James Evans (January 18, 1801 – November 23, 1846) was a Canadian Methodist missionary and amateur linguist. He is best remembered for his creation of the "syllabic" writing system for Ojibwe and Cree, which was later adapted to other languages such as Inuktitut.
Evans was born in Kingston-upon-Hull in England, but emigrated with his parents to Lower Canada in 1820, where he worked as a teacher. He later moved to Rice Lake and continued his teaching work.
In 1833 he was ordained as a Wesleyan (Methodist) minister, and in 1840 he was given authority over the local district in Norway House in Manitoba. During this time Evans did his greatest work - the development of the Ojibwe and Cree scripts. Evans had picked up Ojibwe during his work among the people in Upper Canada. He created the Ojibwe script after first trying to apply a Roman script to their language. Later, he modified syllabics slightly and applied it to Cree, a related language. The scripts were based on Devanagari and Pitman Shorthand. They were easy to learn and led to almost universal literacy among the Canadian Ojibwe and Cree within a few years.