A guide to the Mohican language, 1789

Observations on the Language of the Muhhekaneew Indians: in which the extent of that language in North-America is shewn, its genius is grammatically traced, some of its peculiarities and some instances of analogy between that and the Hebrew are pointed out...


The author of this short work, Jonathan Edwards (1745-1801), was the son of famous Massachusetts clergyman Jonathan Edwards, the elder. He grew up in the Indian community of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where his father was a missionary, and became fluent in Mohican and other Indian languages. He became a minster like his father, and followed the frontier west into upstate New York. In 1787, he published this short description of the language originally spoken by the Stockbridge Indians. In it he explained the relationships among the various Algonkian languages and their difference from the Iroquoian family of languages. It is an early, first-hand account of the language originally spoken by the ancestors of today's Stockbridge Indians and how it differed from that of the Oneida, with whom they came to Wisconsin in the early 19th century. First published in 1787, the edition given here was printed in London two years later and published with Samsom Occom's Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul, given elsewhere at Turning Points in Wisconsin History. This is one of several works on American Indian languages to be found at Turning Points in Wisconsin History. Readers should note that this is a historical document rather than a modern one, and that it was produced by a white observer rather than a native speaker; students wishing to study the language should rely on materials produced by the tribal language office.


Related Topics: Early Native Peoples
Territory to Statehood
Immigration and Settlement
First Peoples
Early U.S. Settlement
Treaty Councils, from Prairie du Chien to Madeline Island
19th-Century Immigration
Creator: Edwards, Jonathan (1745-1801)
Pub Data: London: W. Justins, 1789. From a copy in the Wisconsin Historical Society Library, Rare Book Collection, call no. E90 P330 O2 1789
Citation: Edwards, Jonathan. Observations on the Language of the Muhhekaneew Indians... (London: W. Justins, 1789). Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1659; Visited on: 12/22/2014
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