Translation Brief 19Nov2013 “FAQ”-3

Our dear partners,

This is the third follow-up to answer Frequently (F) Asked (A) Questions (Q). Thank you for your response to FAQ-1 and FAQ-2, and for the great questions that you have asked to keep this going!

Another question that (understandably) many people are thinking about is:

(3) “So… what about the Naskapi Translation?

The short answer is that it’s “still going on”… and more of us are sharing the load.

Skype with four3Most of you will remember the remarkable story of “The Fantastic Four”, describing the new “Naskapi Language Specialists-in-training” that were recruited, hired and trained by Bill to work at the Naskapi Development Corporation. They are all young (in their 20s) and enthusiastic about their work, and each one has taken on the translation of an Old Testament book of the Bible in Naskapi. They are following a training plan in which they study translation principles, Naskapi history and culture, history and geography of Bible times, and Naskapi grammar, along with practice in using some of the computer technology that has been set up so that they can type in Naskapi and organize and edit their work.

skype with four2Amanda is assigned to the book of Joshua, Kissandra is working in 1 Samuel, Kabimbetas is working on 1 Kings, and Medora will be starting on 2 Kings soon. These are all stories of the history of God’s relationship with Israel.

In addition, Tshiueten, who has worked as a Naskapi translation intern now for about 3 years, has made significant progress through the book of Exodus, the “prequel” to all those stories, the beginnings of the nation of Israel.

skype with four1Silas is still the senior translator, and besides his own work on the Psalms and his service as deacon at the church, he reads through and revises the work of the younger translators.

Bill interacts with the team several times each week, answering questions and teaching sections of their training plan, and also mentors and guides them into the correct spelling and other translation procedures. But they are gaining experience and their enthusiasm at the translation office at Kawawa is an encouragement to all their co-workers.

reneLabbeAlso, our friend Rene Labbe, a former pastor from Quebec City now works as a science teacher at the Naskapi school. He comes by each week to present an inductive Bible study on the period of history and the books of the Old Testament that they are working on. We are so grateful for his involvement with the translation team.

The very first books of scripture that were translated in the 1990s, the “Walking With Jesus” series, have met an important need for beginning and intermediate readers of WWJ6-cover checkingNaskapi. These are transitional readers that have large print and colorful illustrations, comprising six short (32 page) books that contain highlights of the life of Christ. These have recently been completely revised and the last book of the series “The Resurrection of Jesus” is in the final checking stages. These books make reading the Bible familiar and accessible to children and adults who are motivated to learn to read in their own language. The local radio station also plays audio-book versions of these that Bill produced as MP3s.

The books of Naskapi Lectionary readings, the cycle of readings that are read each Sunday in the Naskapi church, have been through one complete three-year cycle as of the end of this month. Bill worked with Silas to revise and correct the “Year A” book over the past several weeks, and it is now ready for it’s NasLections-A8-5x11frontcover-are-release for the first Sunday of Advent this December 1.

The first book of the Naskapi Legend series, “Kuihkwahchaw: Naskapi Wolverine Stories” was completed this summer, and Bill is working with the translation team and consultant linguists to prepare the second book, “Chahkapas”, which will be completed early in 2014. These books not only provide good quality reading material in Naskapi, but also give a glimpse into the traditional storytelling genres that is such an important part of Naskapi culture. These two latest books, along with several others were illustrated by our daughter Elizabeth, and we have hopes that she will continue to be invited to participate in the development of these literacy materials. While the main location these books are distributed is at the Naskapi Development Corporation office in Wolverine 6x9 frontKawawachikamach, anyone can find them on-line as well at

Chahkapas front cover test2Even though Bill keeps pretty busy with his other work [link] our time in British Columbia is giving him some of the margin he needed to bring some Naskapi linguistics and documentation projects further along, like the Naskapi dictionary, grammar, toponyms (names of places in Naskapi territory), maps, the Naskapi Hymnbook revisions, the Book of Common Prayer in Naskapi, and archiving. We are encouraged that there is now a growing staff of Naskapi-speaking language specialist who are gaining some of the skills they need to carry on this work themselves.

Thanks for your prayers for them, and for us.
Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Final volume of the Naskapi 3-year Lectionary published

Advent 2012 begins “Year-C” of the Revised Common Lectionary, the collection of Sunday Bible readings that are used in the Naskapi church. You may remember that the “Year-A” book came out almost two years ago now (the blue book) and the church has been using the “Year-B” book (the red book) for the past fifty-one weeks. Over the past several months we have reviewed and revised the remaining Old Testament verses that are contained in the “Year-C” book, and we have just printed sixty copies for distribution. On November 23 another prayer was answered: All the boxes of Year-C books arrived in Kawawachikamach in time for the first Sunday of Advent, which is December 2 this year!

Each Sunday morning, a selection from the Old Testament is read (generally somewhere between 8 and 30 verses), followed by a Psalm; then the New Testament readings: a selection from the Epistles and a passage from the Gospels. The three-year lectionary cycle is used by many denominations of the church, in which Scripture readings are arranged 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. During the course of three years, more than seven thousand verses are read aloud to the congregation, a total that represents almost one-quarter of the Bible.

Like the other volumes of the lectionary, these books are being published and distributed by the Naskapi Development Corporation. People can drop by the office in Kawawachikamach anytime to purchase their own copy for just $10. The books are printed in diglot; that is, with the Naskapi text along side the English on each page. Readers simply look up the current Sunday in the index and turn to the appropriate page.

Anyone outside of Kawawachikamach can order this book (and many other fine Naskapi books) from the Naskapi Resources page of the Lulu website, at this address: The Year C volume is a perfect companion to Year A and Year B.

Even though the Year C volume completes the series, the Naskapi Development Corporation translation and language services department continues to actively review and revise these readings each week as they are read at church, and plans to publish updated versions during the coming three-year cycle. The latest volume would make a perfect Christmas gift for any of your Naskapi family or friends.

There are several more Naskapi publication projects nearing completion in the coming months. We are currently working on the final check of a proof of the entire book of Genesis in Naskapi that should be completed in the coming weeks Lord willing, followed by the 2013 Naskapi Scripture calendar, a new Naskapi children’s book, the first book of Naskapi legends featuring Kuîhkwâhchâw (Wolverine), and the final book in the Walking With Jesus series of Bible stories on the life of Christ.

We want to thank you for your interest and support for all of these Naskapi language projects.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean


Naskapi 2012 Scripture Calendar

As in previous years, we have prepared a Naskapi language Scripture calendar for distribution at Kawawachikamach, in partnership with the Naskapi Development Corporation. The pictures this year feature archive photographs of “Naskapi Places”.

If you have followed our translation work with the Naskapi over the years, you may have learned that the Naskapi people did not always live here near Schefferville, Quebec–the ancestors of the current Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach were nomadic caribou hunters who traveled over vast tracts of the interior of the Quebec-Labrador peninsula. Since their first contact with Europeans in the 1830s, the records of their travels became linked to the establishment of Hudson’s Bay posts in their territory.

The earliest photograph (for January) is of a Naskapi encampment near Fort Chimo in 1884, attributed to Lucien Turner, who wrote one of the earliest descriptions of Naskapi ancestors for the Smithsonian Institution (Turner, Lucien. 1894. “Ethnology of the Ungava District, Hudson Bay Territory”. in: Eleventh Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, 1889-1890. Washington, Government Printing Office.)

Each month of the calendar provides a chronological account in photographs of the various locations where the Naskapi were settled from 1884 to the present-day. Accompanying each picture, there is a scripture passage selected for the month, in the Naskapi language and in English.

Further, each month is presented in the Naskapi language, with Naskapi days of the week, and an indication of special days and the seasons of the church calendar that correspond to the Sunday Lectionary (see the posts here and here for more about the Lectionary).

The calendar also has a few bonus pages this year that contain a brief history of the Naskapi people’s migrations from the mid 1800s to the present.

This year, as in previous years, a beautiful printed version of the Naskapi calendar is available along with other Naskapi language materials from for just $8.

We are also running off locally-printed versions of the calendar (on the photocopier) on request distributed from the NDC office in Kawawachikamach. Local residents can purchase a copy at the office for $5.


Summer Translation Brief

Our dear Partners,

Greetings from the University of North Dakota where we have been living and working for nine weeks this summer. Bill is enrolled in an MA program in linguistics at the graduate school here, and Norma Jean is serving as the program’s Director of Childcare. Jaiden is still with us and keeping us on our toes as we serve him and his family as his Foster Parents.

By mid-August, we will be on our way back to the Naskapi community in Northern Quebec where we continue to serve their translation and language project.

Some important milestones for our family this summer: We gained a son-in-law at the beautiful wedding of our daughter Elizabeth to Eric Stevenson on July 16 at our home church in Connecticut. It was a wonderful, happy day and God has answered so many of our prayers.

Eric and Elizabeth will make our house in Preston their new home as they begin their lives together.

Bill has made good progress on his Master’s degree in linguistics–Lord willing, two more summers of university work should allow him to complete the program. Meanwhile, the rest of the year we will continue to work on the Naskapi and other related language projects.

This summer Nick also completed his State GED, earning his diploma. We are grateful to all our friends who supported him as he reached this goal. We are proud of him and eager to see how God will continue to lead him in his life.

Finally, in the past few months we have completed some important publication goals for the Naskapi project: The first edition of the Naskapi Lectionary Readings (Year A) which contain a considerable portion of Old Testament Lessons in Naskapi, was published in time to be used in the Naskapi Church at Easter. Also, Norma Jean and Elizabeth collaborated on another Naskapi literacy book “Little Lost Caribou”, which was published simultaneously in Naskapi and in English by Eric and Elizabeth under “Pocket Vinyl Productions”.

In spite of the busy summer, it has been a joy see all our children and our grandchildren again. Ben and Tamika are still in Baltimore with their children Nya and Arion, and Nick is staying in Preston with Eric and Elizabeth.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Naskapi Lectionary Dedication

On Palm Sunday, 17 April 2011, St. John’s Anglican Church Kawawachikamach conducted a dedication service for their new lectionary books.

Naskapi Lectionary Year A

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, where major churches arranged the Scripture readings according to a schedule which 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 Development Corporation (NDC) has assisted St. John’s Church, Kawawachikamach with the selection, translation and production of these lectionary readings in the form of a Sunday church bulletin of readings. They 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 lectionary provides a three-year pattern for the Sunday readings.  Each year is centered on one of the synoptic gospels. Year A is the year of Matthew, Year B is the year of Mark, and Year C is the year of Luke. John is read each year, especially in the times around Christmas, Lent, and Easter, and also in the year of Mark, whose gospel is shorter than the others.

While the Naskapi New Testament has been in use in the community since it was dedicated in 2007, this event is significant because it represents the the first significant portions of the Old Testament available in the Naskapi language.

Also, this lectionary book provides the Bible readings for each Sunday in both Naskapi and English together on the same page. Not only will this help Naskapi people engage with God’s Word each week, but will also be an aid to those who are still learning to read in their own language. We are grateful to God for the privilege of having a part in bringing this new book to the community, and thankful to all of you who helped this come about.

Naskapi Scripture Calendar 2010

This year’s Scripture Calendar is in print! The pictures this year feature photographs of Naskapi traditional craftmanship, and were originally published in:

Sarrazin, Johan. 1977. Naskapi 77 : une exposition des arts traditionnels des Naskapis / Naskapi 77 : an exhibition of traditional crafts of the Naskapi. Montréal.

Photo archives were digitally processed by

for the Naskapi Development Corp.

Complete photo archive availablehere

Anyone can order their own copy online from

The Scripture selections this year are in Naskapi and English, and are taken from the Lectionary readings for Sundays in the church calendar.

Other Naskapi language resources are available here:Naskapi Storefront at Lulu

Thanks for visiting!