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Q: Can you verify the truth or fallacy of this? I read
a trivia book ("The
Big Book of American Trivia" by J Stephen Lang) that
says on page 368
that the first American Bible was in the Algonquin
language. The book
says it was published in Boston in 1661. Do you
have any knowledge of
this or anything to support this statement?
A: It was probably in the Massachusett (Wampanoag)
language, not Algonquin. This is a common mistake,
because Wampanoag, Powhatan, Ojibwe, Blackfoot, etc.
are all called "Algonquian" languages by linguists
(just as English, German, Swedish, etc. are all called
There certainly was a 17th-century
Massachusett-language bible, but I couldn't say
whether it was the first one printed in America or
not. It is certainly possible, because though I know
the French and Spanish Jesuits were producing
native-language Bibles before that, they may have been
printing them in what is now Canada and Mexico, thus
not technically America.
Hope that helps, have a good day!
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