Indian Dictionaries

Search Fold3 for your
Native American Records

Dictionaries have been made of at least 63 different North American Indian languages belonging to 19 linguistic families, besides many vocabularies of other languages. Of 122 dictionaries mentioned below more than half are still in manuscript.

Beginning with the Eskimauan family, vocabularies of Greenland Eskimo have been supplied by the labors of Egede (1750), Fabricius (1804), Kleinschmidt (1871), Rink (1877), and Kjer and Rasmussen (1893); of Labrador Eskimo, by Erdmann (1864); of Chiglit (Kopagmiut), by Petltot (1876); and there are collections by Pinart of the Aleutian Fox (Unalaskan Aleut) dialect (1871, MS.), and of that of the Kaniagmiut (1871-72, MS.).

In the Athapascan languages there are the dictionaries of Végréville for the Chipewyan (1853-90, MS.), the three fold dictionary of Petitot for the Montagnais (Chipewyan), Peau de Lievre (Kawchodinne), and Loucheux (Kutchin) (1876); of Radloff for the Kenai (Knaiakhotana) (1874); of Garrioch (1885) for the Beaver (Tsattine); of Morice for the Tsilkotin (1884, MS.); of Matthews (1890, MS.) and Weber (1905, MS. ) for the Navaho; and of Goddard for the Hupa (1904, MS.).

Of the languages of the Algonquian family, the Cree has dictionaries by Watkins (1865), Lacombe (1874), and Végréville (ca. 1800, MS.); the Montagnais, by Silvy (ca, 1678, MS.), Favre (1696, MS.), Laure (1726, MS.), and Lemoine (1901); the Algonkin, 3 by anonymous Jesuit fathers (1661, 1662, 1667, all MS.) and leach by Andre (ca. 1688, MS.), Thavenet (ca, 1815, MS.), and Cuoq (1886); the Micmac, by Rand (Micmac-English, 1854, MS., and English-Micmac, 1888); the Malecite-Passamaquoddy, by Demillier (ca. 1840, MS.); the Abnaki, by Rasles (1691, first printed in 1833), Aubéry (1712-15, MS.), Lesueur (ca. 1750, MS.), Nudénans (1760, MS.), Mathevet (ca. 1780, MS.), and Vetromile (1855-75, MS.); the Natick Massachuset, by Trumbull (1903); the Delaware, by Ettwein (ca, 1788, MS.), Dencke (ca. 1820, MS.), Henry (1860, MS.), Zeisberger (1887), and Brinton and Anthony (1888); the Ojibwa (Chippewa), by Belcourt (ca. 1840, MS.), Baraga (1853, new ed. 1878-80), Wilson (1874), and Férard (1890, MS.); the Potawatomi, by Bourassa (ca. 1840, MS.) and Gailland (ca. 1870, MS.); the Ottawa, by Jaunay (ca. 1740, MS.); the Shawnee, by Gatschet (1894, MS.); the Peoria Illinois, by Gravier (ca. 1710, MS.) and Gatschet (1893, MS.); the Miami Illinois, by Le Boulanger (ca. 1720, MS. ) ; the Menominee, by Krake (1882-89, MS.) and Hoffman (1892); the Blackfoot (Siksika) , by Lacombe (1882-83, MS.), Tims (1889), and McLean (1890, MS.).

In the Iroquoian languages there are dictionaries of the Huron (Wyandot), by Le Caron (1616-25, MS.), Sagard (1632, repr. 1865), Breboeuf (ca, 1640. MS.), Chaumonot (ca. 1680, MS.), and Carheil (1744, MS.); of the Iroquois Mohawk, by Bruyas (1862), Marcoux (1844, MS.), and Cuoq (1882); of the Iroquois Seneca, by Jesuit fathers (MS.); the Iroquois Onondaga, by Jesuit fathers (printed in 1860); of the Iroquois Tuscarora, by Mrs. E. A. Smith (1880-82, MS. ) and Hewitt (1886, MS.); besides extended glossaries of the Cherokee, by Gatschet (1881, MS. ) and Mooney (1885, MS.; and 1900, 19th Rep. B. A. E.).

In the Muskhogean languages there are the dictionaries of the Choctaw by Byington (ca. 1865, MS.), Wright (1880), and Rouquette (ca. 1880, MS.); of the Maskoki (Creek), by Robertson (1860-89, MS.) and Loughridge (1882, MS.)

The Siouan family is provided with dictionaries of the Santee Dakota by Riggs (1852, 1890) and Williamson (1871, 1886) ; of the Yankton Dakota, by Williamson (1871); of the Quapaw, the Biloxi, the Winnebago, and the Dhegiha (Omaha), by Dorsey (1891-95, MS.); of the Hidatsa, by Matthews (1873-74) ; and of the Kansa, by Bourassa (ca. 1850, MS.) .

Other linguistic families are represented by dictionaries or extended glossaries as follows: Natchesan, Natchez lexicon, by Gatschet (1893, MS.); Chitimachan, Shetimasha (Chitimacha), by Gatschet (ca. 1880, MS.); Caddoan, Pawnee, by Dunbar (1880, MS.); Tonka wan, Tonkawa, by Gatschet (ca. 1877, MS.); Kiowan, Kiowa, by Mooney (1900, MS.); Shoshonean, Snake (Shoshoni), by Ge-bow (1864, 1868), and Comanche, by Rejon (1866); Koluschan, Chilkat, by Everette (ca. 1880, MS.); Chimmesyan, Tsimshian, by Boas (1898, MS. ) ; Salishan, Kalispel by Giorda (1877-79), Twana by Eells (ca. 1880, MS.), and Nisqualli by Gibbs (1877); Chinookan, Chinook by Gibbs (1863) and Boas (1900, MS.), and Chinook jargon by Blanchet (1856), Gibbs (1863), Demers (1871, Gill (1882), Prosch (1888) , Tate (1889), Coones (1891), Buhner (1891, MS.), St Onge (1892, MS.), and Eells (1893, MS.); Kitunahan, Kutenai, by Chamberlain (1891-1905, MS.); Shahaptian, Nez Perce by McBeth (1893, MS.) and Gatschet (1896, MS.); Lutuamian, Klamath by Gatschet (1890) ; Shastan, Shasta, by Gatschet (1877, MS.); Piman, Cora by Ortega (1732, repr.1888), Opata by Pimentel (1863), and Tarahumare by Steffel (1791) and Lumholtz (1894, MS.). (W. E.)

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 18 April 2014. - Last updated on Oct 28th, 2013


Contribute to the Conversation!

Our "rules" are simple. Keep the conversation on subject and mind your manners! If this is your first time posting, we do moderate comments before we let them appear... so give us a while to get to them. Once we get to know you here, we'll remove that requirement.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Newsletter Signup

We currently provide two newsletters. Why not take both for a run?

Genealogy Update: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new, or significantly updated, collection or database on our website.

Circle of Nations: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new (or significantly updated) Native American collection or database on our website.

Once you've clicked on the Subscribe button above you'll receive an email from us requesting confirmation. You must confirm the email before you will be able to receive any newsletter.