Sunday, December 18, 2005

"You Are the X"

"Then Simon Peter answered, you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. (of God who lives, the son.)" Matthew 16:16

I have posted about the use of the Chi Sign for Christ before, but I wanted to confirm that it was in current use. I have a copy of the The New Testament in James Bay Cree of Quebec. Canadian Bible Society. 2001. This New Testament was produced in collaboration with the people of Mistissini Quebec and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The Chi sign X is used for the name of Christ in this New Testament published in 2001. In Unicode it is U+166D : CANADIAN SYLLABICS CHI SIGN.

The name for God, which is the word on the far right in the first line, is Chishe Manito, or the Gitchi Manitou of the Huron Christmas Carol “In the Moon of Wintertime" This carol is considered the first Canadian Christmas carol. (Also the first American Christmas carol.)

There is another way to write "Christ" in Cree. Here is a verse of Silent Night in Western Cree. At the beginning of the fourth line Christ’s name is written phonetically. However, ‘r’ is not a Cree sound and the syllabic used for ‘r’ shows that this is a non-Cree word. The double consonants are also foreign to Cree, so the name of Christ is identifiable as a foreign word in Cree when spelled out phonetically.

The Cree People of James Bay continue to speak this language on their land, in their homes, schools and churches. Xmas is a good time to remember these languages and recognize the desire of the Aboriginal people of North America to continue using their own languages.

Update: There is more about the Huron Christmas Carol on Tim Chesterton's blog. Dec. 16, 2005

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