Mahican love poem
Ahtshek kpahpenawussè k'hackai
Neek nonaaptonawáganàn, kakhne onáyo
Psùck gattatáyi káshksò
Né askuakhuck "Ktakhwáhnan" ksè
What is you doubled(mirrored) see reflexive thy body/self
Those my good words, very good
But be quick disappears
That last "thee love I" say I.
Keyuh nakaishkuh nebiik
Nun ndauptonauwauconnun moci waunehk
Psooq katac eenhuh pootommehteet
Neyuh uthquaukhuk ktuhwhunin honmeweh.
Your face in the water
Are my words very good
But hurry or escapes
My last "I love thee" forever.
→ French poem ←
Mahican squaw & language
For me it's really fantastic to see my short love verses translated into mahican. Perhaps, a day, my poem could be useful, when we will able to get back to the past.
This Indian (never call her squaw) that my ancestors have meet in New England was so fantastic that 600 years later, she is always in our minds.
Mahican is an eastern Algonquian language from northern Hudson River Valley, southern Lake Champlain to Greene County, and Massachusetts (Housatonic Valley).
This language, which is that of the Mahican tribes, (called Mahicans in 1500-1600 and living in New England and Long Island) should not be confused with that of the Mohegans. It is an imprecision in French ethnological studies of the Algonquian ethnonyms, confusing this tribe with that of the Mohegans of Connecticut, which transformed their name Mahican into Mohican.
In fact Mahican and Mohegan are two different tribes speaking languages, certainly both Algonquian, but different. Surely they both descend from the same Algonquian ancestors, but time and distinct histories have made them two separate peoples.
The Mahicans lived in present-day New York, southern Vermont, western Massachusetts, and northwest Connecticut. The Mohegans, who are Pequots, lived in Connecticut.
The word Mahican comes from the name they gave themselves (Muhhekunneuw, Muh-he-con-ne-ok), which means "those of the waters who are never still".
The language is considered to have died out around 1930, date on which data was collected from the last speakers.
When they meet for the firt the Europeans, Schodac, was the place where one found the greatest number of wigwams and thus of families of Mahicans.
Usually they settled on hilltops, and surrounded their village with palisades. Their matrilineal society could bring together under their wigwams a large number of people.
They were not only hunters (deer, turkey, bear), gatherers (berries), and fishermen, they also practiced a bit of slash-and-burn cultivation of squash, corn and beans (a task usually devolved on women), and were good artisans to make furs, pottery and canoes.
Often at war with their Iroquois neighbors the Mohawks, they excelled in the handling of bows and spears. The shaman and the rituals to invoke the spirits and the great Manitou, were in the center of their culture.
As with many other Native American tribes, their encounter with the whites decimated them with disease, alcohol and firearms which did more and more damage in conflicts.