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