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The Mohawk language

Kanien’kéha or Mohawk is an Iroquoian language, spoken by the Kanien’kehaka or Mohawk nation who live partly in New York State, and mainly in Quebec and Ontario in Canada.


Thayendanegea also known as Joseph Brant, had previously translated the Book of Common Prayer and the Gospel of Mark into Mohawk in 1787, which was printed a diglot by the Society for Promting Christian Knowledge (SPCK).

The Church of England Prayer Book had been translated into Mohawk. The fourth edition of the Mohawk Prayer Book, once again revised and enlarged, also contained the whole of the Gospel of St. Mark. The version of the Gospel of St Mark was finished in 1774 at Fort Hunter by a Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant (called in his native language Thayendanegea), under the direction of John Stuart, of the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel, whom Brant assisted in preparing additions to the Mohawk Prayer Book.

Mohawk Gospel of Mark 1774

In 1781 their Manuscripts were delivered into the hands of D. Claus who carried them to England, and incorporated them in this fourth edition of the Mohawk Prayer Book, printed under his care at London in 1787, at the expense of the British Government. Brant, who distinguished himself in the war with the Colonies and twice visited England, died in 1807. It was printed in London by C. Buckton in 1787.

It was reprinted by the American Bible Society in 1829. This translation is important because it was the first book of the Bible to be translated into and published in Mohawk.

Digital Edition

This 1787 Gospel was digitised from an original copy in the Bible Society archives with the help of MissionAssist, because of its historical interest and importance. The text was first printed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK). It is maintained by the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS).

British & Foreign Bible Society


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