Kije Manito Book Cover
Kije Manito Book Cover
Kije Manito: Ineffabilis Deus
Translation: Friderik I. Baraga
O Brezmadezni, Mary Immaculate, L'Immaculee Conception
Languages: English, Ojibway, French, Latin and Slovenian
This issue was made possible by Baraga's Union, Lemont, Illinois
Kije Manito are the translations of the Apostolic Letter about the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary. These Apostolic Letters were translated into English, Ojibway, French, Latin and Slovenian by multiple sources. The Ojibway translation was provided by Father Baraga which is called the "Ocipvejski prevod" in Slovenian.
In the beginning pages it describes the life of Father Baraga and his cause for Canonization. It also says that the Apostolic letters were translated into many of the Native tongues of the United States in 1861 including translations done by the Canadian Jesuits of Quebec for the native Americfans "Sauteurs", Apostolic Var John the Baptist Miege translated into the language of the Potawatomi who were forced to move from the Michigan territory to Kansas, translation to the Osage from Missouri made by Jesuit Fr. Paul Maria Ponsiglione and into Chinook from Oregon and then Ojibwa prepared by Baraga in 1865.
In the forward it also states: "Moreover, in preparing his Indian religious books, Baraga was compelled to coin many words for expressing the catholic concepts of mass, faith, sacrament sacrament of Penance, of Anointing, Trinity, soul, angel etc. Therefore, who would try to reconstruct the original text of Papal bull from the Ojibwa translation, will probably have to abandon the task; for example, Kije Manito means Great Spirit, Venerable Spirit, God, but not exactly Ineffable God; Wenijishid Manito means Pretty Spirit, Wonderful Spirit, and can stay for Holy Spirit; anamiewin means homage, faith, obedience, prayer, catholic way of praying, etc. So the best way for appreciating the Baraga's translation in Ojibwa seemed be in tendering to the readers the services of the original Latin text translated in various occidental languages."
Note from the author of this site: I will also share from experience in working with the Ojibway that these words were not coined but rather were the original and traditional use of the Ojibway language. Father Baraga was simply connecting to the Ojibway people by using their word for God to draw a bridge to the Christian understanding of God. Kije Manito (Great Spirit) is the word that has always described God in this way for the Ojibway people. The word "Creator" as used in the text below is also another way that they have described God.
Baraga also describes the Ojibway language in this foreword. "May I be permitted to include the observation that these languages of the natives are distinguished for their remarkable simplicity and perfect construction, and at the same time rich in expressions. Truly, this alone is a convincing example that languages are a blessing from the Creator which has not been denied to any people, because it is certain that these Indians have not themselves invented the manner of speaking their lovely languages...". This was taken from Baraga's letter to "Katolischer Wahrheitsfreund" 6 (Graz, Austrian 1854, Feb 1) p. 52.
In this version the translations that are included of this Apostolic Letter includes the five languages listed above. At the end of the book there is a "Prayer for the Cause of Sainthood of the Servant of God Friderik Baraga.
"Let us pray, O God, who are wonderful in the Saints, we beseech you, grant the favor we beg through the interession of your Servant Friderik, so that he may be exalted in the Church and we may be led to imitate his virtues, through Christ, our Lord Amen."