Indigenous-Focused Records


The collections below have been divided into two categories: personal papers and manuscripts relating to Indigenous peoples, and materials written in Indigenous languages.


Personal Papers and Manuscript Records

Hawley, Gideon. Missionary Journals

Minister and missionary Gideon Hawley worked for the Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians under the supervision of Jonathan Edwards. In 1754 Rev. Hawley accepted a position from the Society to establish a mission among the Six Nations (Haudenosaunee) on the Susquehanna, near the contemporary town of Windsor, New York. With the arrival of the French and Indian War, Hawley returned to Boston and accepted a commission as chaplain to Colonel Richard Gridley's regiment. In 1758 he was selected as minister by a community of approximately 300 Mashpee living in Mashpee, Massachusetts. These digital collections consist of four consecutive journal volumes spanning 1754-1806, covering Rev. Hawley's travels through Mohawk country, the Six Nations, and his ministry in Mashpee. In addition to correspondence and journals, the records include a table of "Indian statistics" and a 1756 map of Onohoguage villages in New York. These diaries contain a significant amount of material about the conditions at Mashpee and some individuals in that community.

Homes, William. Diary

References to the Wampanoags of Martha's Vineyard are frequent in the Diary of the Rev. William Homes, a teacher and minister in Chillmark, Mass. Rev. Homes's own church, the Congregational Church in Chillmark, was located approximately 2 miles from a separate Wampanoag church of Chillmark. In the absence of records from the Native church, Rev. Homes's diary provides some insights into its history.


Indigenous Language Materials

Mamusse wunneetu-panatamwe Up-Biblum God

Also known as the "Eliot Indian Bible", this Wôpanâak-language translation of the Geneva bible was created for missionary purposes by bilingual Indigenous translators and Rev. John Eliot. The bible, which was the first to be produced in North America, was first published solely as the New Testament in 1661; a full version followed in 1663. As part of the Corporation for the propagation of the Gospel in New England , Eliot and others had already translated catechisms, the Gospel of Matthew, Genesis, and Psalms into the Massachusett language in the 1650s. Mamusse wunneetu-panatamwe Up-Biblum God is written in a phoneticized version of Wôpanâak, an Eastern Algonquian language of the Wampanoag homelands which extended through present-day Massachusetts. Rev. Eliot achieved his translations after many years spent learning the language, with the assistance of Native interpreters Cockenoe (Montaukett), John Sassamon (Massachusett), Job Nesuton (Nipmuc), and James Printer (Nipmuc). Versions of this resource have already been digitized by the Internet Archive. The Congregational Library also physically holds a 2nd edition printed in 1680.