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Thread: Paging Gazhekwe

  1. #1
    Ravine Guest

    Default Paging Gazhekwe

    Gazhekwe, I can't help but think that you would be the DY Member Most Likely, for answering this question.
    I seem to recall that one of the tribe names, among Native Americans, translates to "The Human Beings."
    Do you know if that is true? If so, which one?
    I must retire, for the night, but I will check back, tomorrow, and I thank you, in advance, for any elucidation you may be able to provide.

  2. #2


    Most tribe names will translate that way. Remember, the name word is translated into English words. People, or human beings are the English words used to describe all similar beings. That is really apples and oranges, because tribe names are not referring to all people, just the particular people in the tribe. Similar translations applied to Scandinavia might look like this: Scandinavia = Human Beings. Sami=Human Beings. Finland=The People, Sweden=People, and so on.

    Anishinaabe, for instance, is translated as The People but the root word is Nishin, which translates to Good. The whole word is closer to Good Beings. That shows the world view that all creatures are beings, with no special distinction for humans. Note these are "good beings," not the best or only beings.

    Diné, the name used by the Navajo for themselves, is usually translated Human Beings.

    Navajo is the Pueblo name for the people, referring to their farming.

    In the past several years, many US tribes are changing from the names others gave them to the names they used for themselves.

    Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi - Anishinaabe
    Winnebago - Ho Chunk
    Pima - Tohono O'odham

    Sorry for the essay, but there are no simple answers.

  3. #3
    MIRepublic Guest


    This really could have been done through a private message, and the question didn't even make sense (i.e. "one of the tribe names" of who?)

  4. #4


    I, for one, enjoyed your essay. Just out of curiosity, the Fox Tribe, as in the Fox Creek massacre are called Sauk. Is Sauk the true tribe name? Does Sauk mean Fox?

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by MIRepublic View Post
    This really could have been done through a private message, and the question didn't even make sense (i.e. "one of the tribe names" of who?)
    What are you, the post police?

    1) This is the connect section of the board, and a question like that between users is exactly why this section is here.

    2) The question made perfect sense. Maybe it didn't make sense to you because he wasn't asking you, hence "Paging Gazhekwe". But I'm sure your input was highly appreciated.

  6. #6


    Add my name to the list of greatful readers who love to learn new things every day. The "essay" is so very informative. Keep them coming.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Blueidone View Post
    Add my name to the list of greatful readers who love to learn new things every day. The "essay" is so very informative. Keep them coming.
    Absolutely! Me too!

  8. #8


    Thanks Gazhekwe, we all could learn a little bit more of history from you.
    All, except MIRepublic. Let him stay closed minded.

  9. #9


    Oooh, those thank you posts make me so happy. Aapje ne maamikwendaam. I love to talk about our history and culture.

    As for the Sauk, it is my impression that is the name they used because two of their towns were named Place of the Sauk. That does not mean Fox, which is Wagosh. (wa goesh'). Sauk has been interpreted as People of the Yellow Earth, but it is an extremely abbreviated form if that is correct.

    The Sac and the Fox actually started as two closely related tribes and were combined by the US for treaty purposes in 1832. Most of the Sac and Fox are now in Oklahoma, courtesy of the great removal project of the 1830s. Other spellings and names include Sauk, Sauk & Fox, and tribe self name of the Fox people, Mesquakie, Asakiwaki. The last two are versions of Red Earth People, the name used by the Fox. Fox was a clan name within the tribe. Yellow Earth People shoud also end with Aki, or some version of it, Ozaawakiwaki, or something like that. You can see how that could be shortened to Sauk (zaawakiwaki could sound like Saukiwaki)

    They came from the St. Lawrence River area to the Saginaw Bay. Saginaw is derived from Saukinong, Place of the Sauk. As such, their history coincides with the People of the Three Fires, who migrated westard from the eastern seaboard down the St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes. Their dialect of Algonquin is mutually intelligible with Anishinaabemowin. From the Saginaw Bay they went to Green Bay, WI, and from there were removed to Oklahoma.

    I can't remember what the big fight was here on Lake St. Clair, but it had something to do with the Ojibwe (protectors) thinking the Sauk were threatening them and the Potawatomi. It is also not clear to me why the Sauk, who had the same origin and migration history as the People of the Three Fires, were not part of that confederation.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; August-13-09 at 04:49 PM.

  10. #10


    Thanks for using your knowledge here Gazhekwe.

  11. #11


    Thank you and others for wanting to know about our history and culture. It makes me happy to share the information.

    By the way, as long as we have opened a bit of language discussion, Gazhekwe (Ga' zhek way) means Cat Woman.

  12. #12


    My husband's maternal great grandmother is thought to have been from the Caughnawaga Tribe. We have one picture of her but no background whatsoever. Anyone that knew anything about her is long gone. And the relatives that are still here have faulty memories. One cousin, I don't know if I can believe him or not, says she had settled around Ojibway Parkway in Windsor. Don't know whether to believe him or not...He claims he has traced the other side of his family back to Mary Queen of Scots. Might be possible? Might not!

    Wish I knew how to go about digging up the information on her?

  13. #13


    I am not sure how this works in Canada, but they do keep tribal records. If you know her maiden name and father's name you can ask whether they are in the Caughnawaga rolls. Other sources are Caughnawaga church and cemetery records. Let me see ifI can find some links....

  14. #14


    OK here is the tribal site, spelled Kahnawake. This is the current tribally correct spelling.

    Check the community link for history . You will see a strong Jesuit influence, and our only Indian Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha. If your grandmother was Catholic, that would be the church to check, and the cemetery.

    This is for Membership, and someone here may also be able to direct you to the church and cemetery that will have relevant records:

    Good luck! This will be a fun project.

  15. #15


    Gaz! Thank you for those links. They are in my bookmarks. I will do some research on there and see what I come up with. Just never knew how to get started.

  16. #16
    Ravine Guest


    Well, now! I am somewhat confused, and not sure if I clearly understand all of Gazhekwe's initial statement, but I am delighted that I asked the question, because it caused Gazhekwe to graciously indulge us with some information which I and, apparently, a few others find to be rather interesting.

    I very much appreciate Gazhekwe's response, and her willingness to provide some additional commentary. Thank you, Gazhekwe.
    See, when I was young, I heard that one of what was then referred to as "Indian tribe names" meant "The Human Beings." I thought it was Apache or Navajo. Gazhekwe's answer suggests that, while what I heard may have been a bit over-simplified, it was Navajo to which the "translation" was attached.

    Of course, growing up in the 60's, a whole lot of what we read, were told, or were taught about Native Americans was terribly over-simplified, to say the least; worse, much of it was, undoubtedly, irredeemably ignorant and grotesquely misleading.

    *Ahem* Who are the "savages" now, pray tell?

    Ach, aye; I am so glad that I asked the question, as I have learned-- I mean, I think I have learned-- not only the answer to my original question, but a good bit more, as well.

    And, speaking of ignorance, I have learned one thing for certain: It is readily, and redolently, apparent that "MIRepublic" translates as "nosy, incognitive, needlessly interfering gasbag."
    I'll count that morsel of info as one of that which the late columnist & essayist, Sydney Harris, used to call, "Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things."
    Last edited by Ravine; August-13-09 at 09:12 PM.

  17. #17


    Well said Ravine. The "gasbag" part was particularly funny. Thanx Gazhewke, I love hearing that stuff.

  18. #18
    Ravine Guest


    Thanks, Gnome.
    I wish Gazhekwe would log back onto this thread and start just rambling on about whatever remarks might come to her mind while doing said rambling.
    It could trigger a one-thing-leads-to-another chain of fascinating tidbits.
    Probably, many of us could learn more about actual Native American history, right here and from her, than we picked up in K-12.
    In fact, that may have already happened.

  19. #19


    You're welcome, Ravine, and thank you for starting this thread and giving us all the opportunity to have a little fun.

    I didn't want to confuse you, and I think you have interpreted the idea right. Most tribe names will translate into English as something like "the People" or "Human Beings." Specifically translating from the Indian language using the root word derivation may yield a more complex meaning. I tried to show that with Anishinaabe, in which the root word is "good" and the "aabe" is a form of "to be".

    Diné is usually translated Human Beings, and is one of the major tribes of the US. They are of Athabaskan origin which is interesting, since they and the Apaches are the only ones south of northern Canada.

    The Apaches, being of the same language group, have a similar name for themselves, Tindé, translating to First People. Apache means fighter, and comes from the Zuni and Yuma.

    I hope this helps. Please be sure and ask if you have any more questions. I would be happy to go on and on, but you need to prime the pump.

  20. #20


    FWIW, "Anasazi" maps to Ancient Pueblo Peoples.

    I have an English to Navajo dictionary handy here in case it helps.

  21. #21
    Ravine Guest


    "Most tribe names will translate into English as something like "the People" or "Human Beings." Specifically translating from the Indian language using the root word derivation may yield a more complex meaning. I tried to show that with Anishinaabe, in which the root word is "good" and the "aabe" is a form of "to be"."

    That statement resolves a good bit of my confusion over your original answer. It's what you said, the first time, but something about your re-phrasing clarified it, in some way.

    Is there any particular tribe specifically noted for their markedly "humane" qualities? I mean, a tribe which was known for being especially compassionate, gentle-hearted, and forgiving?
    (Given the way Native Americans were shafted, on this continent, that would be quite a remarkable tribe, indeed.)

  22. #22


    You know, The People are people just like everybody else. Different circumstances could produce different results from the same group. That being said, history shows time and again that some groups are more warlike than others.

    As an example, the Three Fires confederacy that I mentioned before was divided into three groups, the Ojibwe, Older Brother, the Odawa, Middle Brother, and Potawatomi, Younger Brother.

    The Ojibwe are the "keepers of the faith," the Odawa are the "keepers of trade," and the Potawatomi are the designated "keepers of the fire".

    They had different roles as well, the Ojibwe were the protectors, also the hunters and fishers, the Odawa were the traders and the Potawatomi the farmers. Although each tribe could fulfill any of the roles to some extent, when there was a fight, it was more likely to involve the Older Brothers. The Potawatomi, with their farms, were more sedentary and peaceful, and the Odawa, with their wide-ranging travel and trade, were the most diplomatic.

  23. #23
    Ravine Guest


    I will be logging off, after this post, but I can tell you right now that the more you let me/us poke you into sharing, the more fascinating & informative this thread will become.

    And you probably figured that nobody would much want to hear about this stuff.

  24. #24


    Semihole, that's a half-ass indian. Ok I'll stop.

  25. #25


    The positive reaction is definitely a lovely surprise. Miigwech, everybody. Good night.

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