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Algonquin bible

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?

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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 "Germanic" languages.)

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!
Native Languages of the Americas

Related Links

 Massachusett language
 Algonquian languages
 Indian language translation
 Wampanoag Indians

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