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Book of Psalms in Cree, translated by Rev. James Hunter

Book of Psalms in Cree

This 271 page Book of Psalms in Cree was translated by Rev. James Hunter. The cover is black, with “NIKUMOONA” embossed on the front. The inside title page reads: “Nikumoowe Mussinŕhikun. The Book of Psalms, translated into the language of the Cree Indians of North-west America, by the Ven. Archdeacon Hunter, M.A., late Archdeacon of Cumberland, Rupert’s Land. London: British and Foreign Bible Society, Queen Victoria Street. 1876.” It is in mint condition, and is from the personal collection of Sam Waller. James Hunter served at Devon Mission in The Pas from 1844-1854. It was his first posting with the Church Missionary Society. He and his wife Ann reached the mission in late September, having travelled from England to York Factory on a Hudson’s Bay Company ship, and then to The Pas in a York boat. His time at Devon Mission overlapped with Henry Budd, who founded the mission. Since Budd was a Cree from Norway House, he was able to help Hunter learn the language, and together they worked on translations of the Bible into Cree. They also began the building of the first Christ Church in 1846. Hunter advocated using Roman characters rather than Cree syllabics that had been developed in 1840 by Reverend James Evans at Rossville, Manitoba. Hunter regarded the syllabic system as merely a kind of shorthand. However, it was also able to be learnt in a day, giving it a vast advantage over the Roman alphabet that required formal schooling. This Book of Psalms in Cree, translated by Hunter, uses the Roman alphabet rather than Cree syllabics. This is likely a second printing of the book, since most of his translations were undertaken in the late 1840s and 1850s. Following the death of his wife Ann, he married Jean (Jane) Ross in 1848, who was the daughter of the HBC factor at Norway House. Jean had learnt Cree since infancy and was an invaluable help to Hunter in translating the Bible into Cree.

Added: September, 2012

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