For the first time, a book from the Bible has been translated into the Maliseet language - a huge accomplishment for both the publisher and for the Maliseet First Nation.

Members of the Maliseet First Nation gathered in Fredericton Thursday to mark the milestone for their language.

Delbert Moulton says the translation will complement a renewed effort to teach the language to young people.

“They’re speaking in Maliseet, all the directions are in Maliseet, and the parents are amazed,” says Moulton, who teaches native studies. “You should see them, they’re like…I didn’t know my kids could do this.”

The Bible Society says the Gospel of John is just the first step, but it is a big step.

“The translation, it’s not like putting it into Google translation and hitting the button,” says Rev. Ted Seres, director of the Canadian Bible Society.

“It takes years of just trying to communicate the right words and right language, so it’s a long, involved process.”

The first copy of the translation was given to Lieutenant-Governor Graydon Nicholas, who is also a member of the Maliseet First Nation.

“It’s an historical moment and I think in that context, now, after so many years, 400 years of contact, to have a scriptural book written in our language, that is very significant for our people,” says Nicholas.

Nicholas says the new translation will help to preserve what was once an endangered language.

The Bible was first translated into an indigenous language, Mohawk, in 1806. The Maliseet First Nation has waited more than 200 years for its own translation, but they say Thursday’s ceremony was a reaffirmation of both their language and culture.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron