Baltiasa: of the Sea

So there is a word – Baltiasa – that appears in only4 places.  And to make things nice and confusing?  It has a different meaning each time.

It appears once in Frachtenberg’s texts, in a tale Jim Buchanan told about a strange and dangerous people who were driven from Coos Bay long ago.  This story is similar to other stories about the Sakandas people (see here for Sakandas stories).  To Melville Jacobs he gives Baltiasa as a place name somewhere downriver of Glasgow.  Frank Drew told JP Harrington it was a name for Cape Arago.

In St Clair’s notes, he jotted down the word and wrote “sea people (?)”.

So, an interesting mess.  It certainly does have the same root as the Hanis words for ocean (baldiimis) and west (baldich), and the Milluk phrase Baldiiyak’a – beach/shore people.

My best guess is that Baltiasa can be used as a descriptor for a land or people associated with the ocean or shore; hence it’s use as a term for Cape Arago, the Sakandas with strange abilities including floating rocks on water, and “sea people”.

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About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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