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Home » Public Programs » Online Exhibits » American Encounters: Native American History at the Clements Library » Case 14: Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin) Texts

Case 14: Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin) Texts

The Clements Library holds a variety of books printed in Native American languages, mostly religious texts such as Bibles, prayer books, and teaching materials created for the purpose of Christian missionary work. While they document the legacy of missionary activities in America, such texts can also serve as sources for the study and revival of these languages, many of which are still spoken by native peoples today.
The books displayed here are printed in Ojibwe, also known as Anishinaabemowin by native speakers. Case 13 contains materials written in Cherokee.
Items within this Case

The Gospel According to St. John, Translated into the Chippeway Tongue by John Jones and Revised and Corrected by Peter Jones, Indian Teachers. London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1831. 

John Jones and his younger brother Peter Jones, both Mississauga Ojibwa, were two of the first Indians licensed to teach by the Methodist Church. Peter Jones was also the first Ojibwa ordained as a Methodist preacher.

Frederic Baraga, Otawa Anamie-Misinaigan, Gwaiakossing Anamiewin Ejitwadjig, Mi Sa Catholique-Enamiadjig Gewabandangig. Paris : E.J. Bailly Ogimisinakisan Manda Misinaigan, 1837. 

Beginning in 1830, Frederic Baraga worked as missionary to the Ottawa and Ojibwe in the region of Cross Village, Michigan. This catechism and prayer book, first published in 1832, was the first book written in the Ottawa (or Odawa) language, a dialect of Ojibwe.

Frederic Baraga, Katolik Enamiad O Nanagatawendamowinan. Detroit: Jabez Fox, 1850.

Frederic Baraga, A Dictionary of the Otchipwe Language, Explained in English. This Language is Spoken by the Chippewa Indians, as also by the Otawas, Potawatamis and Algonquins, with Little Difference. For the Use of Missionaries, and Other Persons Living with the Above Mentioned Indians. Cincinnati: Printed for Jos. A. Hemann, 1853.

Iu Otoshki-kikindiuin au Tebeniminung Gaie Bemajiinung Jesus Christ: Ima Ojibue Inueuining Giizhitong. The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Translated into the Language of the Ojibwa Indians. New York: American Bible Society, 1856.

Translation has been variously attributed to Henry Blatchford and Sherman Hall.

Frederic Baraga, Katolik Gagikwe-Masinaigan. Cincinnati: Joseph A. Hemann, 1858.

The signature of W.B. Hinsdale, a University of Michigan professor, appears on the inside front cover of this book, a gift from the Hinsdale estate in 1946. The book also contains numerous handwritten inscriptions by Native Americans from Cross Village, Michigan.

The contents of the book are described as “the Epistles and Gospels of all the Sundays and holydays of the year, besides a short Bible-history of the Old Testament and instructive extracts from the four Gospels, Acts of the apostles, Epistles of St. Paul and other apostles.”