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James Evans

1801-1846. Missionary and linguist. He entered Canada as a Methodist missionary from England in 1823, and in 1828 began teaching at the Rice Lake Indian Mission School in Upper Canada. Ordained a Methodist minister in 1833, he went to the Ojibwa Indians, and in 1837 published an Ojibwa grammar and translated biblical extracts and some hymns into Ojibwa. In 1840 he became general secretary of all the Wesleyan Missionary Society's Indian Missions in the northwest. Extensive travel from Norway House made him realize the need for a written Cree language. After inventing a Cree syllabic alphabet in 1840, he published a Cree Syllabic Hymnbook in 1841 and organized a group of translators who by 1861 had translated the Bible into Cree. Opposition from the Hudson's Bay Company and false charges led to his recall to England and death in 1846.