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Thread: Tutelo Pledge of Allegiance

  1. #1

    Tutelo Pledge of Allegiance

    Here is how I have reconstructed the "Tutelo pledge of allegiance", only two words: Kenpaski miwaki, "I serve the sovereign."

    The clues for this come from both Fontaine (1716) and Hewitt (1888). Fontaine recorded the phrase as Kenepaskiniwiky, "My service to you queen".

    John Napoleon Bonaparte Hewitt was a Tuscarora linguist who studied Tutelo as well as Nottoway, and made typically cryptic notes as he attempted to render meanings and gestures often double translated from Tutelo speaking informants via Cayuga speaking intermediaries. He recorded the following:

    tan-tka wa-ki'-se wa-ki'-le-se - "the man (many) (acting by command etc.) (probably two ideas)"

    It is apparent he had some difficulty with that one, but the present state of research in Tutelo allows us to identify it as an actual grammatical phrase, Wahtaka wakise wakilese, "Man serving, running errand." -se is a suffix comparable to English progressive or imperfect, enabling us to deduce the verb Waki, wakise, "to serve, obey". The expected form of the first person would then be Miwaki, I serve. This is probably the verb Fontaine heard in 1716 and wrote as "-niwiky" at the end of "Kenepaskiniwiky".

    So what about the part before that, "Kenepaski-"? The word Hunski, king or chief is also known from colonial era treaties, and Kenpaski could easily be a form of title related to that, possibly incorporating the syllable pa-, head.

    Kenpaski miwaki is surely what the Yesan said to declare they were loyal Yesan, where "Kenpaski" can mean not just the Queen or confederate sovereign, but the embodiement of everything it means to be Yesan.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    High Point, NC
    I've heard Nottoway say that Hunski was their word for chief. Does that make sense? Could the two different language groups be sharing the same word?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Linda View Post
    I've heard Nottoway say that Hunski was their word for chief. Does that make sense? Could the two different language groups be sharing the same word?
    Yes, that is entirely possible, because neither language is known completely today (or at least, they aren't known to be known completely!) and words that are titles of rank especially do tend to migrate across language families, as various groups historically try to establish governments over their neighbours at times.

    The Nottoway titles for king or chief that we know from older writings are Etesheh or Tirehr.

    Also at various times the Tutelo/Saponi are believed to have had titles for chief recorded as: Dikahqu, and Ekowe

    When I looked for words in other Siouan languages that might be related to Hunski, I found Hochunk (Winnebago) Hohnk, and Nakota (Assiniboine) Hunga, both meaning "chief".

    In Dakota, there is a word "Hunska" meaning stockings (cf Tutelo Honis). Right now we can only guess if the history of these words is connected, and if so, how. Stockings were fashionable with men in the early 1700s, and so they may possibly have been a sign of wealth or power with Indians in the early 1700s, or maybe a coveted trade item as goods made their way west. But that's a long shot, since we have few detailed records of what was going on...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    The Great Pacific Northwest
    tan-tka wa-ki'-se wa-ki'-le-se - "the man (many) (acting by command etc.) (probably two ideas)"

    I interpreted wak as a servant, slave, or in the modern context, an employee (in some workplaces, they're all the same). Waki looks similar to the Iowa word for servant, wagixra.

    Also figured wakle as going and serving, or something like that. Using Oliverio's definitions for se as the definite article or assertive, and ta-tka as many, it looks like he was saying 'the many servants, going to serve/serving'.
    VA- Akin, Ballard, Berry, Branch, Bryan, Butler, Bunch, Cooke, Deane, Ellis, Glenn, Hancock, Herndon, Kendall, King, Lawrence, Lee, Martin, Meade, Moore, Napper, Neal, Pendleton, Powell, Ritchey, Riddle, Savage, Scott, Sheppard, Smith, Stanley, Thacker, Tyree, Yelton, Waller, Ware, Winn, and more
    NC- Bennett, Brown, Gatlin, Ivey, Morris, Pulley, Weldon, Whitehead
    KY-Cox, Hall NJ-Gould

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