Travels in the Shining Island
The Story of James Evans and the Invention of the Cree Syllabary Alphabet
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In 1842 at York Factory, the English-born missionary James Evans built a lightweight tin canoe that glittered and shone in the sunlight. Wherever he went, Native peoples called the canoe his "Shining Island" or "His Island of Light."
Travels in the Shining Island chronicles important events in the life of the extraordinary Methodist missionary, James Evans (1801-1846). It was Evans who created a written alphabet in native languages that remains in use to the present time. Truly the first printer/publisher in the Canadian Northwest, his story is one of incredible courage, perseverance and unwavering faith.
"Using clay, lead and hand-carved wood to make characters, and soot, oil and animal blood for ink, he created a unique literary tradition that has become a central part of Northern Aboriginal culture."
- Queen's Quarterly
- Dundurn, November 1996
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