GOOD, John Booth




Author Tags: 1850-1900, Anthropology, Early B.C., First Nations

As a missionary and linguist, J.B. Good published one of the earliest books of any consequence from B.C., an ethnographic work called A Vocabulary and Outlines of Grammar of the Nitlakapamuk or Thompson Tongue: The Indian Language Spoken between Yale, Lillooet, Cache Creek and Nicola Lake: Together with a Phonetic Chinook Dictionary, Adapted For Use in the Province of British Columbia (Victoria, 1880).

Good was born in 1833 and trained at St. Augustine's College in Canterbury. He came to B.C. via Halifax and San Francisco. He was at Nanaimo from 1861 to 1867, during which time he erected a church on an Indian reservation. In 1867 he established the Lytton Mission that initially served both Indians and non-Indians. Until 1910 its served the people of the Fraser River valley from Spuzzum to Lillooet, the Thompson River valley from Lytton to Ashcroft, and the Nicola Valley. During his 20 years on the mainland he translated and printed a book of common prayer and two books now referred to as Church of England: Liturgy and Ritual (Victoria: St. Paul's Mission Press, 1878, 1879) into the Nitlakapamuk or 'Thompson Tongue' for use at his St. Paul's Mission in Lytton. In 1892 he accepted the position of honorary canon of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. As a scholar of Greek, Syriac and Latin, he made a formal study of Indian languages and concluded they were of Syrian origin. Although his linguistic work might not have been on the right track, Good had an influence on anthropology: he contacted the Smithsonian Institute and urged them to conduct research on the Indian cultures of B.C. He unfortunately did not use his considerable linguistic skills to record Amerindian stories; mainly he worked to find ways to make Indians conversant with church materials. He died in 1916. [Also see Brett Christophers entry and visit the Project Canterbury website.]

BOOKS:

Church of England: Liturgy and Ritual (Victoria: St. Paul's Mission Press, 1878, 1879). At UBC Special Collections

A Vocabulary and Outlines of Grammar of the Nitlakapamuk or Thompson Tongue: The Indian Language Spoken between Yale, Lillooet, Cache Creek and Nicola Lake: Together with a Phonetic Chinook Dictionary, Adapted For Use in the Province of British Columbia (Victoria, 1880)

ALSO: Anthropologist Franz Boas published "Chinook Songs" in the Journal of American Folk-Lore, 1:3, 1888 and B.C. historian F.W. Howay published "The Origin of the Chinook Jargon" in the British Columbia Historical Quarterly, 6:4, 1942. In the same year, Robie L. Reid published "The Chinook Jargon and British Columbia" in B.C. Historical Quarterly, 6:1. [For more Chinook references, search "Chinook"]

[BCBW 2003] "Missionaries" "Chinook" "Anthropology" "Early B.C." "1850-1900" "First Nations"