Little Lost Caribou

The newest edition in the Naskapi children’s book series has recently been published: “Little Lost Caribou” is a story of a little caribou as he tries to find his family. He is helped along the way by various animals that also live in Naskapi territory. A great book for children to learn through repetition. The story is by Norma Jean, with brilliant artwork by our daughter Elizabeth. The Naskapi translation was done by the translation team at the Naskapi Development Corporation. These books are published in two editions: One in “Naskapi only” (with an English translation at the end, in an appendix) and the other in a diglot, containing both the Naskapi and English text on the same page. Elizabeth and Eric have published the Naskapi and English version on their “Pocket Vinyl” publications page here:

The Naskapi versions of the books that will be used in Naskapi homes and at Sachidun, the Naskapi Childcare Center, are available at this website:, along with all the other Naskapi books that we have produced so far. Also at this website are the “Big Book” versions of these, 12″ x 12″ coffee-table sized books that are used by schoolteachers to read to an entire classroom of Naskapi children.

We are into our second week at SIL at the University of North Dakota: Norma Jean is director of childcare, Bill is taking courses toward his MA in linguistics and Jaiden is being a pre-schooler. Over 100 other students are here preparing themselves for cross-cultural language development work all over the world. Time to hit the books again.

Blessings, Bill & Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief (23Nov09)

Our dear Partners,

We are winding down a very busy multi-layered trip outside the Naskapi community that started when we took the train out on October 26. We left Beth in Schefferville, where she had just been offered a full-time job as a substitute high-school teacher. That last sentence should be all the information you need to come up with meaningful prayers for her (being a high-school teacher is difficult enough. Being a substitute high-school teacher in a Native school is a special challenge).

Norma Jean and I (Bill) drove from the train to Montreal, where we attended the Algonquian Conference: Norma Jean took part in the anthropology sections, and I took in the linguistics talks, and also made a presentation about Naskapi Verbs and “Role and Reference Grammar”.

After this we drove to Connecticut where we spent some time with Nick, and enjoyed a visit from Ben and Tamika and our grandchildren Arion and Nya, and visited with Bill’s mom.

Then we went out to help the Mi’kmaq translation team at the Eskasoni community on Cape Breton with creating a DVD of the Christmas Story in their own language, and also assist the Mi’kmaq language department at the University with their dictionary-making class. It was a great privilege and encouragement to us to work with these good people.

Norma Jean had been planning to attend a Native healing workshop in Winnipeg right after our time in Nova Scotia, but the presenters were quarantined for medical reasons and the workshop was cancelled. But this allows us time in Connecticut for American Thanksgiving before we return to our home in Schefferville and our continuing work with the Naskapi translation project there.

Thank you for your interest, your support and prayers for our safe travels and return to the Naskapi community next week. We have much to be thankful for, but especially for God’s gift of His Son.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean