I found Minnehaha!

OK, I did not actually find her.  You might recall she was mentioned in the previous post on eshon, and so far as I know she is still missing, some 140 or so years after her disappearance.

No, what I found was the other reference to Minnehaha, although it wasn’t in Harrington’s notes like I thought, but in Jacobs’ notes with Jim Buchanan.  Jim said Minnehaha was originally from the upper Empire village of ntiise’ich (also the home village of Annie Miner Peterson’s mother Motolt later known as Matilda).  Her husband Joe (nicknamed wenq’, weaver) was also from ntiise’ich.  “She got lost after an elk hunt led by Jim Tyee, on the return form the jungle.  She was never found, and they thought she might have become eshon.”  (Jacobs notebook 93:13)

He also said she was called k’etle’es (which in Hanis literally means without-language) because she was ‘rather inarticulate’.  There was another Native known by this name, although in his case he had been born deaf and so never spoke.  Why Minnehaha came to be inarticulate, Jim did not say.

Sadly he did not say why she was known as Minnehaha either.  I still suspect a ‘joke’ from an Indian agent or soldier.   It wouldn’t be they only time they played such ‘jokes’ on Indians largely unfamiliar with English.  Lottie said that when the Coos Indians were gathered up at kiwe’et (a point just below Empire) prior to removal to Fort Umpqua, the people were given new names by the whites.  She said “One was dubbed by White soldiers who got out of names: Kiss-my-arse! And the Ind man thot this was his real name, till later Whites disillusioned him.” (Harrington reel 24:273b)

In comparison, Minnehaha got off lucky in her naming.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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2 Responses to I found Minnehaha!

  1. Pingback: Amanda and Bensell’s diary | Shichils's Blog

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