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Archives Subject Guide: Indigenous Collections


The Division of Archives and Research Collections acquires publications featuring Iroquoian languages geographically or culturally proximal to Lake Ontario (Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora, and Huron) and Algonquian languages in the Anishinaabemowin dialect continuum, particularly Ojibwemowin. In the Algonquian language family, Cree materials are heavily represented in several dialects. 

General categories that post-1800 publications fall into include:

Christian religious texts

Books in this category were produced by missionary societies whose aim was the promotion of the Christian religion in North America. In some instances, scripture translations were undertaken by Indigenous individuals such as Peter Jones, an Ojibway Methodist minister. Languages which are heavily represented include Mohawk, Cree (in a variety of dialects), and Mi’kmaq.

Children’s books and early readers

There are few books in this category. Most are government-funded publications from Canada’s Department of Indian and Northern Affairs or the United States’ Office of Indian Affairs. Languages represented include Cree and Sioux (Lakota dialect).

General language resources

Includes Canadian government publications, various self-published chapbooks or ephemeral items, and some works from mission presses which are focused on language as opposed to religious themes. Languages represented include Mohawk, Seneca, Cree, Mi’kmaq, Ojibwemowin (Chippewa), and Inuktitut.  

Poetry publications

Two poetry publications from contemporary writers Gregory Scofield and Rita Joe. These texts feature English interwoven with Indigenous languages, specifically Cree and Mi’kmaq. 

Historical resources

Works written with historiographical intent, usually by European settlers recounting narratives of contact with Indigenous peoples.

Please note that this survey is representative rather than exhaustive.


American Bible Society | John Norton (trans.)

The Gospel According to Saint John (In the Mohawk Language). (D. Fanshaw, 1818).

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions | A. Wright and C. Byington

Chahta vba isht taloa holisso, or Choctaw hymn book. 4th ed. (Boston: T.R. Marvin, 1854).

American Philological Association | J. Hammond Trumbull

Notes on Forty Algonkin Versions of the Lord’s Prayer. (Hartford, CT: American Philological Association, 1873). 


[Le catechisme en images] [Prayer book in Cree]. ([Montreal]: ca. 1885-1890). 

Balter, Rév. Père Léon (trans.)

Les saints évangiles: vie de notre seigneur Jésus-Christ: en langue crise [Gospels in Cree syllabics]. (Hobbema, Alta: Imprimerie du Journal Cris, 1921). 

British and Foreign Bible Society | A. Martin et al.

Nelautaijut aglangit : nelautaijub Jeremiab ablanginit nelautaijub Malakib aglangit tikidlugit [Books of the minor prophets in Inuktut (?)]. (London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1935). 

British and Foreign Bible Society | James Horden (trans.)

The New Testament in Moose Cree. (London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1956). 

British and Foreign Bible Society | James Hunter and Jean Ross Hunter (trans.)

Oo meyo achimoowin St. John = the Gospel according to St. John, translated into the language of the Cree Indians of the Dioceses of Rupert's Land, North-West America. (London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1876). 

British and Foreign Bible Society | Silas Rand (trans.)

Tan teladakadidjik Apostalewidgjik = Te Akts ov te Aposelz in Mikmak [Book of Acts in Mi’kmaq]. (Bath, England: Printed for the Britis and Foren Beibel Soseieti bei E. Pitman, 1863).

British and Foreign Bible Society | Silas Rand (trans.)

The buk ov samz in Mikmak [Book of Psalms in Mi’kmaq]. (Bath, England: printed for the British and Foreign Bible Society by E. Pitman, 1859).

Church of England (Canada) | W.W. Kirkby (trans.)

Hymns, prayers and instruction in the Chipewyan language [in Chipewyan (Dënesųłiné) syllabics]. (Toronto: Church Book Room, Church of England in Canada, 1950).

C.O. Beauchemin & Fils

Prières, cantiques, catéchisme, etc. en langue crise [Prayers, catechism, and hymns in Cree]. (Montréal : C.O. Beauchemin & Fils, 1886). 

Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the Parts Adjacent in America

A collection of psalms and hymns in the Mohawk language: for the use of the Six Nations Indians / by the New-England Corporation. (Ruthen’s Book and Job Office: ca. 1839).

Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the Parts Adjacent in America | John Hill (trans.) and Abraham Nelles 

The book of common prayer: according to the use of the Church of England / translated into the Mohawk language, compiled from various translations, revised, corrected, and prepared for the press, under the direction of Abraham Nelles ... The collects, the service of baptism of such as are of riper years. (N.p.: 1842). 

D. Fanshaw | [John Hill]

A Collection of Hymns for the Use of Native Christians of the Mohawk Language. (D. Fanshaw: 1835). 

G. Winterib nenilauktangit

Litanaiit ; Liturgiillo : attoraksat illagêktunut Labradoremẽtunut [Liturgy and hymns, based on German Moravian prayer book of 1907, in Inuktitut]. (Herrnhut, Germany: G. Winterib nenilauktangit, 1913).

General Board of Religious Education (Toronto)

The First catechism of Christian instruction and doctrine in the Cree language. (Toronto: General Board of Religious Education, 1956).

Imperial and Royal Printing Offices, Austria | Christian Kauder (trans.) and Chrestien Le Clercq

Buch das gut: enthaltend den Katechismus [Catechism in Mi’kmaq ideograms]. (Wien in Oesterreich: Die Kaiserliche wie auch Königliche Buchdruckerei hat es gedruckt, 1866). 

Moulin, R.P. (trans.)

Cree Hymns: recueil de cantiques Cris. (Edmonton, Alta. : La Survivance, [1929]).

Moulin, Pierre Marie Célestin (trans.) 

Catechisme en langue crise [Catechism in Cree syllabics]. (Hobbema, Alta. : Imprimerie du Journal Cris, 1928).

Pacifique, Père. 

Sacred history in Micmac = Petite histoire de la religion en Micmac = Sag metj teli pmi alasotmeoinoimgel. (Restigouche, P.Q.: Micmac Messenger, 1921).

Perrault, Louis

Recueil de prières, catéchisme et cantiques, à l'usage des sauvages de la Baie d'Hudson [Prayers, catechism, and hymns in Cree syllabics]. (Montréal: O.M.I., Imprimerie de Louis Perrault et cie, 1866). 

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge | Frederick Frost (trans.)

The Ojibway church hymn book; being a collection of hymns gathered from various sources for use in Divine worship and in the home. (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1937). 

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge | Frederick F. O’Meara (trans.)

Shahguhnahshe ahnuhmeähwine muzzeneëgun. Ojibwag anwawaud azheühnekenootahbeëgahdag [Book of Common Prayer in Ojibwemowin]. (Toronto: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1853).

Upper Canada Bible Society 

Oohahnuhmeähwine nuhguhmoowinun owh David : Ojibwag anwawaud azheühnekenootahbeëgahdougin [Book of Psalms in Ojibwemowin]. (Toronto: Printed by H. Rowsell for Upper Canada Bible Society, 1856).

York Auxiliary Bible Society | John and Peter Jones (trans.)

The Gospel According to St. Matthew; English and Ojibway Versions in Parallel Readings. 1st ed. (Toronto: International Evangelical and Colportage Mission of Algoma and the North-West, 1897).

C.O. Beauchemin & Fils | Albert Lacombe (trans.)

Petit manuel pour apprendre à lire la langue crise = Small manual to learn the reading in the Cree language. (Montréal, Que.: C.O. Beauchemin & Fils, 1886).

Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Canada) | Fort George Federal School

Nistam iijijumasiniikan : [Cree syllabic reader]. Written and illustrated by members of the staff and student body of Fort George Federal School, Fort George, Quebec ; directed by Mary Mitchell Development. (Toronto: Education Division, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Develompent, 1972). 

International Colportage Mission | William Wawanosh (trans.)

Ojibway and English easy reader = Wahyanepahnuck agedahming : Aindong kiya Andahzhekekenoahmahding ahnahmeagezheguck : Kakenoahmangamahguck = Home and Sunday school instructor. (Toronto, Ont.: International Colportage Mission, 1906).

U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs | Ann Clark (author); Andrew Standing Soldier (illustrator)

About the Pine Ridge porcupine = Wazi ahanhan p'ahin k'un he [Children’s book in Sioux, Lakota dialect]. Indian Life Readers; Sioux Series no. 1. (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, Education Division, 1941).

U.S. Indian Service | Ann Clark (author); Oscar Howe (illustrator); Emil Afraid-of-Hawk (Sioux text author); Edward A. Kennard (Sioux text editor)

Bringer of the mystery dog = S̆unka wan wakʻan agli kin he [Children’s book in Sioux, Lakota dialect]. Indian Life Readers; Sioux Series no. 6. (Lawrence, Kan.: Education Division, U.S. Indian Service, 1943).

Anglican Church of Canada | C. Douglas Ellis

Spoken Cree: West Coast of James Bay...Part I. (Toronto: Department of Missions, Anglican Church of Canada, ca. 1962).

Barnes, John T.

Dictionary of the Chippewa Language (Compliments of John T. Barnes, Honorary Chief (Nim Kee-Sko Da-Ceh-Ma). (N.p.: Self-published, ca. 1970-1999). 

Buffalo-Creek Reservation, Mission Press | Asher Wright

A spelling-book in the Seneca language: with English definitions. (Buffalo-Creek Reservation, Mission Press, 1842). 

Government of Northwest Territories (Canada) | Task Force on Aboriginal Languages (Wilf Bean, Rosemary Cairns and Rosemary Meyok)

The Report of the Task Force on Aboriginal Languages. (Yellowknife: Government of NWT, 1986).

Jamieson, Julia L.

The Mohawk Language. ([Brantford, Ontario]: [Self-published?], 1958). 

Peel, Bruce

Rossville Mission Press: the invention of the Cree syllabic characters, and the first printing in Rupert's Land. (Montréal: Osiris Publications, 1974).

Rand, Silas Tertius (trans.)

A first reading book in the Micmac language : comprising the Micmac numerals, and the names of the different kinds of beasts, birds, fishes, trees, [etc.] of the Maritime provinces of Canada, also some of the Indian names of places, and many familiar words and phrases, tr. literally into English. (Halifax, N.S.: Nova Scotia Printing Company, 1875). 

Turner, Daisy

Moose Factory Cree [in syllabics]. (Cobalt, Ontario: Highway Book Shop, 1974).

Harrisburg Pennsylvania Historical Commission | Frank G. Speck and Witapanóxwe 

A study of the Delaware Indian big house ceremony : in native text dictated by Witapanóxwe. (Harrisburg Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1931). 

Hewitt, John Napoleon Brinton.

Iroquoian Cosmology. Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Paper No. 2. (Washington: G.P.O., 1903).

Howley, James P. and W.E. Cormack

The Beothucks, or Red Indians : the aboriginal inhabitants of Newfoundland [contains vocabularies of Beothuk language]. (Cambridge UP, 1915).


Basil H. Johnston fonds

Dr. Basil Johnston was a fluent speaker of Ojibwemowin and a dedicated teacher and preserver of Anishinaabemowin. His archive contains a wealth of resources in Ojibwemowin. Consult the finding aid for this archive for further information. See particularly series 4, “Ojibway Language,” for language-learning materials prepared by Dr. Johnston. See also manuscripts in series 1, “Writings,” some of which are in both Ojibwemowin and English.

Basil Johnston manuscript in Ojibwemowin, Box 5, File 10

Photograph of handwritten manuscript created by Dr. Basil Johnston

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