December 12, 2011

Mvskoke-language Bible

From Greek to Creek:  Man publishes Mvskoke language Bible

By Karen ShadeA retired welder from General Motors’ Oklahoma City plant, Randall formed the idea to reprint the Bible in the language of the Muscogee-Creek and Seminole people when he attended a Muscogee language class. Randall doesn’t speak the language but for some phrases and a handful of words, yet he remembers his parents and grandparents speaking it in the home to all the children.

“They spoke fluent Creek and talked to one another. They spoke to us in the Creek language also,” he said. “We understood what they were saying, but for some reason we didn’t pick it up.”
And:Randall learned a few early versions of the Creek Bible New Testament had been printed. However, it was a woman named Ann Eliza Worchester Robertson who made the biggest leap. By the time of her death in 1905, Mrs. Robertson, a missionary at the old Tullahassee Mission, had nearly finished revising her translation of the New Testament for its fifth edition printing. She’d even worked on part of the Old Testament directly from Greek holy texts where she could. A woman of letters, she found antiquity Greek language had similarities to Creek, and it made sense to work from a more direct source than from the King James Version.

Eventually, the Tullahassee Mission was closed. Robertson was a frail woman and tended to be ill. During her periods of recuperation, she worked on her translation with the help of native speakers.

When Randall resumed her work in 2002, he began by retyping the translation with the help of his son, Monte Randall, to put it back in print. He streamlined the style by making changes such as converting all–not just some–of the chapters to Arabic numerals rather than Roman numerals. He was careful about approaching his work and any necessary revisions.

“Even though this lady translated it and I reprinted it, I don’t want to change God’s words. That’s my thought–to be as accurate as I can,” he said.
Below:  "Steve Randall, a Muscogee Creek, holds a copy of his Muscogee language Bible in front of his church, Hickory Ground No. 2 Indian Baptist, south of Henryetta, Okla." (Karen Shade/Native American Times Photo)

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