New Mohawk translation of the Bible published

The completion of the Bible in the Mohawk language is being celebrated in Canada this month.

The Mohawk translation was carried out mostly by Harvey Satewas Gabriel, of Kanesatake, Quebec, and took over 17 years to complete.

He built on the foundation laid by his great-grandfather, Sosé Onasakenrat, also known as Rev Joseph Swan, who translated the Gospels into Mohawk in the mid-1800s. 

A group of retired teachers formed in 1999 translated 2 Corinthians, Esther, Ruth and Proverbs into Mohawk. 

The remaining 58 books of the Bible were translated by Gabriel. 

The translation was completed with the support of Kanesatake United Church, the Canadian Bible Society, the United Church of Canada Foundation and the Mohawk Council of Kanestatake. 

His wife, Susan Gabriel, said, "Harvey's primary focus is 'The Word,' especially in Mohawk Language. His favourite passage from the Bible is First John, 'In the beginning was the Word.' He always remembers the first time he heard that in church, and he asked his mother why we don't have a Mohawk Bible.

"That question always remained on his mind, and when asked by ministers to provide a translation of short Scriptures, he did so and read them in church.

"He is happy that the whole Bible is not only translated, but printed and available for all Mohawks; the language will not be lost, because every word you will ever need is in there for all time."

Profits from the sale of the Mohawk Bible will go towards Indigenous language projects. 

A dedication of the Mohawk Bible will be held on Saturday at the Kanesatake United Church, followed by a celebratory dinner hosted by the Canadian Bible Society in Caledonia, Ontario, on 26 September.