Our Dear Partners,
We would like to thank you for your prayers for us as we traveled to the Mushuau Innu community of Natuashish on the Labrador coast. We are very happy to report a good trip, a warm welcome, and many good and positive contacts with regard to helping the Mushuau Innu language community to take some steps towards building capacity to start a local translation project into their dialect. The Naskapi Mother-Tongue Translators who work with us at Kawawachikamach, Phil, Silas and George, were very encouraging to their Mushuau Innu speaking counterparts at Natuashish. Indeed, speakers from the two communities, Naskapi and Mushuau Innu, have very little difficulty in understanding each other’s speech.
We met with the Mushuau Innu leadership at their council office, including the chief, Simeon Tshakapesh, and the councillor in charge of education, Simon Pokue. We also spent time at the Natuashish school, and made some important contacts there for Innu language literacy and helping to establish consistency in spelling.
We discussed the possibility of Bible translation work with Sister Sheila, who serves the parish church at Natuashish, and also with Cajetan Rich, who serves in the church as one of the Innu language lay-readers. Cajetan helped us with a draft publication of a church book, providing us with recommended spelling changes and revisions.
We are grateful for hospitality and assistance from workers with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador, who serve the community by hosting a Sunday School and the school breakfast program. We were provided with an excellent opportunity to meet with the Hon. Peter Penashue, the first Innu Member of Parliament, who was visiting in the community at the time.
Finally, representatives from the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) were in Natuashish meeting with local leadership, and they took the time to also meet with us to learn about how language-based development work has benefited the Naskapi community, and how it could also be applied in the Natuashish community.
To top it all off, back at Kawawa three days after getting back ourselves, we were unexpectedly visited by an entourage from the Natuashish community: The Mushuau Innu band council chartered two aircraft and flew direct from Natuashish to Schefferville with 28 visitors, including their chief and deputy, some elders and youth, and various other leaders in their community. They toured the Naskapi community, got re-acquainted with relatives, and met with the Naskapi translation department where we work on Bible translation. They were very interested in learning from the Naskapi team how they might establish a similar initiative in their own community.
Now that we are back here in Kawawa working on Naskapi Old Testament and literacy, and the Mushuau Innu have gone home to Natuashish, we are looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in both communities.
Thank you for continuing to pray for both of these communities, their response–and ours.
Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean