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Pierre Paul Osunkhirhine

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Osunkhirhine, Pierre Paul. An Abnaki Indian of St Francis, near Pierreville, Quebec, noted for his translations, especially of religious works, into the Penobscot dialect of the Abnaki language, published from 1830 to 1844.  He received a good education at Moore’s Charity School, Hanover N. H. and returned to his home as a Protestant missionary.  In some of his published works1 his name appears as Wzokhilain, because it could not be more exactly transliterated into the Abnaki language.2


Osunkhirhine was licensed to preach in January, 1836, by the Champlain Presbytery, and in the following June, he was ordained as an evangelist to his native tribe. Upon this, the opposition of the papal community was much embittered, and efforts were made to get him removed from the reservation, but the governor refused to interfere. When he commenced his labors, the whole tribe were ignorant and bigoted papists. In 1837, more than 30 persons attended his preaching, all of whom had renounced the Romish church, in spite of the most bitter persecution. From five to twenty children were gathered into a school, according as the people were at home or on their hunting grounds, and three persons, including the wife of Osunkhirhine, had joined the Protestant church. In 1840, the church members had increased to 27, and a prosperous school of 23 pupils was in operation.3

Footnotes

  1. Pilling, bibliog. Algonquian Language, 539-40, 1891 

  2. Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, vol 2, 162, 1910. 

  3. Newcomb, Cyclopedia of Missions, 622, 1855. 

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