“Jesus ahatonhia,” our last Christmas song of the season, is probably the first Christmas carol written in North America. The title means “Jesus, he is born” in the language of the Huron/Wendat native people of Canada. The Jesuit martyr St. Jean de Brébeuf wrote the song in that language. It is a good example of the way the early Jesuit missionaries adapted the ideas and imagery of native people to express Christian concepts. Here is a literal translation from Wendat into English.
It’s also a beautiful song. It has become known as “The Huron Carol,” and has been sung by numerous artists in both French and English. Here is sung by the Canadian artist Heather Dale. The first verse is in Wendat, the second is French, the third is English.