Teaching Cree

Published February 1, 2005

Rev. James Settee, who at 85 became the oldest man ever to be ordained priest, and who is best known for having written the Cree version of John Newton’s Amazing Grace, has embarked on another mission: teaching Cree to teenagers of his parish at Little Red Reserve, north of Prince Albert, Sask.

“It will be good for the young people to read Cree,” the diocese of Saskatchewan Web site quoted him. “And of course we shall use as our textbook the Cree Bible and the Cree Book of Common Prayer.” He added: “If the old people want to come and learn too, that will be okay.”

Mr. Settee, who revived his parish and helped build a new church, is the great-great grandson of the missionary James Settee, who was one of three missionaries who brought the gospel to Saskatchewan in the 1850s.

“James is the diocese’s living memory bank,” said diocesan bishop Anthony Burton. “He attended his first diocesan synod as a child in 1912. He remembers his father’s stories of having visited in Prince Albert the camp of Sitting Bull following Custer’s Last Stand.”


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