Language & Culture Committee

 

The Language & Culture Committee meets on the first Thursday of each month at 5pm at the Mohican Family Center.

Watch for postings for the June Strawberry Feast.

A Little History and Learn Some New Words

Koolamalsi (Are you well?) a greeting.

This committee has chosen to use consensus in our meetings and rather than have elections agreed on traditional forms of committee leadership. Each position has responsibilities. The by-laws will be reviewed and recommended changes will be forwarded to tribal council.

We have worked on a grant with Bowler Schools to begin a language program. If funded we will be teaching at Bowlers Afterschool program, meeting with the culture club, holding two nights per week community language tables and doing a Professional Development with teachers. This should begin as early as February 2010. The language we will be teaching at this time is the Minsi dialect of the Delaware (Lunaape) Language. We will be calling it the Munsee language project. (All Delaware (Lunaape) means literally is "the people" so we could call ours Munsee-Mohican). This will be up for discussion. Please watch for announcements. This is an exciting change that we have worked for…..for a very long time.

We will also be hosting at least 5 feasts throughout the year. The first one "W'Chindin or New Year Feast will be Friday, January 15 (New Moon) at 5 PM at the Elderly center. Bring your dish bags and if able a dish to share.

Watch for updates on this website from time to time.

For the Messenger…..

Misty

Submitted by Molly.

Respectfully submitted, to the people by the Language & Culture Committee:

I’m writing this article because I have been asked to, by the Language & Culture Committee, and also by a number of different people around the community when they saw me.

To begin here I’d just like to state that the survey that Language & Culture Committee sent out was answered, that the people would like to learn the Mohican Language. And so accordingly the Language & Culture Committee is going to respond to the people, and start to print in our paper our own Native Mohican tongue.

The only one person that the Language & Culture Committee has consulted with as far as linguistics is Lion Miles. I personally have a lot of respect for the man. He reminds me of a modern day Jonathan Edwards. Jonathan Edwards was a man who lived among our people way back in 1788 when he was six years of age. He took it upon himself to learn our language as it was spoken back then. There are two versions of our language, the Moravian version, and the Stockbridge version.

I talked to our relatives in the Moravian version, and I was told that I was going the wrong way, that I must follow teachings of the Stockbridge version of our language. That was over six years ago, when a medicine man that I know told a bunch of us Indians that we all must learn our own native tongue, and learn to speak it. Since then, I have been studying, looking for, and learning, our own Muh he Kaneew (singular) or Muh he Kaneok (plural) language in the purest form that I could find. The book observations on the Mohican language by Jonathan Edwards is the true source of our own native Muh he can tongue.

When our people first came to this part of the woods, the earliest of our ancestors and the Menominee’s could understand each other, the one’s who could still speak their own language. I myself can hear the similarities in the ceremonies I attend with the Menominee speakers. This is probably going to wind up being a story that I tell.

Someplace along the way I will put in the symbols describing how to pronounce our language. To me this seems fitting as you learn your own language you find out where you come from. Everything that we are, is in our own Muh he Kaneew language, and so we learn it, I believe our ceremonies that were once ours will come back to us.

I was told that all of the tribes have their own ways, someplace within the tribe. All we have to do is to start talking our own language, and one time maybe one of our little ones will have four dreams in a row. When that happens, we can go to the interpreter, and ask him what those dreams mean.

Our name Stockbridge in our own native tongue is wnuk quay took oke. I’m saying the word not as it is spelled in English, but as the way you would say it in your own tongue. It means, "bend in the river" at one time, that’s where our people lived, and that’s where Edwards was able to write down bits and pieces of our language.

There are a number of tribal departments that have that little green book American language reprints Volume 25 Mahican. If you have a chance, read this book!

I’m going to close this article for now, but I’m going to leave you with some words to ponder. I, myself use our Muh he kaneew language everyday, when I pray either in the Sweat lodge (except for English names) or at Sundance. I learned how to pray in our language before I learned anything else.

There are no L’s in the language; as a matter of fact there aren’t even any adjectives. Also any time gh appears together it comes out like the loch in loch ness monster. Nmoghhome – my grandfather. Anytime you hear a Nih in the language, it means its yours. Anytime you hear a kih, it means its his.

Everything belongs to either you, or someone in the language – nothing stands out by itself – like kogh it would be (koke), his father or nogh (noke) my father or nogh –nuh (noke nuh) our father – everything belongs to someone or something.

  • My grandmother is Noh hum

  • My grandchild – naughees (knockees)

  • My younger sister – naugheesum (knockeesum)

  • My younger brother – naugheesum (knockeesum)

  • My older brother – Netohcon

  • My older sister – nmees

  • My uncle – nsees

  • Nsase – is uncle on mother’s side

  • Nuchehque – is uncle on father’s side

I will print more words and how to say them in the next paper as well as this website, either I will or, Shawn Stevens, we can understand each other in our tongue, though we say words a little differently.

Links for more Lenape Mohican Language:

"Walk" In Mohican

Native Web Works