Bookshelf

School books and readers

The missionary Alfred Wright (left below) began work in Mississippi in 1820. He was followed in 1821 by Cyrus Byington (right below). Wright and Byington began publishing Choctaw educational materials in 1825.

Alfred_WrightByington

  • Wright, Alfred, and Cyrus Byington. 1827. A spelling book, written in the Chahta language, with an English translation. Second edition, revised. Cincinatti: Morgan, Lodge, and Fisher. https://digital.library.cornell.edu/catalog/hunt0045
  • Wright, Alfred, and Cyrus Byington. 1827. Chahta holisso a tukla, or The second Chahta book: containing translations of portions of the Scriptures, biographical notices of Henry Obokiah and Catharine Brown, a catechism, and dissertations on religious subjects. Cincinatti: Morgan, Lodge, and Fisher. https://www.google.com/books/edition/_/1eIRWaJnTTIC?hl=en

In 1831, most Choctaw were forced to move from Mississippi to Indian Territory. Wright and Byington went with them and continued publishing.

  • Choctaw_Instructor[Wright, Alfred.] 1831. Chahta ikhananchi, or The Choctaw instructor containing a brief summary of Old Testament history and biography; with practical reflections, in the Choctaw language. Utica: William Williams. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433098370756
  • Williams, Loring S. 1835. Family education and government; a discourse in the Choctaw language. Boston: Printed for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, by Crocker & Brewster. https://openlibrary.org/works/OL7862471W/Family_education_and_government
  • Williams, Loring S. 1835. Religious tracts in the Choctaw language. Boston: Printed for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, by Crocker & Brewster. http://books.google.com/books?id=zDBOAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • Watts, Isaac, and Alfred Wright. 1835. Ulla i katikisma: or Child’s catechism in Choctaw: being a translation of Dr. Watt’s Second catechism for children. Second edition, revised. Boston: Printed for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, by Crocker & Brewster. https://www.google.com/books/edition/_/DsVUAAAAcAAJ?hl=en
  • Wright, Alfred. 1835. Chahta na-holhtina: Choctaw arithmetic. Boston : Printed for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions by Crocker & Brewster https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100783607
  • Gallaudet, Thomas Hopkins. 1845. Bible Stories, with Practical Illustrations and Remarks on the Fall. Baibal nan aianowa, Rev. T. H. Gallaudet υt holissochi tok a̱, Chahta im anumpa atoshowa. Second edition revised. Park Hill, Cherokee Nation: Mission Press.
  • Wright, Alfred, and Cyrus Byington. 1849. Chahta Holisso Ai isht ia υmmona. The Choctaw Spelling Book. Fifth edition. Boston: Press of T. R. Marvin. Link
  • Westminster Assembly. [ca. 1850] The shorter catechism of the Westminster Assembly of Divines translated into the Choctaw languageƱbanumpa isht υtta υhleha hυt Westminta ya̱ ai itυnahυt aiashυt katikisma ik falaio ikbi tok. Chahta anumpa isht a toshowa hoke. Second edition. Richmond: Presbyterian Committee on Publication. https://library.si.edu/digital-library/book/banumpaishtttahl00west
  • Gallaudet, Thomas Hopkins. 1851. Scripture biography: from Adam to Noah. Alam atok a isht ia hosh Noah: atok a ont uhli isht anumpa. New York: American Tract Society.
  • Gallaudet, Thomas Hopkins. Scripture biography. The history of Moses. Moses Isht Anumpa. New York: American Tract Society. Link
  • Wright, Alfred. 1852. Ʊba anumpa Mak a na ponaklo holisso. A book of questions of the Gospel of Mark in the Choctaw language; for the use of Bible classes and Sabbath schools. New York: S.W. Benedict. Link
  • Wright, Alfred. 1852. Ʊba anumpa Luk a na ponaklo holisso. A book of questions on the Gospel of Luke in the Choctaw language; for the use of Bible classes and Sabbath schools. New York: S.W. Benedict. Link
  • Wright, Alfred, and Cyrus Byington. 1872. Chahta υba isht taloa holisso = Choctaw hymn book. Richmond, Va: Presbyterian Committee of Publication. http://books.google.com/books?id=hNYPAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • Catholic Church, and W. H. Ketcham. 1916. A catechism of the Catholic religion, tr. into the Choctaw language. Washington, D.C.: National Capital Press. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101074870674

Choctaw dictionaries

The first Choctaw dictionary was Cyrus Byington’s 1852 “definer”, which arranged words by topic:

  • Byington, Cyrus. 1852. Holisso anumpa tosholi: an English and Choctaw definer for the Choctaw academies and schools. New York: S.W. Benedict. Link

In 1880, Allen Wright compiled a dictionary for use in schools:Rev._Allen_Wright_w_Signature

In 1892, Ben Watkins published an English-Choctaw dictionary:

  • Watkins, Ben. 1892. Complete Choctaw definer, English with Choctaw definition. Van Buren, Arkansas: J. W. Baldwin. Link

The most complete, standard dictionary of Choctaw is one compiled by Cyrus Byington and edited after his death by John Swanton and Henry Halbert.

  • Byington, Cyrus. 1915. A Dictionary of the Choctaw Language. Edited by John R. Swanton and Henry S. Halbert. Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology 46. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. https://archive.org/details/adictionarychoc01halbgoog

Swanton and Halbert made several changes to Byington’s spelling:

  • ʋ → ạ
  • hl → ł
  • a̱, o̱, i̱, u̱ → aⁿ, oⁿ, iⁿ, uⁿ

There is now an online version with corrected spelling:

In 2016, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma published a new dictionary (better suited for those learning the language):

Cyrus Byington worked throughout his professional life on a grammar of Choctaw. After he died, Daniel Brinton edited and published the manuscript:

  • Byington, Cyrus, and Daniel Garrison Brinton. 1870. Grammar of the Choctaw language. Philadelphia: McCalla & Stavely, printers. Link

The Bible

Alfred Wright was responsible for overseeing most of the translation of the New Testament. Cyrus Byington supervised the translation of Acts in the New Testament and most of the Old Testament. The books of the Bible were usually published separately before being revised.

  • Wright, Alfred, and Cyrus Byington. 1848. The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, translated into the Choctaw language. Pin chitokaka pi okchalinchi Chisυs Klaist in testament himona, chahta anumpa atoshowa hoke. New York: American Bible Society. Link
  • Byington, Cyrus, and Joseph Dukes. 1867. The Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, translated into the Choctaw language. Chenesis, Eksotυs, Lefitikυs, Nυmbas, micha Tutelonomi holisso aiena kυt toshowυt Chahta anumpa toba hoke. New York: American Bible Society.http://books.google.com/books?id=WZJLAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • The first and second books of Samuel, and the first book of Kings: translated into the Choctaw language = Samuel i̲ holisso υmmona, atukla itatuklo, micha Mi̲ko Ʊhleha, isht anumpa υmmona aiena kυt toshowυt Chahta anumpa toba hoke. 1852. New York: American Bible Society. Link
  • Wright, Alfred, Cyrus Byington, Joseph Dukes, and W. H. McKinney. 1913. The Book of Psalms translated into the Choctaw language = Atυloa hulisso tushowυt chạhta υnnumpah tuba hoke. New York: American Bible Society. 1886 version (with different authorship?): http://books.google.com/books?id=xj1HAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • Wright, Alfred, and Cyrus Byington. 1852. The Books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth: Choshua, nan Apesa υhleha holisso micha Lulh holisso aiena kυt toshowυt Chahta anumpa toba hoke. New York: American Bible Society. Link

Legal works

At first the laws of the Choctaw Nation were written in English. Once people became familiar with the Choctaw alphabet, however, they routinely began writing laws, letters, and other materials in Choctaw.

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. 1878. Chahta okla i nanalhpisa nanapisa affami 1876 micha 1877, Aiena nanalhpisa tok oke. Atoka, Chahta yakni: W.J. Hemby, holisso ai ikbe. Link
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. 1891. Laws of the Choctaw Nation made and enacted by the General Council, from 1886 to 1890 inclusive. Atoka, I.T.: Indian Citizen Print. http://www.llmcdigital.org/default.aspx?redir=71466.
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, A. R. Durant, Davis A. Homer, and Ben Watkins. 1894. Chahta oklah i̲ nanvlhpisa noshkobo micha nanvlhpisa Mikmvt afammih 1837, 1855, 1865, 1866 kash nanitimapisa tok (treaties) aiena ho. Dallas, Texas: John F. Worley. http://www.llmcdigital.org/default.aspx?redir=71093

Choctaw was also used for the constitution and laws of the Chickasaw Nation.

  • Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma, and Allen Wright. 1873. Chikasha okla i̲ kυnstitushυn micha i̲ nan υlhpisa chikasha okla i̲ nan υlhpisa. New York: American Tract Society.http://www.llmcdigital.org/default.aspx?redir=71075.
  • Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma. 1885. Chikasha okla i̲ nan ahlpisa chahta im anumpa Afammi 1878-1884 ont aialhhli ka nan alhpisa toba tok, Tishominko, I.T. Muskogee, I.T.: Hattak upi-Humma i holisso oka lushpa tuli isht i chuli.
  • Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma. 1890. Chikasha okla i kunstitushun micha i nan vlhpisa micha United States a nan itimapehinsa tok mak oke Chikasha okla i nan apesa yut apesa tok mak oke. Atoka, I.T.: Indian Citizen Print. Link
  • Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma, and Davis A. Homer. 1899. Chikasha okla i kvnstitushvn micha i Nan vlhpisa micha Yonaitet Estets Nan ittim apehinsa tok 1832 micha 1834, 1837, 1852, 1855 micha 1866 kvt afoyukka hoke. Mikma holisso illappat toba chi ka Nov. 2, 1897, ash o Chikasha okla i Nan apesa yvt apesa tok makoke. Parsons, Kan: Foley Railway Print. Co. http://www.llmcdigital.org/default.aspx?redir=71079.