Tuesday, January 1, 2013


"FISH LAND" is western Minnesota, the land of 1,000 lakes.  The pictograph shows two lakes touching.  That geographical feature was 600 miles to the east, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron touch.

Latitude devices would have enabled the explorers to determine the latitude correlation.  This pictograph is an indication that the Lenape traveled long distances.  They apparently knew where they were and where they were going.  

The composer was telling us that he was standing, on the Red River at the latitude of the place where the two Great Lakes touched.  That same latitude crossed the Traverse gap between the Red River and the Minnesota River.

Usually the Lenape named animals by the sound they made.  But some animals, like the beaver and the buffalo, did not make useable sounds, so they were named for other features or behavior:

      The beaver had big teeth. 
      One of the names for beaver means "teeth."  

       When buffalo graze, they scatter themselves
        across the grassland.  
        The Lenape name for buffalo became "Sissel," 
         which means "scattered."

The town of Sissiton, SD is still near the spot were the composer created this stanza.  There could be some importance to the stanza.  This location may have been the location that marks the beginning of the migration out of Minnesota.  

The chronic cold appears to have caused the northern tribes to move south.  The population overload in southern Minnesota may have reduced the buffalo and other animal resources.  The tribes in the wood lands around the forests might have been struggling for their own survival.  Thus, they may become less friendly.  

There were conflicts happening along the Missouri and the Mississippi.  The Crow Creek massacre along the Missouri in central South Dakota had occurred and Cahokia, east of St. Louis in Illinois was about to be depopulated.    

So migrating west to the lake country north of the headwaters of the modern Big Sioux* river  might have avoided the conflict along the Missouri-Mississippi Rivers.  That migration might have made sense to Lenape, the people who wanted to "abide with the pure."

FYI:  Old Norse = Vikings = Lenape languages
         Minnesota = minimum sweetness
         Michigan = middle sea basin
         Traverse = to travel across
          Sissiton  = Buffalo town

* The Sioux were located originally on the Ohio.  There land was "blown apart" by an invading enemy, perhaps the Iroquois.  Some of the remnants of the Sioux migrated west.  Then they migrated up the Missouri.  They became a powerful tribe.  They displaced the Lenape along the Sioux Rivers.

The Sioux could not understand why the Lenape, who spoke a dialect similar to Sioux, always fought on the side the Ojibwa and the Christinaux.

No comments:

Post a Comment