Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,003 pages of information about Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers.

Mr. Gallatin, in a letter of Feb. 22, in response to me on this subject, says:  “The letter L occurs in every Esquimaux dialect of which I have any knowledge.  Thus heaven or sky, is in Greenland, Killak; Hudson’s Bay, Keiluk; Kadick Islands, Kelisk; Kotzebue’s Sound, Keilyak; Asiatic Tshuktchi, Kuelok.

“I am not so certain about the v, which I find used only by Egede, or Crantz (not distinguished from each other in my collection) for the Greenland dialect.  In their conjurations I find ’we (sing. and dual) wash them’ Ernikp-auvut, and Ernikp-auvuk.  In the Mithradites, the same letter v is repeatedly used in dual examples of the Greenland and Labrador dialects, principally (as it appears to me) but not exclusively in the pronominal terminations, picksaukonik, akeetvor, tivut, Profetiv-vit! that is, good ours, debtors ours, a prophet art thou.

“By comparing this with the pronouns of the other Esquimaux dialects, I suspect that oo and w in these, are used instead of v.  But the difference may arise from that in the mother tongue, or in the delicacy of the ear, of those who have supplied us with other verbal and pronominal forms or vocabularies.”

22d, The Indian names may be studied analytically.

Ches (pronounced by the Algonquin Indians Chees), signifies a plant of the turnip family. Beeg is the plural, and denotes water existing in large bodies, such as accumulations in the form of lakes and seas.  If these two roots be connected by the usual sound in Algonquin words, thus Ches-a-beeg, a sound much resembling Chesapeake would be produced.  The Nanticokes, who inhabited this bay on its discovery, were of the Algonquin stock.

Potomac appears to be a clipped expression, derived, I believe, from Po-to-wau-me-ac.  Po-to-wau, as we have it, in Potawattomie, means to make a fire in a place where fires, such as council fires, are usually made.  The ac in the word is apparently from ak or wak, a standing tree.  The whole appears descriptive of a burning tree, or a burning forest.

Megiddo in the Algonquin means he barks, or a barker.  Hence me-giz-ze, an eagle or the bird that barks.


Workings of unshackled mind—­Comity of the American Addison—­Lake periodical fluctuations—­American antiquities—­Indian doings in Florida and Texas—­Wood’s New England’s Prospect—­Philological and historical comments—­Death of Ningwegon—­Creeks—­Brothertons made citizens—­Charles Fenno Hoffman—­Indian names for places on the Hudson—­Christian Indians—­Etymology—­Theodoric—­Appraisements of Indian property—­Algic researches—­Plan and object.

1839. Feb. 22d.  Hon. Lucius Lyon, Senator in Congress from Michigan, writes, informing me of the movements of political affairs in that State.  The working of our system in the new States is peculiar.  Popular opinion must have its full swing.  It rights itself.  Natural good sense and sound moral appreciation of right are at work at the bottom, and the lamp of knowledge is continually replenished with oil, by schools and teaching.  That light cannot be put out.  It will burn on till the world is not only free, but enlightened and renovated.

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Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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