Labrador Peninsula. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Tanner, Adrian. 2014. Bringing Home Animals: Mistissini Hunters of Northern Quebec. St. John’s, NL: ISER Books.

Waldram, James Burgess. 2004. Revenge of the Windigo: The Construction of the Mind and Mental Health of North American Aboriginal Peoples. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

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Northern Translation Brief: 18Nov2019

Our Dear Partners,

A few weeks back we asked you pray for several Naskapi translation projects that were current and nearing completion. Today we are pleased to report to you about the revision of the Naskapi Lectionary (Year A), and some answers to your prayers.

A lectionary is a collection of Bible readings to be read to the faithful during the worship of God. Lectionaries have been used since the fourth century, when major churches arranged the Scripture readings according to a schedule that follows the calendar of the year. This practice of assigning particular readings to each Sunday and Holy Day has continued through the history of the Christian Church.

Since the 1990s, the Naskapi translators have worked with St. John’s Church in Kawawachikamach, with the selection, translation and production of lectionary readings in the form of a printed Sunday “church bulletin” of Scripture. We were guided by the Revised Common Lectionary, which is the pattern used by the Anglican Church of Canada and many other denominations around the world.

The translators worked hard each week for several years to provide printed copies of the Scripture for the congregation

About nine years ago, it was decided that it would be far more practical to produce a book that contained all the readings for an entire year. Even though most of the translation and checking was done, it was still a big job to collect all the readings for an entire year into a book. But this was finally completed and the first book (Year A) was dedicated on Sunday, April 17th 2011.

Rev. Martha Spence and Deacon Silas Nabinicaboo at the dedication of the Naskapi Lectionary in 2011

Since the Revised Common Lectionary provides Scripture readings spread out over a three-year cycle, during the next three years we worked on the production of all three books: Year A (liturgical year 2010-2011) Year B (liturgical year 2011-2012) and Year C (liturgical year 2012-2013).

Year A (blue book) Year B (red book) Year C (green book)

Of course, when Year A rolled around again during Advent of 2013, more copies of the blue Year A books were prepared, and the cycle repeated.

As the years went by, the Naskapi translation team continued to work on their long-term translation goals: the book of Genesis was published in 2013, and translation proceeded on other Old Testament books. During the spring of this year, the book of Psalms was published in Naskapi and dedicated alongside the “Book of Bible Promises“, a topical collection of Scripture readings in Naskapi.

Psalms and Bible Promises books at the front of the church on Dedication Day

Remember that the lectionary readings for each week contain a passage from the Old Testament, a reading from the Psalms, a portion of the Epistles, and a section of the Gospels. A year of lectionary readings contains hundreds of verses from all parts of the Bible.

As usually happens in the course of our ongoing translation work and checking, many of the readings contained in the lectionary are often corrected to make their spelling more consistent, or revised somewhat to make the meaning more clear or natural. These corrections needed to make their way into a new edition of the books.

Therefore, this fall it was decided to completely update the book of readings for Year A, liturgical year 2019-2020, beginning with the next Sunday of Advent, coming this December 1, 2019.

The format of the new book is very similar to the previous books, but every Scripture passage has been updated to its current corrected form. We have also updated the accompanying index and calendar, and included simple instructions to locate the readings for any Sunday in the year. The revision also has a newly designed cover.

We completed the final composition and formatting for the books on November 1. On November 8 we received the first “proof copy” (the book pictured here) and upon review and approval we ordered a supply of 30 books to be printed and shipped to the Naskapi church.

We received notice from the printer that the books were printed, packed and shipped last week, on November 14th, and are now on their way to Kawawachikamach.

There is still a very good chance that these new books will be delivered to Kawawachikamach before the end of the month, which will be just in time for the First Sunday of Advent, December 1, 2019. When they receive their books, the congregation will find all the readings for that Sunday starting on “page 1”.

Thank you for your prayers for this project, which makes the Scriptures in Naskapi available to the congregation in Kawawachikamach every Sunday. Please continue to remember “FedEx” and “Canada Post” this week, as they do their job and get these books “to the church on time”.

Serving you with joy,

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

 

Northern Translation Brief: Linguistics Intern Visit to Naskapi

Our Dear Partners,

After the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering that was held at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 2014, there were several projects that were prioritized, including work on Oji-Cree, Cree and Naskapi Bible translation projects, along with activities focused on building the capacity of the local communities to accomplish these translation goals. One necessary part of capacity-building includes the recruitment and training of new Bible Translation facilitator teams to work alongside language speakers in their communities in the north.

unlabeled CNM mapA key part of the preparation for these Bible Translation facilitator teams is a period of in-field training and language service with the Naskapi translation project. During this time of gaining experience living in an isolated northern First Nations community, the new teams will serve the Naskapi as Linguistics Interns, taking part in the facilitation of a real ongoing language program there.

cimg8834To help the new teams with a smoother transition to their in-field training period, they accompany us on one of our working trips to the Naskapi community. In August of 2016, Martin and Alice Reed came with us to visit the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach, as their part of their introduction to the situation in Canadian First Nations, as well as a chance for us to get to know them better.

img_1587You may remember that last year at this time, Matthew and Caitlin Windsor accompanied us to Kawawachikamach on a similar visit. You can read about that trip at this link here <link>.

On this year’s trip, beginning August 21, we picked up Alice and Martin at the Buffalo, NY airport, and from there we drove for the next three days together up through southern Ontario along the north shore of the St. Lawrence in Quebec to Sept-Iles, were we boarded the train to Schefferville. The train ride this time was 16 hours, arriving at Schefferville near midnight. We arrived at the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach in the wee hours of Friday morning, August 26.

dscn1716dscn1720cimg8841

We celebrate Alice's birthday along the way

We celebrate Alice’s birthday along the way

cimg8876dscn1743Naskapi Exodus Checking

We were met there in Kawawachikamach by translation consultant Watson Williams and his wife Linda. Watson had already been there in the Naskapi community working with the Naskapi translators on the exegetical checking for the book of Exodus for the previous two weeks.

img_0261The book of Exodus: the story of Moses, the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt and the establishment of the covenant with God’s people is 40 chapters long and contains more than 1200 verses. It has been one of the major projects in the Naskapi translation program since the publication of the Naskapi New Testament in 2007. Naskapi translator Tshiueten Vachon completed the first draft of this book earlier this year. When Watson heard that the book needed to be checked, he volunteered to come out of “retirement” and return to the Naskapi community again to help them accomplish this check. Watson had been the main consultant who helped the Naskapi team with their New Testament checking a decade ago, and also checked the Old Testament Lectionary lessons in 2010. He works very well with the Naskapi translators, and is well-loved by the Naskapi people, and we are all very grateful that he was able to come with Linda to work with the team.

img_0011img_0010We were there with Martin and Alice to observe the last day of checking, and they were able to see first-hand Watson’s procedure of working with the translators, asking questions, verifying the accuracy of the translation, and making suggestions for improvements. On that last day, the translation team completed the checking through the end of chapter 30 of Exodus, about 73% of the book. Watson then provided the translators with a detailed series of steps that they can follow so that in the weeks to come they can finish checking the remaining 325 verses with Watson “off-site”, communicating their questions and answers by internet.

Watson with his wife Linda, and Ruby Sandy-Robinison administrator of the Naskapi Development Corporation

Watson with his wife Linda, and Ruby Sandy-Robinison administrator of the Naskapi Development Corporation

It was an excellent opportunity for Martin and Alice to see Watson at work with team.

Naskapi Literature Production

If you can read the Bible yourself, it’s because you can read. If you can read (thank a teacher!) it’s because you can and have read many, many other books in your own language. Naskapi reading and writing is now taught at the Naskapi school in the early years as the language of instruction, and while there is a growing collection of children’s books in Naskapi, it is also important to have good quality Naskapi language literature by Naskapi authors, suitable for all ages. One project we have been helping to coordinate with the Naskapi translators is the production of a book series of traditional stories and legends. cimg9096We work with the Naskapi translation team and a consultant linguist, Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie, professor emeritus from Memorial University of Newfoundland. We arrived the same week that the fourth volume in this series “The Giant Eagle and other stories” was released in the community and online, and also took part in the transcription and linguistic analysis of the next set of stories for the next volumes.

cimg9240cimg9093img_0024Again, having Martin and Alice participate in the day-to-day work by the Naskapi translators working with the consultant linguists gave them another excellent opportunity to experience another facet of language development work.

eagle-promo-card-horizThe Giant Eagle and other stories book in Naskapi also contains a literary English translation, linguistic and cultural notes, and beautiful illustrations by our daughter Elizabeth. They are now available with all the other Naskapi language materials online at this website: <link>

Language, Culture and Relationships

dscn1819Along with our work activities that Alice and Martin eagerly participated in, they also had excellent opportunities to get to know about the people and the place where God has called us to serve and begin to get accustomed to what it’s like to work in a remote northern First Nations community. We all attended Naskapi church services, a baby christening celebration, and several community cultural events that were taking place during the days we were in Kawawachikamach. Alice and Martin began to learn to speak a few Naskapi phrases, started to think about Algonquian grammatical structure, learn about gathering and processing traditional Naskapi medications, and participate in a community fishing derby.

dscn1826dscn1833cimg9079cimg9203cimg9209cimg9218The relationship-building went in both directions too, as the Naskapi welcomed them into their lives and activities, and clearly let them know that the Naskapi themselves are looking forward to the days when Alice and Martin will be able to spend a longer period of service and getting to know the people at Kawawachikamach better.

img_0067Linguistics Internships

cimg8957Some have asked if the new teams that God is sending to work with us are our “replacements”. Well, not exactly. It became clear that God is at work in many First Nations communities across Northern Canada, and that for us to simply move on to another language project after Naskapi would not nearly begin to meet the need, besides the fact that the Naskapi team still needs continued support. So in answer to your prayers God has called additional Bible Translation facilitation teams Matt and Caitlin Windsor and Alice and Martin Reed to serve in some of these other First Nations Bible Translation projects.

img_1768They are both working on building up a team of partners who will pray for and support their work through Wycliffe Bible Translators, and they are completing their final preparations to leave home to work in an isolated northern community to do this. Since the languages are all closely related, and the values and culture of these language communities share a lot in common, their planned in-field training period serving in a linguistics internship with Naskapi for several months will continue to support the Naskapi project in significimg_1771ant ways, moving the Naskapi team closer to a sustainable level of capacity, while also giving the new teams the practical skills and experience that they will need to work in the language communities that are still waiting for God’s Word in their mother tongues.

This will also enable us to leverage our own experience so that we can support these new teams as mentors, while God continues to use us to assist the other language projects where we have the privilege to serve.

dscn1700Both the Windsors and the Reeds hope to begin their Linguistics Internships with the Naskapi project sometime in 2017, and be ready to move on to another language community, such as Cree, Oji-Cree, or Innu, who even now are still waiting for the scriptures in their language.

Prayer Requests

Please continue to pray for Alice and Martin Reed, and for Matthew and Caitin Windsor, as they continue to prepare themselves and seek adequate support so that they may move to the north and begin their internships.

Pray for us that we will be sensitive to God’s leading and faithful to His call as we provide guidance to these new teams.

Pray for the First Nations language communities that we have already begun to work alongside of, and for those who are still waiting to have the message of God’s love and hope in their own languages.

Pray for the Naskapi team as they finish the book of Exodus and learn to work on their language program with more and more confidence and ability.

Thank you for your own interest, support and encouragement for this work that God is doing in minority First Nations language communities in Canada.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

dscn1850dscn1752Consider becoming more involved and supporting this work by visiting these websites:

In the USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

In Canada: http://www.wycliffe.ca/m?Jancewicz

 

 

Rev. Stan Cuthand–Plains Cree Bible Translator

On May 23, 2016, Cree Bible translator The Rev. Stan Cuthand age 97, passed away in Saskatchewan after a hospital stay. His life work was the translation of the Bible into Plains Cree, his own mother-tongue. Read his obituary here.

plains cree review3After earning his Bachelors of Theology in 1944, Rev. Cuthand served as a priest in the Anglican Church. He also worked as assistant professor of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba, and “retired” to Saskatchewan to work at First Nations University of Canada and Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre.

Around 1990, at 71 years of age, Rev. Cuthand was hired by the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) to draft a new translation of the New Testament in Plains Cree, plus 40% of the Old Testament, which included all the major stories and themes.

Plains Cree Bible Translation Project

Throughout the 1990s, the Plains Cree translation project was coordinated by Rev. Bob Bryce, working with CBS. He facilitated a routine of two to three translation and review workshops per year, usually held in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, to revise and approve with Stan’s first draft. Most of the Old Testament sections were reviewed during this period, but little was brought to publication or distribution.

In the late 1990s, Wycliffe / SIL-North America Branch assigned linguist Kimb Givens (Spender) to facilitate the project. She was based in Saskatoon until about 2003 when she married and moved to Maine. She continued to assist from time to time from her home in Maine.

In 2001 Bob Bryce retired from the Canadian Bible Society, and Ruth (Spielmann) Heeg was assigned as project coordinator, working from the Society’s translation office Kitchener, along with many other duties, fulfilling a joint assignment with SIL and CBS.

Around 2002, Wycliffe / SIL-North America Branch assigned Meg Billingsley to facilitate the project jointly with Ruth. She was based in Prince Albert, and her term of service overlapped with Kimb’s. Meg was reassigned to Mi’kmaq in 2008.

In 2004 Stan Cuthand completed his translation of the first draft of the 40% Old Testament and complete New Testament, and continued to assist at many of the workshops with Ruth, Kimb, and Meg.

From 2001 to 2013 Ruth continued to coordinate the program and to facilitate the translation checking workshops twice a year in North Battleford and Saskatoon. Often if there were too many participants at the workshops they could be very slow and cumbersome. There was often great participation but little progress. Eventually, it was decided to work with a smaller team of Cree translator-reviewers.

From 2014 – present Ruth mostly worked with just two Cree-speaking reviewers, Dolores Sand and Gayle Weenie. This team made much better progress.

The following sections of the Plains Cree translation have been published and distributed:

  • Luke chapters 22-24 (2004)
  • Ruth (2004)
  • Mark (2010)
  • Selections of the Psalms (2013)
  • James (2014)

In July 2015 the entire book of Luke was finalized and Bill and Norma Jean assisted Ruth in recording the entire book read by Dolores. It will be ready to publish once the final editing is accomplished on the audio files. Matthew is ready to be recorded next. The Gospel of John will be ready after a final check of chapters 20 and 21, and the book of Acts is currently being reviewed and revised by Ruth, Dolores and Gayle.

Please continue to pray for the translation team as they complete the work begun by Stan Cuthand, so that Plains Cree speakers across Canada will have God’s Word in their own language.

plains cree review4

Reflections on Sixty

This is not a “Northern Translation Brief”. For reports about our work in First Nations Bible Translation in Canada, scroll to another post. This is a personal reflection on turning sixty years old.

DSCN0136I meant to share this reflection closer to by 60th birthday, which was exactly six months ago today, on November 16, 2015. I did spend time that weekend writing these thoughts in my journal, reading the scriptures and praying–and I felt that I would like to share this with people who are close to me–so here you are reading about it. Thank you for taking this time, for “time” is what this reflection is all about. May you learn what I am learning.

In Genesis 6:3 God decreed “…his days shall be a hundred and twenty years…” Was this the time ticking down to the time of the judgement of the flood? or rather the length of a lifespan? Bible commentators differ on this, but I think that what Moses wrote in Psalm 90 was that it would be difficult for most people to live past age 70 or 80, and that the Genesis 6:3 passage refers to the time left until judgement.

In any case, I have found that reading Psalm 90 in its entirety to be a worthwhile reflection for me as I turned sixty. I invite you to do it too, just click here: (Psalm 90) and then come back to my story.

Verse 12 says: “…Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.”

If I compare my lifespan to one 24-hour “day”, and I was born at “12:01 a.m.” and if 70 years old = “midnight”, then every year of my life would be the equivalent of about 20 minutes and a half in my 24-hour “day”.

On this day, once again I make Psalm 90 my prayer to God even as Moses did.

I think about the darkening day. If indeed 70 years is all I get (and indeed, no one can know that they will even get that: Ecclesiastes 8:7-8), and if my life is like a 24-hour day, then the “time” of my life is 8:34 p.m. The sun has set (in November, in Ontario) and it is dark. The “day” is over and night has come.

sunset through treesWe went outside to watch the sun set on my 59th year the evening of November 15, 2015. It was 4:55 p.m. The sun was just dipping through the distant bare trees on the horizon, shining through between the trunks and branches.

I wondered what time the sun would come up on November 16th. In late fall in Canada, the days get shorter and shorter. Only 9-1/2 hours long in November, and each day about 2 minutes shorter than the day before.

If 70 years is what I can hope for, then I take this time to thank God that at eighteen years of age (just after 6:00 a.m.) I learned that Christ died for me and I decided to follow Him wholeheartedly, in October of 1972.

just after 6

6:03 a.m.

I thank God that I met Norma Jean Marie Kathleen Kenney in early 1975 at a sledding “social” at the Alliance Youth Fellowship (AYF)–(just after 6:30 a.m.), and accepted God’s call to full-time service by the summer of 1976 (just after 7:00 a.m.).

just after 6:30 a.m.

just after 6:30 a.m.

Norma Jean and I married in the summer of 1981 (about 8:45 a.m.)–the day was still just starting.

8:45 a.m.

8:45 a.m.

Benjamin came into our lives in the spring of 1983 (just before 9:30 a.m. in my “day of life”) and Elizabeth in the summer of 1986 (I was 30 years old then, just after 10:30 a.m.).

Benjamin--9:30 a.m.

Benjamin–9:30 a.m.

Elizabeth--10:32 a.m.

Elizabeth–10:32 a.m.

Nicodemus--11:57 a.m.

Nicodemus–11:57 a.m.

We moved to Kawawachikamach Quebec to be with the Naskapi in the spring of 1988 (I was 32, 11:08 a.m.) and Nicodemus came to us in the fall of 1990 (I was almost 35, just about noon in my “day of life”, 11:57 a.m.

Ben went off to college in the fall of 2000 (about 3:20 p.m.) then Elizabeth was off to college in the fall of 2005 (about 5:00 p.m. and Nicodemus John was left on his own in Preston in the summer of 2009 (about 6:20 p.m.).

Ben on his own

Ben on his own–3:20 p.m.

Beth on her own--5:00 p.m.

Beth on her own–5:00 p.m.

Nick on his own--6:20 p.m.

Nick on his own–6:20 p.m.

Thinking about our family, together:

  • Ben was with us from 9:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.
  • Elizabeth was with us from 10:32 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Nicodemus was with us from 11:57 a.m. to 6:20 p.m.

In the equivalent 24-hour “day of my life”, each child was home with us for just six hours! They were all three together with us only from about noon until 3:20 p.m.–eight years in Schefferville and less than a year in Groton CT. Precious years, and gone very soon.

The Naskapi received their New Testament in their own language by September 2007. I was 51 years old then, and it was 5:45 p.m. We had been with them for nineteen years by then.

Naskapi New Testament finished--5:45 p.m.

Naskapi New Testament finished–5:45 p.m.

The Oji-Cree started their New Testament translation project in April 2015. I was 59, and it was 8:20 p.m. already.

Oji-Cree New Testament started--8:20 p.m.

Oji-Cree New Testament started–8:20 p.m.

Now I am sixty. Have been sixty already for half a year, and deliberately thinking about the prayer of Moses and the admonition in Psalm 90, especially verse 12: “teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.”

Speaking of “90” (like the Psalm), my own mom just celebrated her 90th birthday (the same day as Queen Elizabeth)–with the blessings of a longer-than-average life, and a happy and good one too. Here in this picture she is 90, I am 60 and our daughter Elizabeth is nearly 30 (her birthday is this summer).

30-60-90

30-60-90

Show me, Lord, every morning that life is a precious and beautiful gift. Show me how to express my love and Yours to my family, my children and grandchildren, to Norma Jean and to all the others who You are daily bringing across my path.

 

Teach me how to effectively use the time and the gifts that You have given me each day. Remind me each day of Your great love for me and never let me forget to spend time with You and Your Word.

 

“May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands. Yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Today is May 16, 2016--8:45 p.m.

Today is May 16, 2016–8:45 p.m.

 

 

 

Northern Translation Brief: Naskapi Translation Project

Our Dear Partners,

This Northern Translation Brief is a special edition focusing on the Naskapi Translation Project. It is part of a set of special editions that highlight the “priorities” identified by the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Initiative, which so far have featured the following components of the vision:

The Naskapi Translation Project got its start long before we first visited the community of Kawawachikamach in northern Quebec in 1987. Indeed, the story of God at work bringing His message into the language of the Naskapi people is woven deep into their history as a distinct people group. You can read some of that history here: A History of the Naskapis of Schefferville, and, specifically relating to Naskapi literacy and scripture, here: Grammar Enhanced Biliteracy (especially pages 32-54).

We hope that you find this story of the Naskapi translation project interesting–but if you don’t have time to read it all right now, we encourage you to scroll down and read at least how Naskapi people today have connected their vision to the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Initiative.

There is also a narrated video slide-show of the story of the Naskapi Language and Bible Translation on YouTube at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb0QxyXC8Ig

Naskapi leadership, 1977. Photo Collection LMW, accession number "1977, 5-18" (Ludger Müller-Wille, photographer).

Naskapi leadership, 1977. Photo Collection LMW, accession number “1977, 5-18” Joseph Guanish (chief) 2nd from left at the table. (Ludger Müller-Wille, photographer)

In the 1970s, Joseph Guanish was the chief of the newly-recognized Naskapi Band of Schefferville, later called the Naskapi Nation. joe guanishThroughout his leadership, he consistently expressed a strong vision and influence for Naskapi language development and Bible translation.

During this same period, the North America Branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators was launching a broad survey of the languages in Northern Quebec to determine translation need. Such a need was identified for (at least) Algonquin, James Bay Cree, Montagnais, Atikamekw and Naskapi.

Naskapi MapThe survey workers visited the Naskapi community and not only determined that there was a need for language work, but also met Naskapi community and church leaders who encouraged Wycliffe Bible translators to come and help them.

By 1978, Wycliffe members Lana Martens and Carol Chase had accepted the challenge to begin to help provide the Bible and other materials in the Naskapi language. They were also involved in the other language development projects underway at that time, and were invited to assist with the Naskapi Band’s language projects, including the Naskapi lexicon and a grammar sketch.

That same year, Naskapi leadership presented a brief to the Quebec government requesting assistance in economic and language development. One result of this was the formation of the Naskapi Development Corporation (NDC), the local Naskapi entity mandated with engaging in the work that has resulted in the translation of the Naskapi Bible.

Heath challenges and other circumstances prevented Lana and Carol from continuing their on-site work after 1983. No Naskapi scriptures had been published by that time.

In 1984 we (Norma Jean and Bill) joined Wycliffe Bible Translators while we were studying linguistics at the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) program at the University of Washington. The following year we were accepted for service with the North America Branch of Wycliffe. After completing Bible School undergrad and linguistics training and raising support, we accepted our first assignment to the Naskapi project in 1987. We moved to southern Quebec that year with our children to take a short French course, and then arrived in the Naskapi community Northern Quebec in June of 1988.

Benjamin, Elizabeth and Noah --1988

Benjamin, Elizabeth and Noah –1988

We were welcomed into Noah Einish’s house, a Naskapi elder who was living alone at the time and we still marvel at his generosity and willingness to invite a white family to share his home.

The story of our time in Kawawachikamach from 1988 to the present would fill many books that we are not writing here! But after 4 years of relationship-building and language learning we were invited to be involved with the Naskapi Lexicon (dictionary) project, which was one of the first language development projects taken on by the Naskapi Development Corporation (NDC). By the time this dictionary was published in 1994, the NDC had already committed some of its own resources to several other Naskapi language development projects, including Bible translation.

Naskapi MTT course at Kawawachikamach --1992

Naskapi MTT workshop at Kawawachikamach –1992

A local translation committee was established, starting with a Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop which was held in the community with help from SIL and the Bible Society. This committee helped to guide the translation team on behalf of the community.

Bill helped George Guanish to translate the first scriptures into Naskapi: stories from the life of Christ in the “Walking With Jesus” series by the Canadian Bible Society.

George Guanish --1994

George Guanish “Walking with Jesus” –1994

In 1995, Bill was invited by the local Anglican priest to help him to produce the weekly scripture readings for the Naskapi church. This project was continued year-by-year and eventually led to the publication of the complete Sunday Lectionary readings in 2013.

In 1996, Silas Nabinicaboo was hired by NDC and while being trained by Bill he began to translate the book of Genesis into Naskapi.

Silas Nabinicaboo "Genesis" --1996

Silas Nabinicaboo “Genesis” –1996

In 1997, Peter Einish was hired by NDC and trained to translate the first 10 chapters of Exodus and then the book of Luke. He eventually left the position to continue his education, and in 1999, Noat Einish was hired and trained to continue the Luke project, her first draft was finished in 2001.

Noat Einish, Gospel of Luke --1998

Noat Einish “Gospel of Luke” –1999

In 2001, the James Bay Cree New Testament was dedicated and distributed. This is a Wycliffe translation project in a closely related language that would be used as a primary source text for the Naskapi project. That summer in 2001, the Naskapi team successfully translated the book of Philippians into Naskapi using James Bay Cree for guidance as a source text. The experiment went so well that the team decided that fall that they would work their way through the entire New Testament by this method, continuing with the book of the Acts of the Apostles. This was done by developing an incremental computer-aided adaptation approach coupled with an extensive community-checking and review procedure.

In early 2002, the first draft of the book of Genesis was completed. Silas then joined in the work on the New Testament translation and adaptation project, beginning with the book of Matthew.

In summer 2002, Bill and Joseph Guanish continued to implement the incremental computer-aided adaptation of the Naskapi New Testament. This work continued through the fall and into the spring of 2003, with the result that the entire Naskapi New Testament was completed in first draft, reviewed and also recorded in audio.

Bill & Joe Guanish New Testament read-through --2003

Bill & Joe Guanish New Testament read-through –2003

In June 2003, we moved to Connecticut to care for Bill’s father. During this period from 2003-2009, Bill traveled to the Naskapi community several times each year, while Silas traveled to Connecticut occasionally. The Naskapi New Testament was fully read-through, community-checked, consultant-checked and prepared for publication.

me&sil2P1010008P1010011 P1010014 P1010015 P1010006On September 16, 2007, the Naskapi New Testament was dedicated at St. John’s Church, Kawawachikamach, with archbishop Bruce Stavert presiding.

Lana Martens at the Naskapi New Testament Dedication -- 2007

Lana Martens at the Naskapi New Testament Dedication — 2007

In October 2007, translation work on the read-through, community-checking and consultant-checking of the book of Genesis commenced, as well as work on drafting all of the remaining Old Testament readings for the Sunday Lectionary.

In March 2009, while we were back in Kawawa to check Old Testament readings and do some literacy training, it was made clear to us that there was a growing desire among the people there to read in Naskapi, and to know more of the scriptures. So, during the summer of 2009 we moved back into the Naskapi community to continue the work in literacy, Old Testament translation and scripture engagement.

Norma Jean connected with the Naskapi curriculum development department at the school, and Bill focused on increasing literature production and taught literacy and reading pedagogy to Naskapi adults. All three years of Old Testament Sunday Lectionary readings were completed and published with the New Testament readings in a week-by-week format.

Three-Year Sunday Lectionary in Naskapi -- 2012

Three-Year Sunday Lectionary in Naskapi — 2012

IMG_4425For five summers, 2009-2013, we also attended and staffed the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) program at the University of North Dakota, while applying the skills we learned to developing Naskapi literacy, resulting in the successful training of several Naskapi teachers and Mother Tongue Translators (MTTs) through the Naskapi-McGill teacher training program. We also saw a marked increase in interest and ability in reading the scriptures in Naskapi, and in Naskapi literacy among adults and children in the community.

Naskapi-McGill teacher training

Naskapi-McGill teacher training

Naskapi Adult Literacy

Naskapi Adult Literacy

During this period, the advances and success in the Naskapi community with regard to language, literacy and education caught the attention of other First Nations leadership beyond the province of Quebec. We accompanied representatives from NDC and the Naskapi Nation and the Naskapi school several times to facilitate the educational development of the Labrador Innu First Nations communities in Sheshatshiu and Natuashish.

Naskapi & Mushuau Map

Mushuau Innu Teacher Training in Natuashish, Labrador

Mushuau Innu Teacher Training in Natuashish, Labrador

In January of 2013, the Naskapi Development Corporation made a significant needed investment in human resources by recruiting and training for four additional full-time “Language Specialist” positions. Over the years, the NDC’s work on many of its language projects had progressed somewhat slowly partly because of the limited number of adequately trained and experienced language workers.

Four new Naskapi language workers -- 2013

Four new Naskapi language workers — 2013

These new translators followed new Naskapi language training modules developed by Bill for the Naskapi teachers, which enhances their reading skills with instruction in Naskapi language structures.

In February 2013, the Old Testament book of Genesis was dedicated at St. John’s Church, Kawawachikamach. This is the first major Old Testament book completed in Naskapi.

In the spring of 2014, we took part in meetings between Wycliffe/SIL and the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) at the CanIL Harvest Centre on the Trinity Western University campus in Langley BC. It became clear to all the representatives from both organizations that more could be done to meet the remaining Bible translation needs evident within the Cree group.
Translation Initiative 2015In light of our own experience in the Naskapi project and the transition of that project toward an increasing level of Naskapi leadership and capacity, we were encouraged by our administrators to seek God’s direction, increase our input and attention to other related language translation needs in Canada, and begin to leverage our own experience and education towards consulting and mentoring new teams and translation projects in these areas.

First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering

In June of 2014, First Nations church leaders and Bible translation resource persons came together for a series of meetings held in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (follow the link to the Bible Society story about this Gathering). The purpose of this event was to share vision and information, deepen relationships, and to listen to the needs and desires of First Nations people with regard to access to the scriptures in their heart language. Stakeholders and strategic partners (First Nations leadership, the church) began a dialogue towards building Bible translation capacity within First Nations communities to meet those needs, and to discuss interests and future plans to this end that would require coordination and communication.

Bishops Lydia Mamakwa, Mark MacDonald and Adam Halkett

Bishops Lydia Mamakwa, Mark MacDonald and Adam Halkett

One of the most exciting things that God did at this Gathering was to have some of our Naskapi friends and colleagues attend. Cheyenne Vachon and Marianne Chescappio (both of whom are grandchildren of Joseph Guanish, the Naskapi visionary and elder who was instrumental in the Naskapi Bible Translation project) attended the Gathering and shared with the participants how God’s Word in Naskapi has been having an influence on the Naskapi people, their community and their church.

Cheyenne Vachon, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, Bill and Norma Jean at the Prince Albert Gathering

Cheyenne Vachon, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, Bill and Norma Jean at the Prince Albert Gathering

Marianne and Cheyenne also brought with them video interviews with other Naskapi church members and elders who shared what having God’s Word in their own language meant to them.

Not only did God use these testimonies powerfully among those who attended the Gathering, but the Naskapi team has also reached out to join in the task to help other First Nations language groups begin to get the practical help they need to translate the Bible into their own languages. They did this by agreeing to host “linguistics interns” who have been called to serve in other First Nations communities across Canada in their own Naskapi community.

Naskapi Linguistics Internships

First Nations communities need translation help from resource partners, including the skills of linguists and specialists equipped to assist with language development tasks, technical training and capacity-building so that they can confidently translate the Bible into their own languages. These linguists and resource partners need to complete their training in a First Nations community where they can learn to be sensitive and respectful to First Nations culture, and to begin to learn First Nations language patterns. This can be accomplished by having these linguistics teams hosted by the Naskapi language project as interns, where they can gain this valuable first-hand experience. At the same time, these linguistics intern teams assist the Naskapi translation team on-site to move the Naskapi projects ahead and help continue to build the capacity of the Naskapi translators.

Matthew and Caitlin Windsor

Matthew and Caitlin Windsor

In August and September of 2015, we brought Matthew and Caitlin Windsor, new members of Wycliffe Canada, to meet the Naskapi translation team. They have responded to the call to serve First Nations by facilitating Bible translation in their languages, and plan to complete their preparation by doing an internship with the Naskapi translators. Lord willing, they will begin their internship with the Naskapi sometime in mid-2016. We invite you to follow their journey at their website “The Windsors Up North“, and to keep them in your prayers.

It is so exciting to see God’s ongoing work in First Nations communities, and especially to see Him begin to use the Naskapi people themselves to encourage and help other First Nations communities to hear God speak to them in their own languages.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

 

 

 

 

Northern Translation Brief 27Jul2015

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for your prayers for us this week. We have been running a mini-workshop for the new Oji-Cree translation team in the “fly-in” community of Kingfisher Lake since last Tuesday.

Boarding Pass in Canadian Syllabics

Boarding Pass in Canadian Syllabics

On the plane to Kingfisher Lake

On the plane to Kingfisher Lake

Kingfisher Lake Bible Translation Team

Last year, Jessie, Ruth K, Ruth M, Theresa, and Zipporah were recruited and selected by their local Bible Translation committee, composed of community elders and church leaders.

Jessie

Jessie

Ruth K.

Ruth K.

Ruth M.

Ruth M.

Theresa

Theresa

Zipporah

Zipporah

We were invited here by the committee last January to begin their formation and training. Then they all attended the 2015 Mother Tongue Translator Workshop in Guelph in April, and we are back here now to help the team to build on the skills and momentum that they gained at the workshop in Guelph.

you can read about the workshop here: <click>

We also came to listen to the committee to help them with their planning to achieve their vision for their community. Bishop Lydia Mamakwa reminded us and the committee that her diocese was led to undertake this local Bible translation initiative into Oji-Cree as one of their first projects.

The committee decided that in order to have the most immediate local engagement with the newly-translation Scripture portions in Oji-Cree, that they would focus on the shorter, one-year “Prayer Book Lectionary” of Sunday Bible readings that are read each week at St. Matthew’s Church in Kingfisher Lake. So, besides practicing and developing their Bible translation and Oji-Cree word processing skills, the team has also begun to follow a program of translating specific Bible readings that will be read in their church each week, with a goal of completing over 1600 New Testament verses over the next year.

Translation workshop at Mission House

Translation workshop at Mission House

Translation Committee meeting at Mission House

Translation Committee meeting at Mission House

We continue our training and practice with the team into this coming week and after this we head back to southern Ontario and continue our search for a “home” base on July 30.

Our time here has been very encouraging: our friends at Mission House and the Kingfisher Lake community have shown us their usual kindness and hospitality.

Kingfisher Lake sewing group

Kingfisher Lake sewing group

This weekend we enjoyed fellowship and worship with them at their church and went to see the closing of their summer fishing derby, and even took home fresh fish for our supper. God is good.

Anglers returning from the fishing derby

Anglers returning from the fishing derby

Kingfisher Lake fishing derby

Kingfisher Lake fishing derby

Recording the weight of each fish

Recording the weight of each fish

...and the length

…and the length

"Would you like to take some fish? They're fresh!"

“Would you like to take some fish? They’re fresh!”

Walleye for supper tonight

Walleye for supper tonight

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 03Jun2014

Our Dear Partners,

This Sunday, June 8, we are scheduled to travel to the “First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering“, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada. This meeting will be attended by First Nations (Native) church leaders from Anglican, Catholic, Christian and Missionary Alliance, and Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and Cree language speakers from several communities across the Prairie Provinces.

First Nations Capacity Building Map1aDuring this two-day meeting, we will represent Wycliffe Bible Translators along side the Canadian Bible Society, as we listen to the needs and concerns of these people-groups that still do not yet have adequate access to God’s Word in their own languages.

Two Naskapi women, Cheyenne and Marianne, have been invited and are planning to travel from Northern Quebec to share how having God’s Word in the Naskapi language has helped them to know God better. This is the community that we served in since 1988 helping them to translate the New Testament into their language.

Please pray for all the delegates as they travel on Sunday and Monday; for safety and protection. Pray that all participants would be sensitive to God’s presence and guidance during the meetings, and that His will for how we should proceed to meet the translation needs in this region of Canada’s north will be clear to us, including how the work that God has begun with the Naskapi can result in more people knowing God in the language of their hearts.

It was 26 years ago now that God gave us the privilege of beginning our time in the Naskapi language community in 1988.

Almost 7 years ago now, they dedicated their New Testament in Naskapi in 2007. Today, more Naskapi speakers than ever are reading and hearing God speak in their own language, and there are Old Testament books finished and more underway.

This month, they are reaching out to speakers of other Algonquian languages at the meeting in Prince Albert. Thank you for prayig that God will be at work in their hearts and ours as we follow Him in the work He has already begun.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Thanksgiving Translation Brief 2010

Our dear Partners,

Canadian Thanksgiving was last month and Thanksgiving in the United States is this month. Since we are citizens of both countries we celebrate and give thanks during both holidays. We are thankful for you and your interest and generous support to the Bible translation projects we are involved in. We appreciate your prayers and encouragement too.

Naskapi Bible Translation

In September we enjoyed a visit from Watson Williams, the Wycliffe translation consultant who helped us with our New Testament checking. We had prepared for him over 900 verses that represent all of the Old Testament readings from the lectionary schedule used at the Naskapi church. This includes all of the Sunday readings from the Old Testament that are used week by week over the three years of the lectionary reading cycle; passages from the Pentateuch, history of Israel, poetry and the prophets.

Working with the Naskapi translators, Watson made good progress but ran out of time before we could complete all the verses we had prepared. So he left us with 195 verses that Bill will check on his own with the translators. When this work is done, these passages will be further reviewed for consistency and spelling, and then a printed version will be produced for community checking and general reading. We are grateful for this important step in making more of God’s Word available in the Naskapi language.

The book of Genesis has been checked and approved, and Bill is also preparing that for publication as well.

Bill has trained a new young translator by the name of Tshiueten, who is now working his way through the book of Exodus in Naskapi. Tshiueten is also enrolled as an extension student at McGill University (which means he can take his classes here in the Naskapi community). Bill also serves as a guest lecturer in these classes and is training a dozen other young people in Naskapi literacy and grammar. They are all very interested in reading the Naskapi scriptures too.

Two new illustrated publications containing stories from the life of Christ are also being produced and distributed. Since the publication of the New Testament in 2007, interest in reading the Bible in Naskapi has steadily increased.

Norma Jean is helping in the area of Naskapi language literacy and scripture-use by being involved in training Naskapi educators at the school to be more effective in teaching reading, and she is also coordinating the production of high quality beginning reading materials for Naskapi families.

We are also very happy to have our daughter Elizabeth here with us, who has been working at the Naskapi school and developing an art education program there. She has also been providing some of the illustrations for the new Naskapi readers.

You can look at (or purchase!) the growing collection of Naskapi materials that we have been working on at the following website:

We Read Naskapi – Lulu.com (http://stores.lulu.com/wereadnaskapi)

We have been back at our home with the Naskapi at Northern Quebec since summer of 2009, and we are constantly humbled at the many ways that God has allowed us to join in His work here on the edge of the tundra.

Family News

Since Mother’s Day 2010 we have served as foster parents for a 3-year-old Naskapi boy named Jaiden. He has lots of energy and reminds us every day that we are old enough to be his grandparents! Our prayer is that his own family will be able to take him back into their care eventually. Meanwhile, the privilege, trials and joys of parenting a toddler (and as of Nov 25, his newborn baby sister Nina) remain ours.

Like we mentioned, our daughter Elizabeth has been with us since summertime. A very special young man that she met at Houghton College and who she served with teaching English in Korea came to visit with us this fall and earlier this month he asked our permission to ask for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. We couldn’t be more pleased with Eric Stevenson and we are very happy for them both. Eric is also a graduate of Houghton College and is a very talented musician. Elizabeth and Eric have performed together and you can hear (and see!) some of their work here:

“Pocket Vinyl” (http://www.myspace.com/pocketvinylmusic)

Ben and Tamika are in Baltimore: Ben works for a company called “Brightline Interactive” (an award-winning digital services agency http://www.brightlineinteractive.com/clients/). Our granddaughter Nya turned 3 years old in October, and our grandson Arion will turn 2 in January. Tamika coaches Lacrosse as a break from mothering two toddlers.

Nick just turned 20 and is working full time in Connecticut near his grandmother, Bill’s mom.

Please continue to pray for: Our co-translators Silas and Tshiueten, Elizabeth and Eric as they plan their future together, Ben and Tamika and the grandchildren and for Nick.

Pray that God’s Spirit continues to speak to the lives of Naskapi people in the language of their hearts through His word, and that we too remain sensitive to His voice and ready to serve Him as we live among them here.

Mailing addresses:

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz
Box 2363
Schefferville, Quebec G0G 2T0 CANADA

418-585-2664 (not a cell phone)

Elizabeth–same address as us
through June 2011

e-mail: bill_jancewicz@sil.org,
normajean_jancewicz@sil.org

website: http://billjancewicz.zerflin.com