"'Livre. liber. ahiatoncha.' Jesuit dictionaries in Indigenous languages as a historical source" (JHRG Talk)

When and Where

Friday, January 29, 2021 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm


Dr. Fannie Dionne


In the 17th and 18th centuries, Jesuit missionaries in New France wrote several bilingual dictionaries to successfully interact with such Indigenous peoples as the Wendat. These dictionaries present aspects of Indigenous life that are often hidden in more widely read works, such as the Jesuit Relations, thus making them very valuable. Yet, these Jesuit dictionaries can be far from accurate representations of reality. This presentation examines various problems scholars face when using these dictionaries as sources and calls for interdisciplinary collaborations to address these problems.

Guest Speaker: Fannie Dionne, Ph.D., recently defended her doctoral dissertation entitled “ Encrer la parole : écrit et oralité dans les dictionnaires jésuites en français et wendat (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles),” in the Departement of History of McGill University. She also works as the Communication Officer for the Jesuits of Canada.

John Steckley, Ph.D., Professor emeritus; was until 2015 a professor of Anthropology, Sociology and Native American Studies at Humber College in Toronto. A frequent guest lecturer and consultant on First Nations Issues, Steckley is a pioneer in promoting Native American studies in Canada. He has published widely on Native history, Settler-First Nations relations and native languages. He his the leading authority on the Huron-Wendat language.

Marie-Christine Pioffet, Ph.D., Professor of French at York University and Glendon College in Toronto and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. A specialist of 17th century French literature, she has published numerous articles and books. She has also edited many European books on New-France and is today a/the leading scholar in the field.

Contact Information

Jean-Olivier Richard


Jesuit History Research Group, Jackman Humanities Institute