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Historian 01-23-2007 10:45 AM

Names of tribes or bands and their meanings.
 
Many times there are names for Tribes or Bands with well-known meanings or translations. However, often there is not a good understanding of how the names originated. I was interested in what some may know about their tribal names or band names, and how the names originated.

For example, the topic of the English translations for the 7 major bands of Teton Lakota have been addressed in many places. I was curious to see what I could find out about why those names came into being in the first place. So I asked around, and the following is what I have learned so far. Should anyone have different interpretations, please submit them so we can learn together.

Hunkpapa - (Also written in some texts as Unkpapa, Uncpapa, Honepapa, Hunknapa, or Honkpapa.) This term signifies an 'edge' or a 'border'. So the various interpretations have been, 'at the entrance', or 'at the head end of the circle,' or 'those who camp by themselves', or ‘end of entrance’, ‘those who camp at end’. The idea being that this band traditionally camped at the end or east entrance of the camp circle, at a time when the 7 bands camped together.

Mnicoujou - (Also written in some texts as Miniconjou, Minnecowzue, Mnikoju, Mnikowoju, Hokwoju, Mni Ho Hwoju or Minicojoux.) This term signifies 'plants by the water' or the interpretation being, 'those who plant crops near the water'. It is said that this band, at one time, had settled among the fortified village of Arikara along the Missouri River. The Arikara (sometimes call Arikaree or Ree) were among the Missouri River tribes that planted corn. It is said that the Mniconjou band tried to imitate the Arikara lifestyle. However, after a certain period of time, they are said to have given up the agricultural lifestyle, but have been know from then on for their attempt.

Sihasapa - Most agree this term signifies 'black feet'. Some say the Sihasapa band got their name because they wore black moccasins, others say it is because the name originated because a groups of families arrived at an encampment of bands wearing wore-out moccasins, with their feet blackened because they had walked across an area of burnt prairie. This Teton Lakota band should not be confused with the Siksika or Blackfoot Nation who live in Montana and Alberta, Canada, and are related to the eastern Algonquins by language similarity.

Oohenumpa – (Also written in some texts as Oohenonpa, Oohenupa or Oohenunpa.) This term signifies ‘two kettle’, or ‘two boilings’, or ‘two cookings’, or ‘to boil two kettles’. It is said that a leader of this band known as Four Bears, liked to brag that hunters in his band were so good, that they could supply enough meat for two meals.

Itazipco – (Also written as Itazipcho or Itazipcola.) This term signifies ‘no bows’ or ‘without bows’. The early French trappers translated this term into their language, and as such, the band has often been referred to by the French term of Sans Arc, meaning ‘no bow’. Some have said that the term originated as ‘those that hunt without bows’. However, others have said that there was a time when hunters of this band consulted a spiritual person, called a winkte, for advise on finding game. The winkte advised the hunters to place their bows on a hilltop while he prayed. However, during this time an enemy war party appeared, and killed many of the hunters, because they were ‘without bows’.

Oglala – (Also written as Ogalala or Ogallala.) This term signifies ‘scatters their own’, or ‘scatter one’s own’, or ‘ to scatter one’s own in or at something’. Some have suggested that the origin comes from an old story about a group of women in the band who had a disagreement and ending up tossing or kicking dirt at each other. Others have said the term originated from the practice of warriors scattering limestone dust over themselves as a type of camouflage, while in the badlands area. Yet, others have suggested that the meaning originated during the 1700s when this band, like the Mniconjou band, attempted to raise corn and were referred to as ‘dust scatterers’ or 'those who scatter their own dirt'.

Sicangu – (Also written as Sichanghu.) This term signifies ‘burnt or burned thighs’. The early French trappers translated this term into their language, and as such, the band has often been referred to by the French term of Brule, meaning ‘burned’. It is said that this band was caught in a prairie fire sometime around 1763 and several people burned to death. Most escaped by running through the flames and jumped into a lake, but their legs were badly burned, which caused them to be known for this characteristic disfigurement.

If you have information about the origin of your tribal name or band name, please consider sharing.

between2worlds 01-23-2007 11:38 AM

The Potawatomi name is a translation of the Ojibwe "potawatomink" literally meaning "people of the place of fire." I have also seen it spelled Bho-wha-dmi - which is a closer way of spelling how it should be pronounced. We say we are "The Keepers of the Council Fires" - which refers to our role as youngest brother in an alliance with the Ojibwe and Ottawa known as the Council of the Three Fires. We refer to ourselves in speaking as the Nishnabek or "people". Our language is similar to the Ojibwe (the Anishnabek) and, although there are some structural differences, we can generally understand each other's speech.

trob226 01-23-2007 12:07 PM

My understanding is that the name "Mohawk" is from an Algonquin term meaning "eaters of people." I've seen various spellings of the name the Mohawk have for themselves - Kanienkaha:ka being one, meaning "people of the flint."

NorthofAda 01-23-2007 12:15 PM

The literal meaning of Chickasaw appears to be unknown. The name apparently comes from a Chickasaw tradition about two brothers (Chisca and Chacta) whose descendants became the Chickasaw and Choctaw. There was apparently some disagreement hundreds of years ago as to where to settle, and 2 groups split to follow either of these 2 brothers, who were chiefs...

Historian 01-23-2007 12:53 PM

This is very interesting. Thanks for your posts. I'm learning alot already. I think it is important to share information like this with others. It helps us to become better informed and closer friends.

eap7 01-23-2007 03:52 PM

Delaware is the English name for Lenape or Lenni Lenape, which roughly means "real people". The English named the tribe and river Delaware, and when the states came about the state was named too!

crazywolf 01-25-2007 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by between2worlds (Post 858744)
The Potawatomi name is a translation of the Ojibwe "potawatomink" literally meaning "people of the place of fire." I have also seen it spelled Bho-wha-dmi - which is a closer way of spelling how it should be pronounced. We say we are "The Keepers of the Council Fires" - which refers to our role as youngest brother in an alliance with the Ojibwe and Ottawa known as the Council of the Three Fires. We refer to ourselves in speaking as the Nishnabek or "people". Our language is similar to the Ojibwe (the Anishnabek) and, although there are some structural differences, we can generally understand each other's speech.

Hey Niji,

I was told that the word Anishianaabe itself means "the first people" or "the original people" The Anishinaabe refer to all NDNs at Anishinaabe, even though it is the word we use to refer to ourselves. The Anishinaabe nation is also known as the Council of three fires, Ojibwe, Odawa and Potowatomi; aka Older brother, Middle brother, and Little brother respectably. The word Ojibwe, I was told, is a Cree word meaning "to ramble on or stutter incoherintly" referring to our language, which is, when spoken fluently is done so at a machine gun pace.

Derek

J.L. Benet 01-25-2007 11:37 PM

I was told Iroquois meant black viper (as they weren't really liked by the Huron and their French allies). Haudenosaunee means "People of the Long House." Seneca means "People of the Mountain".

Quebecois Metis means a French Canadian of mixed native blood (in my mother's case, Huron and Algonquin).

ndngirl70 02-02-2007 09:32 AM

"Abenaki and Wabanaki have the same Algonquian root, meaning "people from the east." The Abenakis call their language Alnombak or Aln8bak (8 is an old Jesuit symbol for a nasalized, unrounded 'o'.)" "The Abenaki called themselves Alnanbal meaning "men." The name "Abenaki" - spelled variously as: Abenaqui, Abnaki, Alnanbal, Benaki, Oubenaki, Wabanaki, Wippanap - originated from a Montagnais (Algonquin) word meaning "people of the dawn" or "easterners." Indiscriminately applying their name for the Mahican to all Algonquin south of the St. Lawrence, the French frequently referred to the eastern Abenaki as Loup (wolves) - or more formally as the Natio Luporem or Wolf Nation. The French, However, called the western Abenaki the Sokoki. Borrowing the name of the southern New England Algonquin for Abenaki, the English at first used Tarrateen for both Abenaki and Micmac. Later, Tarrateen came to mean only the Micmac, and Abenaki the tribes of northern Maine. The Sokoki, or western Abenaki, were known in New England as the St Francis Indians."

NDNQt 02-02-2007 11:03 AM

The tribe on my father's side is Chickahominy - coarse ground corn people.

Migiziwomen 02-02-2007 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazywolf (Post 863169)
Hey Niji,

I was told that the word Anishianaabe itself means "the first people" or "the original people" The Anishinaabe refer to all NDNs at Anishinaabe, even though it is the word we use to refer to ourselves. The Anishinaabe nation is also known as the Council of three fires, Ojibwe, Odawa and Potowatomi; aka Older brother, Middle brother, and Little brother respectably. The word Ojibwe, I was told, is a Cree word meaning "to ramble on or stutter incoherintly" referring to our language, which is, when spoken fluently is done so at a machine gun pace.

Derek

hey derek, how you been i have been meaning to stop and say hello. are you still down south? are you coming back homeward this summer for powwow? lol ain't that the truth bout the rate of speed of language. even in english we shnobs are damn fast talkers. lol anyway have a great day send me some of that warm wether it is like -5 today. and yup you are right about the meaning of our Nation.

crazywolf 02-02-2007 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Migiziwomen (Post 867946)
hey derek, how you been i have been meaning to stop and say hello. are you still down south? are you coming back homeward this summer for powwow? lol ain't that the truth bout the rate of speed of language. even in english we shnobs are damn fast talkers. lol anyway have a great day send me some of that warm wether it is like -5 today. and yup you are right about the meaning of our Nation.

Boozhoo!

Hey you stayin warm up there? Would send you my warm weather but afraid the tornados would go with it eh?

Yeah I am still down here, dont think I am gonna make it up there this year, gonna save up so I can move up the following year.

Derek

Migiziwomen 02-02-2007 11:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazywolf (Post 868433)
Boozhoo!

Hey you stayin warm up there? Would send you my warm weather but afraid the tornados would go with it eh?

Yeah I am still down here, dont think I am gonna make it up there this year, gonna save up so I can move up the following year.

Derek

aaniin nij, got dang moving home atleast bring me some warm air in a bottle when you come home. anyway you will be here for powwow next year then. so you bringing anyone back with you? lol, find you a nice nabaho chick? naaeeey. when you get back i will chef up some corn soup lol. mmmmm. wow so the way we keep in touch I will talk to you sometime next year. peace brother...rep the shobs show em how the white earth brings the nasty. lol take care bro

between2worlds 02-03-2007 01:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazywolf (Post 863169)
Hey Niji,

I was told that the word Anishianaabe itself means "the first people" or "the original people" The Anishinaabe refer to all NDNs at Anishinaabe, even though it is the word we use to refer to ourselves. The Anishinaabe nation is also known as the Council of three fires, Ojibwe, Odawa and Potowatomi; aka Older brother, Middle brother, and Little brother respectably. The word Ojibwe, I was told, is a Cree word meaning "to ramble on or stutter incoherintly" referring to our language, which is, when spoken fluently is done so at a machine gun pace.
Derek


*grin* true but you-all add stuff to words - Anishnabe instead of Nishnabe and moccassin instead of cosztin. (one great thing is because there are like three different recognized spellings I can get away with spelling as atrociously as I wanna!)

I can understand Ojibwe when its spoken slowly and distinctly but because of the differences (the added sounds to the beginning, middle or endings of words) between the two it takes a little extra time to process out the extra parts.

Blackbear 02-03-2007 02:51 AM

Someone else I recently talked to said that a linguist broke down Iroquois and it was a combo of Algonquin Iro- can't remember the meaning and French Quois- meaning what? I always grew up hearing it meant rattlesnakes, but then so does the algonquin word Nattoway/natoway.

Anyhow Tuscarora comes from Cheraw word for salt eaters (Taskarude) is what I've been told and what i read it came from a combo of the Tuscarora word for themselves... Skarure which is argued that it means shirt wearers or people of the hemp/hemp gatherers.. which it probably means both because the shirts were made of wild hemp (dogbane) and the cheraw word for salt eaters (Taskararas).

And that's the short version... we could get into the names for the same peoples when in North Carolina.. based on where they were located.... but I won't bore anyone with all that unless they ask for it.

Wakalapi 02-04-2007 04:13 PM

Hunkapa .. that's us ... lol

I am told it most literally means "End of Horns" (as in the late Benny End of Horns). The inference of being at the camp's entrance is due to the camp's shape as a semi-circle like a buffalo's head and horns. The opening to the camp is between the "horns".

Quote:

However, others have said that there was a time when hunters of this band consulted a spiritual person, called a winkte, for advise on finding game. The winkte advised the hunters to place their bows on a hilltop while he prayed. However, during this time an enemy war party appeared, and killed many of the hunters, because they were ‘without bows’.
Umm ... the wic'asa wakan they consulted could indeed have been a winkte, but that's not what it means. A winkte is a homosexual, but is thought by some to have mysterious knowledge so they go to him for advice. A spiritual person is a wic'asa wakan. That is what I was told.

WhoMe 02-07-2007 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Historian (Post 858723)
..."others have said that there was a time when hunters of this band consulted a spiritual person, called a winkte, for advise on finding game. The winkte advised the hunters to place their bows on a hilltop while he prayed. However, during this time an enemy war party appeared, and killed many of the hunters, because they were ‘without bows’.""....



I betcha' that was the last time they consulted that Winkte

....ennit Wakalapi?

Tom Iron Eagle 02-07-2007 12:03 PM

Seminole
 
"Seminole" is a derivative of the Mvskoke (Creek) word “simano-li” which can also be seen as an adaptation of the Spanish "cimarrón" which means "wild" or "runaway".

It refers to the people that broke away from the Creeks in the late 16th and later 17th Centuries.


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