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question.” (Magnalia, Bk. III., p. 193.) In the Book of Common Prayer, translated into the language of the Six Nations, there are also many long words, such as-“Tsinihoianerenseratokentitseroten.” (Daniel, ix. 9.) No wonder, therefore, that so many of these words, especially those belonging to the Dahcotah branch, which is rough and full of nasal sounds, have either been entirely lost or at least transformed till they can no longer be recognized.
In some instances it is a special matter of regret that the Indian names of places and States no longer suggest their original meaning. This was occasionally simple enough, as in Connecticutoriginally written Qugnaughticot—which meant in the Mohegan dialect "long river;" and in Massachusetts—in the Natic dialect Masasuset-signifying “the place of great hills,” with reference to the Blue Hills, eleven miles to the southwest of Boston, the highest point of land in the eastern part of that State. Of cities thus designated, Milwaukie, recalls its original name, meaning “rich lands," and Sing Sing, the Algonquin word Asingsing, "a place of stones," with all the greater force as it is now, "the residence of gentlemen," in Artemus Ward's language, “who spend their days in poundin' stun." Other names, however, have more or less picturesqueness in their meaning, and are not so easily improved by recent changes. Thus Chicago represents in its French pronunciation very fairly the actual sounds heard by the first French explorers, when the Potawatomies, who dwelt there, called it Shecaugo, "playful waters." (?) Dahlonega is the softened form of the Talauneca of the Cherokees, which meant "yellow metal,” for the Indians were well aware of the gold found in the neighborhood, which niade the city in later years the seat of a government mint, because of its happy position in the very centre of the gold-mine district of Northern Georgia. Lake Erie is almost the only remainder now of the once powerful tribe of Eries, who lived where the State of Ohio now is; the latter name, as given to the river, owes its origin to the Iroquois, who called it the Oheo, “ beautiful water,” by the same instinctive admiration which prompted the French to name it, La Belle Rivière. It had a lucky escape from Father Marquette's baptism, • who christened it Ouaboukigon-a name which subsequently shrunk into Ouabache, and has finally as Wabash been given to the last tributary of the Ohio. It is curious that a kind of stigma
seems to adhere to the name, for even now the good people of Indiana and the West generally, are fond of saying of a man who has been cheated, that“ he has been Wabashed.” At one time, when the “dark and bloody ground” of Kentucky and Ohio became famous among the whites, the Indians also felt inclined to call their beautiful river rather the Blood River, so fearful had been the scenes of carnage and cruelty enacted on its fair banks. One of the youngest states, Idaho, well deserves its poetical name, I-da-hoe, the “gem of the mountains," and the name of the river Monongahela flows as smoothly from the lips with its liquid notes as the far-famed rye whisky distilled on its banks, which is, known all over the Union by the same term, in contradistinction from Scotch and Irish rivals. On the other hand, the much-discussed name of the greatest waterfall on our continent has been stripped of all the poetical meanings given it by writers whose imagination exceeded their knowledge. Neagara, the original word, taken from the Seneca-Iroquois dialect, has no connection with cataracts, but means prosaically,“ across the neck," alluding to the course of the river across the neck or strip of land that lies between Lakes Erie and Ontario. A similar idea underlies the word Mitchikan in the Ottawa dialect, which was originally given to Mackinac, and meant “fences," as if the island were lying fence-like before the Upper Lake. At least so says the Rev. Mr. Pierz, a missionary among the Ottawas; but Allouez, his French predecessor, calls it, a few years before, Machihiganing; the present word Michigan is evidently an improvement upon both the former
The word Esquimaux, though not denoting any tribe inhabiting the United States, is still so frequently regarded as belonging to our speech that it may not be amiss to correct the common error, by which it is considered a French term, probably only because of its French-looking termination. A learned linguist of France went so far in his patriotic zeal to reclaim it as his own, that he insisted upon its being a contraction of ceux qui miaulent ! The word obtained its French appearance from the Canadian voyageurs, who introduced it, after having in vain tried to imitate in any better way the sounds by which the Innuits, as they call themselves, were designated by the Kenisteno Indians in their language. This was Ashkimai or “eaters of raw meat,” which
practice appeared to them strange enough to give its name to the whole race, and hence the present name of Esquimaux.
Since the acquisition of Alaska, for which a new term, Walrussia, was proposed, but deservedly failed to obtain currency, a few words have become familiar to the American ear, which belong to the Indians of that district. This is the Chinook Jargon, a conventional language like the Lingua Franca of the Mediterranean, and the Pigeon-English of India, which dates back to the fur-droguers of the last century. Those mariners, whose enterprise before 1800 explored the northwest coast of America, picked up at their general rendezvous, Nootka Sound, various native words useful in barter, and thence transplanted them, with additions from the English, to the shores of Oregon. When the great Astor's expedition arrived at the mouth of the Columbia, the Jargon received its principal impulse; many more words of English were brought in, and for the first time the French, or rather the Canadian and Missouri patois of the French, was introduced. The principal seat of the company being at Astoria, not only a large addition of Chinook words was made, but a considerable number was taken from the Chihalis, who immediately bordered that tribe on the north. The language continued to receive additions, and assumed a more distinct and settled meaning under the Northwest and Hudson's Bay Companies, who succeeded Astor's party, as well as the American settlers in Oregon. Its advantage was soon perceived by the Indians, and the Jargon became to some extent a means of communication betweeh natives of different speech and between them and the whites. It was even used between Americans and Canadians. First in vogue upon the Columbia and Willamette, it spread to Puget Sound, and with the extension of trade found
up the coast and the rivers, so that there are now few tribes between the 42d and 57th parallels of latitude, in which there are not found interpreters through its medium. Notwithstanding its apparent poverty of words and the absence of grammatical forms, it possesses much flexibility and power of expression, and really serves almost every purpose of ordinary inter
Mr. George Gibbs, who has furnished the Smithsonian Institution with an admirable Dictionary of the “Chinook Jargon," estimates the total number of words at about five hundred, of
which about one hundred and sixty are French and English, eighteen of unknown derivation, and all the others belonging to the Chinook and kindred dialects. Both elements have been slightly modified in the Jargon: the Indian gutturals are softened or dropped, and the f and r of the English and French, unpronounceable to the Indians, are modified into p and I. Grammatical forms are reduced to their simplest expression, and variations in mood and tense only conveyed by adverbs or by the context.
The conversational language of the Indians has, of course, left no traces in our English, mainly because of the great diversity of dialects, which has deprived even such masterly works as Eliot's Indian Bible, of all but historic interest. Among the rare exceptions is the word netop, used by the New England Indians in the sense of “my friend,” which Mr. Pickering tells us was in his day still used, colloquially, in some towns in the interior of “Massachusetts, to signify a friend or (to use a cant word) a crony." It is doubtful, however, whether it is now-a-days used in any intercourse, even with Indians, as the Narragansett word would. hardly be intelligible to other tribes. The term pokeloken, an Indian term, signifying, “marsh," has apparently more vitality in it, for it is still very largely used by lumbermen in Maine, and by their brethren in the Northwest, mostly their kinsmen and always their pupils, when they speak of marshy ground extending inland from a lake or a stream. “I had unawares pushed the canoe into a pokeloken and was aground, remembering too late the half-breed's admonitions, who has specially warned me against these mysterious pokelokens." (Hon. C. A. Murray's Letters, No. 27.) In North Carolina and further South, similar swamps are called pocasans. They are lands filled with water during winter and the spring months, and overgrown with cypress and juniper trees, with a heavy undergrowth of reeds. “After passing this swamp or pocasan, on the east side of the Chowan, you come to sandy lands covered with large pines, a country famous for tar-making.” (Southern Magaz., Aug. 1871, p. 195.) The lumbermen employ also the Indian term wangan, “a boat,” very generally for a peculiar kind of boat, in which they carry their tools and provisions.
Among the dangers (of lumbering in Maine), where life and property are hazarded, is that of running the wangan, a phrase well understood on the river.” (The Americans at Home, III. p. 257 B.)
Another Indian term surviving at least as a provincialism, is the tarboggin of the extreme North and of Canada, the tarbogin of the Far West, known as travée to the French voyageurs. This is a kind of light wagon, often drawn by dogs, on which Indian squaws are in the habit of bringing home their loads of cotton-wood, etc., consisting simply of a couple of tent-poles with two cross-bars to support the freight. The Canadians have improved them, mainly for the purpose of using them as sleds in sliding on the snow from great heights, in which case they are often. made to carry a double load, the owner finding it no easy task to steer the frail vehicle rightly, and to keep his fair charge from slipping from his hold. A term which has only lately found its way into our English, through the increasing number of hunters who make up parties in search of elk, moose, etc., is whiggiggin, as it is written from the sound merely. The Indian word is the Abenaki, awikhigan, meaning “a letter, book, or anything written," and is in Maine and Canada, as well as in the Northwest, now generally used to designate the written permit which has to be obtained from the local authorities—often an Indian chief-before non-residents are allowed to hunt there. It is in these same districts, also, that a trap set by hunters, is sometimes called by its Indian name Killhag. “The first furs were brought into town yesterday, and already a number of Killhags have been put up everywhere.” (Bradford Times, 1864.) If we add, finally, the term mocuck, which designates in the Abenaki dialect a large, peculiarly-shaped cake of sugar, we shall have mentioned all the more familiar terms of this class. “Covered by a blanket, and pillowed by a mocuck of sugar, each Indian was asleep upon his rush-mat." (C. Lanman, Summer in the Wilderness.)
It is well known that the very word Indian, as given to the race found here by the first settlers, rests upon a mistake, as if the natives also must needs be involved in the evil fortune, which gave to the whole continent, at the expense of the discoverer, the name of a man who had no title to such an honor. For whatever merit recent investigations may have secured to the bold and persevering navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, his claims are as nothing by the side of those of Columbus, and yet already in 1507, in the Cosmographiæ Synopsis, the name of America is entered as current among men.