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Ŏkhsʼ i tsĭn ik sĭn Ni Matthew otsĭn ai pi 1890


The Blackfoot Indians are found in Canada and the USA. The Blackfoot Confederacy is in southern Alberta. The Northern Blackfoot (Siksika), Blood and North Peigan people, are connected to the South Peigan, who occupied the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana, USA. The language is called Siksiká which means Blackfoot.

Rev J.W. Tims

Rev. John William Tims was born in Oxford in England on 24th December 1857. He was educated at the Church Missionary Society (CMS) college at Islington in London and ordained into the Church of England in 1884.

In 1883 he established a mission on the Blackfoot (Siksika) Reserve near Gleichen in southern Alberta, and he worked there until 1895.

From 1898 to 1912 he was Archdeacon of Calgary.

In all Rev. Tims spent forty years in mission work among the Indians in southern Alberta, as founder and general superintendent and financial agent of the Calgary Indian Missions, a Diocesan agency which co-ordinated support for Anglican work on four reserves — Sarcee, Peigan, Blood and Siksika. The Siksika Reserve mission was the principal focus of Archdeacon Tims’ work.

From 1916 to 1943 Tims served as Rector to the St Paul's Anglican Church at Midnapore, Calgary, Alberta. He died there on 11th September 1945 aged 87, where he is buried.

Bible Translation

Rev Tims learnt the Blackfoot language and devised two scripts for the language. One was using Canadian Syllabics, similar to Cree, and one adapted Roman script. In 1887 "Selections from the Gospel of Matthew" were published by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) Mission Press. 

In 1889 he produced a "Grammar and Dictionary of the Blackfoot Language". In 1890 Ŏkhsʼ i tsĭn ik sĭn Ni Matthew otsĭn ai pi 1890 (The Gospel of according to St Matthew) translated into the language of the Blackfoot Indians, was published in Roman script by the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) and "Readings from the Holy Scriptures in the language of the Blackfoot Indians" was published in Roman script by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) which included the first 3 chapters of Genesis, and readings from the New Testament.

Digital Edition

The 1890 publications were digitised from original copies in the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) archives, for the Canadian Bible Society. This digital edition includes the Gospel of Matthew in Roman script from 1890. This text is maintained by the British and Foreign Bible Society.

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