Joseph Cook was the first school teacher at St. Peter’s Settlement, and a dedicated assistant to the various missionaries who came to the community. Born about 1790 to Kahnapawanakan, a Cree woman from York Factory, Hudson Bay, and William Hemmings Cook, a Londoner, who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, Joseph grew up in northern Manitoba during the peak of the fur trade.
He married a Cree/Scottish woman named Catherine Sinclair (daughter of Nahoway and William Sinclair) with whom he fathered many children. After retiring from the company, Joseph and Catherine moved south to Red River Settlement and made their home at St. Peter’s. He was fluent in the Cree and English languages and was the Cree reader for many of the prayers said in the church. He also translated services from English to Cree. He died in 1848 at the age of 60 years and was buried in the cemetery of St. Peter’s.
Source: Sutherland, Donna G. Nahoway; A Distant Voice p. 150 and 276.