Indian Place Names Poem Analysis Essays

  • Conversations with a Dead Man: The Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott
  • Mark Abley
  • Douglas & McIntyre (2013)

[Editor's note: Author Mark Abley has long been haunted by the contradictory figure of Duncan Campbell Scott, known both as the architect of Canada's most destructive Aboriginal policies and as one of the nation's major poets. In a new biography, Abley holds the longtime deputy minister of Indian Affairs to account for Canada's deplorable abuses of indigenous children, while also acknowledging the chilling attitudes that initiated the residential school program he supervised. With permission from Douglas & McIntyre, we reprint an excerpt of this frank dramatization of early 20th century colonialism.]

The traditional ways were dying: Duncan Campbell Scott believed this.

Nearly everyone believed it. The past was nomadic; the future was agricultural and industrial; he trusted it would also be imperial. The poet in him had started off as something of a cultural nationalist, keen to evoke Canadian landscapes, proud to write on Canadian themes. Yet the poet in Scott was at the mercy of his political convictions, his public faith. As an old man in 1939, he fulfilled a commission to celebrate a royal tour by delivering a servile ode in which he promised the people of this country would "do our part in high and pure endeavour / To build a peaceful Empire round the throne." The CBC broadcast the poem from its Halifax studios as the king and queen were sailing out of Halifax harbour back to an England on the brink of war. Three months before Scott died, he semi-facetiously wrote to a friend, "Why don't you order a poem on some special subject, say the marriage of Princess Elizabeth, if the CBC would pay me for it!" Against what he had called, in his ode, the "ageless, deep devotion" of Canadians to the Crown, he found it only natural to believe that Aboriginal cultures, languages and ways of life were doomed.

The surprise, or paradox, or twist of the knife is that while doing his utmost to enforce government control over indigenous people, Scott made them the subject of his most vibrant writing. Of the 11 pages Margaret Atwood found for him in the New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse, eight are devoted to poems about Indians. These items form a small minority of his total output; they also show his talents at their best. When John Masefield spoke at a memorial service held for Scott in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, the British poet laureate declared that Scott had been deeply impressed by many of the Indians he had met: "Admiration is a great help to understanding. In his poems and stories about them we are brought, perhaps for the very first time, to a living knowledge of what they are."

A colder view is possible. Perhaps Scott was simply using Indians for his own literary gain. In her book The Laughing One: A Journey to Emily Carr, Susan Crean condemned him as a "thin-blooded bureaucrat" who "rather perversely...wrote lyric poetry that idolized the very vanishing race whose affairs he was governing." His job gave him access to rare material, thanks to which he could make Aboriginal stories and customs appear picturesque. Yet this is not the whole story. In the early 20th century how many other writers, anywhere in the English-speaking world, would have written an ode in praise of indigenous names?

They flow like water, or like wind they flow,
Waymoucheeching, loon-haunted Manowan,
Far Mistassini by her frozen wells,
Gold-hued Wayagamac brimming her wooded dells:
Lone Kamouraska, Metapedia,
And Metlakahtla ring a round of bells.

The bells of Metlakahtla, though, were tolling an Anglican tune: this isolated Tsimshian settlement on the Pacific coast lay under the rigid control of its founder, an evangelical missionary named William Duncan who called traditional First Nations beliefs "demoniacal."

The general assumption was that the people from whose mouths such evocative names had sprung did not have long to live. "Indian Place-Names" begins in a very different spirit from the lines quoted above: "The race has waned and left but tales of ghosts..." The names, and perhaps the tales, are all that will survive. One of Scott's most accomplished sonnets, "The Onondaga Madonna," describes "This woman of a weird and waning race"; her infant child, presumably the son of a white man, is "The latest promise of her nation's doom." He wrote the poem in 1898, a year in which his department's report from the Six Nations reserve in southern Ontario, where Canada's Onondaga lived, noted that "The general health has been unusually good during the year" and "The Indians are constantly improving their homes by better ventilation." Scott the civil servant had to worry about ventilation and epidemics; Scott the poet preferred to contemplate doom.

"The Onondaga Madonna" tackles assimilation as a subject. It is tougher and more complex than the bulk of his work, which features regular appearances by mists, flowers, exclamation marks, and beauty with a capital B. The sonnet's bleakness recurs in other poems that touch on what Scott saw as the degraded condition and miserable fate of Aboriginal people. In his late poem "A Scene at Lake Manitou," for instance, an Ojibwa woman sits below some cedars and watches her adolescent son die. Against the illness that had also killed his father, the white men's medicine and religion are of no help. Desperate, the woman reverts to her old beliefs and tries to win the help of the lake's spirit by throwing her most treasured possessions into the water: a gramophone, a little sewing machine, her blankets.... The boy dies anyway. Bereaved and alone, yet still defiant, the woman stares at a line of distant, burned-out trees. The image comes to symbolize her people's destiny:

Standing ruins of blackened spires
Charred by the fury of fires
That had passed that way,
That were smouldering and dying out in the West
At the end of the day.

The image recalls a sentence in a biography Scott had written many years earlier of John Graves Simcoe, the first governor of Upper Canada: "The Indian nature now seems like a fire that is waning, that is smouldering and dying away in ashes." More distantly, it echoes some heartbroken lines that commemorate his daughter's death:

The dew falls and the stars fall,
The sun falls in the west,
But never more
Through the closed door,
Shall the one that I loved best
Return to me...

Elizabeth had brought "the beauty of sunrise" into the poet's life. Now the sun had gone. Writing to his friend Pelham Edgar a few weeks after her death, Scott said: "In no merely rhetorical way I say it seems impossible for us to go on." But he went on. Indeed, he lived another 40 years in the rambling house on Lisgar Street, where the music room would always contain, along with the grand piano and the painted landscapes, a few of his daughter's favourite toys.

The Deputy Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs would not have put it quite this way in his terse memos to the minister, but his imaginative writings suggest what he believed his day job entailed: managing the final years of a doomed people. They were smouldering. They were dying out. They were falling in the west.

A national crime

Today some people continue to look on indigenous cultures as an obstacle to progress. Interviewed on CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition, Frances Widdowson, co-author of the 2008 book Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry, informed Michael Enright that even if the now-geriatric Indian Act were scrapped or transformed, a crucial difficulty would remain: "The core problem is that you have a people that still retains a lot of features from the hunting and gathering period."

In that book, Widdowson and Albert Howard claim that Aboriginal people suffer from "undisciplined work habits, tribal forms of political identification, animistic beliefs, and difficulties in developing abstract reasoning." By hanging on to tradition, they have "not developed the skills, knowledge, or values to survive in the modern world." Their languages are utterly inadequate for modern society, and any efforts to maintain these languages do "a disservice to native people." Widdowson and Howard are dismissive of attempts to integrate traditional beliefs into the school curriculum; in their minds, such work amounts to "honouring the ignorance of our ancestors."

This last phrase -- one of the chapter titles -- is particularly offensive to many Aboriginal people. (It's also a sarcastic echo of Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors, a book by the indigenous scholar Gerald Taiaiake Alfred.) Widdowson and Howard contend that Aboriginal people today are preyed upon by lawyers, professors and consultants who gain financial benefit from their plight; this is the "aboriginal industry" they set out to disrobe. Yet as far as the authors are concerned, much of the lamentable state of affairs seems due to the inability of the Indian to thoroughly comprehend and adequately put into effect the primary laws of civilization.

The book struck a chord. Despite the shoddiness of many of its arguments -- what the authors say about languages, for example, is absurd -- the book was widely praised in the national media (a Globe and Mail columnist called it "impressive," a National Post reviewer "valuable" and "powerful"). Such commentators were happy to overlook the hard-line Marxism that underlies Widdowson's and Howard's analysis, a Marxism that allows the authors to praise the residential schools. "Leaving aside the tragedy of incidental sexual abuse," they write, "what would have been the result if aboriginal people were not taught to read and write, to adopt a wider human consciousness, or to develop some degree of contemporary human knowledge and disciplines? Hunting and gathering economies are unviable in an era of industrialization, and so were it not for the educational and socialization efforts provided by the residential schools, aboriginal peoples would be even more marginalized and dysfunctional than they are today."

One of the many distasteful things about this passage is that its abstract rhetoric bears no relationship to the lived experience of human beings. As the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples stated in its final report, "Children were frequently beaten severely with whips, rods and fists, chained and shackled, bound hand and foot, and locked in closets, basements and bathrooms." What boys and girls endured in the residential schools was not just a socialization effort. It was indoctrination, enforced by what plenty of observers at the time recognized as physical and mental abuse. To take but one example, Bill Graham, an inspector of residential schools in southern Saskatchewan, informed headquarters in 1907 about abuses at Crowstand, a Presbyterian school near the town of Kamsack. Graham noted that when retrieving some runaway boys, the principal of Crowstand had tied the children to ropes and forced them to run eight miles back to school behind a buggy. The department urged the Presbyterian church to dismiss the principal, but the church declined; there was no room in the wagon, it said, and the horses were not trotting fast.

In 1921, when Scott was in control of Indian Affairs, he reacted with anger after a nurse at Crowfoot School in Alberta sent a disturbing report to his department. A complaint about poor food had led her to enter the school's dining room unexpectedly. There she found four boys and five girls chained to the benches. One of the girls had been badly scarred by the strap. Scott wrote to the school's principal, an Oblate priest: "Treatment that might be considered pitiless or jail-like in character will not be permitted. The Indian children are wards of this Department and we exercise our right to ensure proper treatment whether they are resident in our schools or not."

But the department almost never did exercise its right. John S. Milloy's superb book "A National Crime": The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 gives many examples of other reports that landed on the desks of Indian Affairs but were never acted upon. Scott could compose a chilly letter to Father Riou at Crowfoot School, but he had no power to fire an offending principal; that would be up to the church, and the church, whether Protestant or Catholic, generally refused to act. Time and again, teachers, nurses or Indian agents would inform the department of hunger, violence, overcrowding, sodomy, disease, brutality, escapes, drastic incompetence, deaths; and the department would make a recommendation, offer a suggestion or file the matter away for possible action at some point in the future. It often declined to do even that much, choosing to reply that the complaints were excessive, the charges unproven or the complainants unreliable.

The government could, and did, point an occasional finger at the churches, whose ability to manage the schools was so patently dismal. But the churches could, and did, point an occasional finger back at the government, which never gave them enough money to operate the schools in a humane or efficient way. For many years the per capita amount that Ottawa granted the churches for Indian education was about half what it provided for orphanages and homes for white children. The finger-pointing was mild and genteel. The treatment of Aboriginal children was anything but.

Scott did his best to hide this news from the public. Troubled by a complaint about the physical abuse of children in the Mohawk Institute near Brantford in 1913, he composed a memo to his minister, W.J. Roche, admitting and deploring the use of corporal punishment: "The rules governing the disciplinary action in the case of misdemeanours by pupils, are I think antiquated...I do not believe in striking Indian children from any consideration whatever." But when he wrote to the lawyers acting on behalf of the complainants, he sounded a different note: "No necessity exists for the investigation which is asked for by the Indians mentioned. That it is a popular Institute is shown by the fact that the waiting list contains the names of 80 children whose parents are anxious for them to attend." In fact the Mohawk Institute was known by many of its inmates as "the mush hole."

Ten years later, answering a question from a parliamentary reporter, Scott made the outlandish claim that "99 per cent of the Indian children at these schools are too fat." (The reporter knew of a letter that a boy in the Saskatchewan school of Onion Lake had sent to his parents; the boy had complained about cruel treatment and lack of food, mentioning that seven children had tried to run away because of extreme hunger.)

Despite the official lies, at least part of the truth was available to anyone determined to look for it. In 1907 Samuel Blake, a reform-minded lawyer for the Anglican church, had told the minister of Indian Affairs that "the appalling number of deaths among the younger children... brings the Department within unpleasant nearness to the charge of manslaughter." The minister was unperturbed. The department's annual report for that year made no mention of Blake's charge, although Frank Pedley did lament "the retarding and retrogressive influences of the home upon the pupils" and the "hostility [that] results from superstition." Families, once again, were proving to be a bad influence. Failure, once again, was the Indians' fault.

Blake did not give up. He wrote to the Attorney General's office in Edmonton, seeking details about "the Indian question" in Alberta. In March 1908 a reply came from A.Y. Blain, the inspector of legal offices for the province. Blain, who had only recently moved to Alberta from Ontario, told Blake that he had now met all the members of the legislature "and made a point to get what information I could in regard to the Indian from such of the Members as had reserves in or near their districts." He had consulted other Albertans too. The results were discouraging. "I might say," Blain wrote, "that most of those with whom I have spoken are not, I would gather, very much in sympathy with the Indian, nor with the efforts to better his condition. They look upon him as a sort of pest which should be exterminated."

From the book Conversations with a Dead Man: The Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott, © 2013, by Mark Abley. Published in 2013 by Douglas & McIntyre. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

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Originally published in the Historic Nantucket, Vol 46, No. 4 (Fall 1997) p. 9-16

Nantucket Indian Place Names
By Elizabeth A. Little

Introduction

IVES GODDARD (1977:157) HAS WRITTEN THAT "careful documentation of the earliest spellings of the names [is] an indispensable prerequisite to place name analysis." In the list of Nantucket Indian place names presented here, I have corrected a number of mistakes, misspellings, and typographical errors found in previously published transcriptions of the original manuscripts. In addition, I have documented chronological variations of place names, some of which can be related to linguistic, cultural, or geographic phenomena.

Nantucket Indian place names, recorded from 1659 on, are found in bound manuscript volumes of town and county records at the Nantucket Town Building in the handwriting of the various registrars. Not only are the ancient documents faded, blotched, and worn, but the handwriting is archaic, and the sounds being recorded were not the same sounds that were found in the English of the time (Trumbull 1974:vi). Nor were the sounds of English in the seventeenth century the same as those spoken today. It is quite likely that the original recording process itself introduced copying errors, such as repetition, omission, and misspelling.

As far as I know, there are no living speakers of the language called Massachusett who are familiar with our places and could translate Nantucket place names. Using TrumbuH's Natick Dictionary (1903), Roger Williams's Key into the Language of America (1936), and Josiah Cotton's Vocabulary of the Massachusetts (or Natick) Indian Language (1830), one can try to match Massachusett words with place names. Although this activity has been called "Sunday-supplement linguistics" (Goddard 1977: 157), it does generate alternative hypotheses. For the definitive modern work on the Massachusett language, see Goddard and Bragdon (1988).


Methodology

Deeds, probate records, court records, and proprietors records have been searched for Indian place names and variations. The bilingual Englishmen — Peter Folger, his son Eleazer and grandson Eleazer; Thomas Mayhew, Jr., his son Matthew and grandson Experience; and William Worth, who recorded early deeds and court records for Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard islands — translated documents written in Massachusett and sometimes gave place-name meanings in English. In addition to names from those sources, which are recorded in Table 1, I include the place-name meanings given by Zaccheus Macy (1792), because he was born on Nantucket in 1713 and could be expected to have had some knowledge of the Indian place names.

Worth (1910) and Ewer (1869) have ten place names which I have not documented (Bogue, Canopache, Cotackta, Herrecater Swamp, Nashawomank, Peedee, Pochick, Pocoy, Quanata, and Tawnatpeinse), and I have seventeen names that Worth did not include. Altogether we have eighty-six Indian place names. I have omitted English place names, such as Long Pond; names that include Indian or pidgin-English words, such as Sachem Spring and Wigwam Ponds; and the personal place names: Abrams Point, Pimneys Point, Tom Nevers Head, Gibbs Pond, Hummock Pond, Nanahuma's Neck, Pattaconet's Island, Myoakeses Pond, Spotso Country, Tashme's Island, and Towpausher's Swamp.

Analysis

Although showing their three hundred years, the early documents at the Registry of Deeds are legible and constitute a treasure chest of data on place names and geography. Eighty-six recorded Indian place names on an island of one hundred and thirty square kilometers is a density of 0.7 names per square kilometer. By comparison, the whole of Connecticut has a density of 0.04 recorded Indian place names per square kilometer (Trumbull 1974). The presence of more English recorders and/or more Indians on the coast than inland could account for the higher density of recorded Indian place names on the coast than inland.

Linguistic Variations

Early observers such as Roger Williams in 1643 (1936) and William Wood in 1635 (1865), noted that certain geographically distributed dialects used r, y, I, or «, preferentially for the same Proto-Algonquian sound. In some regions of southern New England, the distribution of these sounds has been confirmed, with evidence of mixing and of change with time (Goddard 1977, 1978, 1981). From place names, Nantucket's dialect of Massachusett is an n dialect, with no / and only four examples of r, some of which may have been English introductions, as in the change from Tuckanuck to Tuckernuck.

For locative endings of place names (at the place of), Bragdon (1981:22) has pointed out that -ui, -it, or -et were more common on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket than the form -uk or -ik. The Nantucket place names listed here show a 3:1 ratio of t to k endings. The t endings supersede the k endings (see Goddard 1981:64), with the exception of Tuckernuck.

Changes

Since 1659, an obvious change in Nantucket Indian place names has been in length. Some names lost their final consonants early. An example is Coweightuet to Cowatu, by 1663. Also, dropping of prefixes and suffixes, primarily by the English, appears to have been routine; for example, Wonnashquoom in 1668 became Squam by 1691. Indeed, the process continues. Today, Sesachacha and Siasconset, are written forms only. One says, Sacacha and Sconset. These changes not only save effort but help to distinguish visitors from residents.

Changes in place names can reflect differences between the Indian view of the landscape and the English view. The place names Monomoy, Shimmo, Shawkemo, Masquetuck (Quaise) in colonial times referred to necks or small peninsulas, but originally Shimmo named a spring, and Monomoy, Shouahkemmuck, and Masquetuck were names for creeks. The English settlers, with grazing animals at pasture, borrowed place names from the adjacent bodies of water.

Place names also change because of geographical changes. Esther Island, Whale Island, and Sturgeon Island were (and are) names of transitory islands off the west end of Nantucket (Southack, 1720-1734).

Meanings

In 1910, Henry Barnard Worth of Nantucket, using original documents, his knowledge of Nantucket places, and the works of Dr. W. W. Tooker and Dr. Trumbull, produced a list of Nantucket Indian place names with possible meanings (Worth 1910:285-98). He admitted that his translations ranged from reasonable to impossible. As subsequent Nantucket Indian word lists generally have included Worth's meanings for names, there are few proven meanings for Nantucket place names. However generated, hypothetical translations must be tested locally before they can be considered possible. For example, the hypothetical translation Rattlesnake Hill for Sesachacha (Worth 1910:295) and Rattelsnack Banck or the Snake Place for Shouahkemmuck, have long been suspect because we have no independent evidence that there ever were rattlesnakes on Nantucket (Worth 1910:295). However, in places on the east half of the island Lazell (1976:207) found a density of about 6000 per square mile for large, patterned, king or milk snakes, which can make a rattling noise by shaking their tails. Dated archaeological finds of identified species of snake vertebrae could further test this interesting biological and linguistic issue.

I have also found two examples for which alternative meanings have produced testable results. Consider the Pool Ponds, heretofore translated as Whale Ponds (Starbuck, 1924:611,651). These are two glacial kettle ponds some distance from the sea. Pootop means whale in a 1696 Nantucket Indian deed (Eittle 1981:67), and Trumbull (1903:227) gives the root pootau, he blows. A translation for Poot Ponds could, therefore, be Whale Ponds, Blower Ponds, or Blow Hole Ponds. As a test of the last hypothesis, a comparison of the ponds with a right whale's blow holes shows a startling resemblance to a baleen (right) whale's blow holes (a sperm whale has only one blow hole). This coincidence is no proof of the derivation of the name, but it does suggest an interesting process for name formation.

A similar procedure can be applied to Coatue, for which the standard translation is At the (White) Pine Woods (Worth 1910:291). The problem with this meaning is that pines, especially white pines, because of the deleterious effect of salt spray, do not find Nantucket, and especially Coatue, a congenial habitat (Reagan 1973). Now cowaw, the root for the pine tree name, means "it is sharp pointed" (Trumbull 1903:13,41). Is it possible, as Elizabeth Gosnell speculated in 1983, that the six sharp cuspate points of land at Coatue suggested this name? An alternative sharp point is that found on the native prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa), which grows there. These hypotheses could be tested by comparing the geographical distribution of the dozens of place names in New England containing cowa, with the distribution of evergreens, cactus, and sharp points of land. This project will take some time, but I already have found that Cotuit on Cape Cod; Koessek, now Vernon, Vermont; and Cohasset, Massachusetts center about bold and dramatic points of land.

Summary

To summarize, I have assembled a list of Nantucket Indian place names and their variations over time. Examples show how geographically testable alternative meanings may be generated by the process of looking at the meaning of the roots. Familiarity with the land is a first step. Indian place names have always been important to the people of Nantucket, and thirty-one names from this list are well known and still used to locate areas today. They are also popular on automobile license plates.

Acknowledgments: I am grateful for the help and encouragement of Ives Goddard, Margaret Pignato, Wesley N. Tiffney, and the late Louise Hussey, J. Clinton Andrews, Edouard A. Stackpole, and Gordon Day. This is a slightly revised version of a paper published in 1984 in The Papers of the 15th Algonquian Conference, edited by William Cowan, pp. 345-362, Carleton University, Ottawa, reprinted with permission of David H. Pentland, current editor.

 

LIST OF NANTUCKET INDIAN PLACE NAMES, WITH SOURCES AND DATES:

ACAMY (NCD [1659] 4:93). "The Pond Acamy" Today's Hummock Pond. A boundary between the Indians and English in the seventeenth century.

AHAPAHCONSET (NCD [1690] 2:53). Near Squam Pond.

APAQUNUMINNOHKIT (BCD [1668] 7:44). Unidentified locality, northeast of Quaise.

AQUIDNESE (NCD [1687] 3:110) "a neck of land";

AQUITNEESO (NCD [1711] 3:57); AQUITNET (NCD [1726] 4:45) "between Monomoy and Shimmo." Probably today's Pimneys Point. A point or peninsula at Nantucket in the seventeenth century was a neck. See Aquidnet Point.

AQUIDNET POINT (NCD [1722] 4:13). Today's Quidnet, which has been subject to shoreline changes and erosion, see Aquidnese. Both are candidates for WAMMASQUID, one of the three Christian Indian meeting places in 1674 (Gookin 1970:104). See also Wahquotnoy.

AQUNAONAGQUESSIT (DCD [1668] 7:44). "the hole where a Stone stands", translated by Experience Mayhew before 1745. Unknown location northeast of Quaise.

BOCOCHEGO (NCD [1765] 7:76). A tract laid out in 1744 (Worth 1910:291), once containing the mouths of several streams, between Broad, Main, Federal streets, and the harbor. Worth (1910:291) suggests an Indian origin for the name, and Obed Macy (Starbuck 1924:650) states that the name came from a Dutch ship cast away on Nantucket. It appears Spanish, and may derive from Boca Ciega, blind mouth, a Spanish name for a body of water with a hidden entrance.

CAPPATTUDACONA (NCD [1711] 3:47). Near Sankaty Head.

CATCHCASSOK (NCD [1667] 1:14); KACHKES-SET (NCD [1687] 6:4). A place near the Swain house-lots on the southwest side of Hummock Pond (Starbuck 1924:56).

CHAPANACOY (NCD [1669] 1:21). Salt marsh, unknown location near Shawkemo or Shimmo.

CHAPPAPEMESET (NCD [1691] 3:53); CHAPPA-PONISS (NCD [1762] 6:335).

CHAPAPAMISS VALLEY (NPR [1762] 1:104). An Indian-English boundary, at the west edge of "a great valley at Chappapemeset called Pasocha" (NCD 3:53). Between Toupche and Tom Nevers Pond.

COBOAHCOMMOH (NCD [1692] 2:69). At the southeast of Hummock Pond (probably), which, like many of the ponds near the shores, has been periodically opened to the sea for fishing purposes for an unknown time in the past. Alongshore currents soon close it up again (see kuppiva Trumbull 1903).

COCYEAMA (NCD [1687] 3:110). A valley near Shimmo Spring and Aquidnese.

CODSPANNETT FIELD (NCD [1659] 4:93). North of Hummock Pond.

COSCATY (NPR [1778] 1:148). Woods and meadow at "Causkata" (Macy 1792), which is a broad place with woods, pond, and meadow on Coatue. Today called Coskata.

COWEIGHTUET (NCD [1660] 1:7); COWATU (NCD [1663] lb:3); COATUE (NCD [1674] 4:90); COATUET, "a neck" (NCD [1684] 3:73); COETUIT (NCD [1687] 3:110). Macy (1792) applied this name to both the present Coatue and to Great Point, which was also "the Long Point, or Nauma" (NCD [1660] 6:1; NCD 3:73). Coatue today has no white pine (J.C. Andrews, 1979 personal communication). Its unique attributes are six regular, sharp-pointed, cuspate spits.

CUPPAMMET HARBOUR (NCD [1667] 1:11); CUPPAME HARBOUR (NCD [1672] lb:21). Capaum Pond was a harbor until a storm about 1717 deposited a sand beach across its entrance (Worth 1910:80). J.C. Andrews in 1983 suggested that it may have been closed at times prehistorically.

HASHKINNITCHAOHKET (DCD [1668] 7:44). Unknown location near Quaise.

KESTOKAS FIELD (NCD [1715] 3:91). Unknown location in Polpis area.

MACHUPUNES (NCD(1742)5:23). Unknown location on the South Shore.

MANA "wells on Mana" (NCD [1691] 3:50); MONAH (NCD [1695] 3:49); MANNA (NCD [1678] 2:1, 2). Twenty acres near the present airport. An early Indian document refers to a "great hunting meeting at Manna" (NCD 2:1,2).

MANOIS (NCD [1702] 3:42). Unknown location just south of Coatue.

MARDADPOQUEHY "The swampy slow or run near the highway at Mascotuck" (NCD [1691] 3:53). See Maskatuk Creek.

MASHAAM (NCD [1670] 3:39). 100 acres at the "going on to Coattue on the south side of the meadows or creek." Coskata, probably.

MASHQUAPOMTIT (DCD [1668] 7:44). Unknown location northeast of Quaise.

MASQUAPOCK (NCD [1687] 3:110). The run or creek, with a pond and fresh marsh, that was crossed by a cart path going from Pocomo to Coatue. The water running out of this creek can have a red color, probably due to bog iron deposits common to this area.

MASQUETUCK (NCD [1667] lb:7); MASHQUT-TOOHK (DCD [1668] 7:44); MASCOTUCK, "Mr. Thomas Mayhew's Neck" (NCD [1674] 3:65); MASQUATUCK NECK (NCD [1702] 3:61). "The read land" (Macy 1792); Quaise, today (see Quaus). Reed or red are both applicable (see Masquapock).

MASKATUK CREEK (NCD [1669] 1:21); STONY BROOK (NCD [1678] 2:35); READ RIVER (DCD [1668] 7:44), translated from Mashquttoohk by Experience Mayhew. At the east boundary of Masquatuck (Quaise); today, West Polpis Harbor and Stony Brook. See Masquetuck, Quaus.

MATTAQUITCHAME POND (NCD [1692] 3:50); MATTAQUATCHAM (NCD [1691] 3:53). A pond and valley, today called Madequecham, on the south shore of the island.

MAWTUKKIT (NCD [1667] 1:17); MATTAKETT (NCD [1687] 6:4). Today's Madaket.

MEKINNOOWAKE (NCD [1690] 1:30); MEKAN-UAHQUE (NCD [1711] 3:47). Unknown location near Sesachacha Pond.

MONNUMENT HARBOR (NCD [1660] 2:7). Wheeler's Creek; MANNAMOY (NCD [1664] 6:1); MONOMOY (NCD [1683] 3:54). Mr. Macy's meadow, or Wherfore Creek (NCD [1684] 3:73). Today this region is called the Creeks and Monomoy is the name of the land northeast of the Creeks alongshore. In the eighteenth century, Monomoy was also west of the Creeks (Worth 1910).

MOOSKEIAKIT (NCD [1693] 2:74). "westernmost of the Sturgeon Islands"; MUSKEGIT (NCD [1710] 3:30); MISKEGETT (NCD [1710] 3:31). Kotget (1630) (Worth 1910:293). Today's Muskeget Island.

MYACOMET POND (NCD [1695] 1:66); MOYACOMET POND (NCD [1711] 3:23). Today's Miacomet Pond at the South Shore, site of the Christian Indian village of Miacomet ca. 1732-63. Macy (1792) gives "Moyaucournet" as "a meeting place."

NANNUHTUKQUESUT (NCD [1690] 2:9). "The River." Near Squam Pond.

NANTUCKET (NCD [1659] 4:93); NANTUCKETT (NCD [1684] 3:73). Other versions, such as Natocke or Nautican, date to before the island was purchased in 1659 (Worth 1910:288-90).

NAPANEAH (NCD [1668] lb:7,8); NOBBANEAH (NCD [1758] 6:403); NOPEDEAR (NCD [1762] 6:399); NOBEDEAR (NCD [1768] 7:263). Nobadeer today, a valley on the south shore.

NARETOQUESO (NCD [1692] 2:70). The creek mouth near the northwest end of Squam Pond.

NASHAYTE (NCD [1659] 6:1). "The neck but one northerly of Masquetuck;" "Wots Neck" (NCD [1674] 3:65). Today's Swain's Neck, Polpis.

NOAPE "the Vinyard" (Macy 1792).

NOPQUE "a landing place" (Macy 1792), Smith Point (Worth 1910:294). The southwest point of Nantucket, nearest Martha's Vineyard.

OGGAWAME "where the church meets" [1674] (Gookin (1970):104); OCKAWAW (NCD [1778] 9:362). A historic Indian settlement, "the headquarters of old Waunuchmamuck's territory" (Macy 1792), somewhere east of Gibbs Pond.

ONGQUAHQAM (NCD [1669] 1:21). "a flaggy marsh." Unlocated place west of Masquatuck. Flags (probably cattail or wild iris leaves) were used for mats.

PAKPANNOGKAHKUNNUT (NCD [1676] 3:41). Near Squam Pond.

PAKUMMOHQUOH (NCD [1662] 4:89); PAQUO-MOQUAT NECK (NCD [1667] lb:6); POCO-MOCK (NCD [1688] 3:55); POHCOMO (NCD [1729] 4:67). Today's Pocomo, was bounded by "the river" on the north, by Masquapock, Squam Swamp, and "the creek at Poatpes" (NCD 3:73).

PASOCHA (NCD [1691] 3:53). "a great valley." See Chappapemeset.

PENETAHPAH (NCD [1669] 1:21). "next great crek above Ashimmo." Creek east of Abram's Point.

POATPES (NCD [1684] 3:73); "Podpis" (Macy 1792). Today's Polpis.

POOT PONDS (NPR [1767] 1:114). Whale Ponds, after whale (pootop). Starbuck (1924: 611) gives a legend in which a whale appeared in each Poot Pond before escaping to the sea (Starbuck 1924:611). Called Pout Ponds, after a species of fish, on 1977 USGS map of Siasconset.

PQUAOPUACHUS (NCD [1686] 3:112). Islands surrounded by Gibbs swamp near Gibbs Pond.

PUKQUOTANUSSUT or POOKQUOTTANUS-SUH (NCD [1696] 4:62). Land gift to Matakekin and George Huma from Nickanoose near Squam Pond.

QUAQUAKUNNUTTUMMUKUTAUT (NCD [1690] 2:9). Unlocated region near Squam Pond.

QUAQUAT (NPR [1773] 1:128). Region north of Siasconset Pasture.

QUADS (NCD [1702] 3:61); QUAISE (NCD [1708] 3:8); QUAIS (NCD [1708] 3:12). See Masquetuck. Today's Quaise.

QUONSUE (NCD [1721] 3:136). "Qunsue Meador" (Macy 1792). Near the present Consue Spring.

SANCKATANCK (NCD [1691] 3:52). Near "the place called the blew cleft." "Naphchecoy," or "round the (Sankata) head" (Macy 1792). Today's Sankaty Head, where blue clay can be found.

SEANAKONKONIT (NCD [1668] lb:7,8). "the pond." Probably Tom Nevers Pond.

SHIMMO (NCD [1668] lb:7,8). "The Spring at"; SHEMO (NCD [1687] 3:110); ASHIMMO "A Spring called" (NCD [1683] 3:54). A creek and region west of the creek are today known as Shimmo. Ditching obscures the original location of the spring (J.C. Andrews, personal communication, 1980).

SHUAKIMMO CREEK (NCD [1674] 3:67); SHOUAHKEMMUCK (NCD [1678] 2:1,2); SHOWAKEMMOE "The Snake Place" (NCD [1684] 3:73). At the head of Shuakimmo Creek was "Read Spring" (NCD 3:67), under "Rattelsnack Banck" (NCD 2:35) (see Stewak'ininkers). "Showaucamor" meant "the Midel field of Land," according to Macy (1792). Today Shawkemo Creek is called Folger's Creek, and Shawkemo is the name of a region west of the creek.

SISACKOCHAT (NCD [1682] 2:10);SASAGACHA (NCD [1745] 5:84). "Sasachacor" and "Sussachacor" (Macy 1792) are misspellings. Originally the name referred to an area with cod-fishing stages south of the pond, but today it is the name of the pond, Sesachacha Pond or 'Sachacha Pond (the first 'ch' is hard). At a guess it means 'rattlesnake hill'; see Wonnashquoom.

SISIASCONSET (NCD [1691] 3:52). Today's Siasconset. The first Si- may have been a copying error. This village of ancient fish or whale houses is commonly known today as Sconset.

SQUATESIT one of three places where Indians met to worship in 1674 (Gookin 1970:104). Possibly near Maskatuk Creek, where Spotso had a "meeting house" in 1686 (Mass. Sup. Ct. Jud. #2466).

STEWAKININKERS (NCD [1678] 2:28); RATTEL-SNAKE HILL OR BANK (NCD [1677,1678] 2: 28,35). At junction of several Indian-English boundary lines at the head of Shuahkimmo Creek. TAWTEMEO, "the hummuck pond" (Macy 1792), a boundary. See Acamy.

TOOCHAHY(?) POND (NPR [1775] 1:135); TOUPHCHUE POND, at the South Shore (Macy 1792). The original is neither early nor legible.

TUCKANUCK "ALIAS" TUCKANUCKETT (N.Y. DEEDS [1661] 3:53). Early maps show it called Petockenock [1630,1650] (Worth 1910:297; Fite and Freeman 1967:146). Today an er replaces the a, and it's called Tuckernuck, which Macy (1792) said meant "a loufofbrad."

TUPPOCKOMMACK (NCD [1678] 2:1,2). Unknown location south of Shimmo.

WAHQUATNOY (NCD [1690] 1:30); WAHQUOTNOY (NCD [1711] 3:47). Unknown location near Sesachacha Pond. Obed Macy (in Starbuck 1924:650) called it a neck. It was along the beach, between today's Quidnet and the Sankaty Beach Club, and probably has succumbed to erosion.

WAMMASQUID One of three places where the Indians met to worship in 1674 (Gookin 1792:207). See Aquidnet Point.

WANNACOMET (NCD [1664] 1:5);WANNA-CONSET (NCD [1667] 1:11). Land just west of Wesco, along the north shore.

WAQUITTAQUAUG (NCD [1660] 2:8, [1664] 1:5); WAQUTUQUAB (NCD [1660] 6:1). The Head of Hummock Pond, which was a bound mark for the purchase of the west end of the island.

WASSOMUHKATTOG (NCD [1676] 3:41); WAS-SOMMUKKUTTUK (NCD [1690] 2:9). "That Me swamp and river," near Squam Pond.

WATAQUETE (NCD [1687] 3:110). From the mouth of the creek on the north of Pocomo (Masquapock), about 16 acres of "swamp," "run," "spring," "slow," "marsh," and "meadow."

WESACHIMNUSSUD (NCD [1710] 3:24). Unknown location at Squam or Polpis.

WESQUO (NCD [1664] 1:5); WESQUO POND (NCD [1667] 1:19); THE WHITE ROCK (NCD [1711] 3:34). Part of town near Lily Pond. Macy (1792) translated "Wesko" as, "at the white ston."

WEWEDA POND (NCD [1695] 3:49). Today's Weweeder Ponds, at the South Shore. Macy (1792) translated "Wewedor" as "a pare of horns."

WONNASHQUOOM (DCD [1668] 7:44); WUN-NASQUAM (NCD [1686] lb:55); WUNISQUAM POND (NCD [1690] 2:70); SQUAM POND (NCD [1691] 2:59); SQUAM (NCD [1704] 3:2). Today's Squam Pond was larger in the past (J.C. Andrews, 1983 personal communication). Wunnasquam was Sachem Nickanoose's territory, possibly encompassing today's Squam, Quidnet, and Sesachacha Pond (which may have been Squam Pond originally).

WONNAHKTIH (NCD [1690] 1:30). Unknown location near Sesachacha.


Elizabeth Little was long associated with the Nantucket Historical Association, including positions as Archaeological Field Director, Research Director, and Curator of Prehistoric Artifacts. She was a Research Fellow in Archaeology. She was also a Research Associate at the R. S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Phillips Academy, Andover. She and her husband lived in Lincoln, Massachusetts.


REFERENCES
Bragdon, Kathleen Joan. 1981. "Another Tongue Brought In: An Ethnohistorical Study of Native Writings in Massachusetts." Dissertation, Anthropology Department, Brown University.
Cotton, Josiah. 1830. Vocabulary of the Massachusetts (or Natick) Indian Language. Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Series 3, 2:147-257.
DCD/Dukes County Deeds,
Registry of Deeds, Edgartown, MA.
Ewer, F. C. 1869 Historical Map of Nantucket. Copy at Nantucket Historical Association. Nantucket.
Goddard, Ives. 1977. Book review ot Indian Names in Connecticut by James Hammond Trumbull. International Journal of American
Linguistics 4)(2):W-59. 1978 Eastern Algonquian Languages. In Handbook o] North American Indians, Northeast, Vol. 15, pp. 70-77. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
1981 "Massachusctt Phonology: A Preliminary Look," in Papers of the J2tb Algonquian Conference, edited by William Cowan, pp. 57-105. Carleton University. Ottawa.
Goddard, Ives, and Bragdon, Kathleen J. 1988. Native Writings m Massachusclt. Memoir, Vol. 185. The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia.
Gookin, Daniel. 1970. Historical Collections of the India/is in New England [1674]. J.H. Fiske, annota-tor. Towtaid, Worcester.
Lazell, James D., Jr. 1976. This Broken Archipelago. New York Times Book Co., New York.
Little, Elizabeth A. 1981. "Nantucket Indian Writings."
Nantucket Algonquian Studies #3. Nantucket Historical Association, Nantucket.
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Center, Nantucket Historical Association. Transcribed by Marie Sussek in Nantucket Algonquian Studies #7 (1981). Nantucket Historical Association, Nantucket.
NCD Nantucket County Deeds,
Registry of Deeds, Nantucket.
NPR Nantucket Proprietors Records, Registry of Deeds, Nantucket.
Reagan, Ronald. 1973. "Salt Spray: a factor influencing competition between white pine (Pinus stmbus) and pitch pine (Pinus rigiJa)," Student Research Report, Field Station, University of Massachusetts, Nantucket.
Southack, Cyprian. 1720-1734. Sailing Chart. Copy at Stackpole Library, Nantucket. Original at Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Starbuck, Alexander. 1924. The History of Nantucket. Goodspeed, Boston.
Trumbull, J. Hammond. 1903.
Natick Dictionary. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin #25. Washington, D. C. 1974. Indian Names of Places etc., in and on the Borders of Connecticut: with interpretations of some of them [1881]. Archon Books, Hamden, Connecticut.
Williams, Roger. 1936. A Key into the language of America [1643]. Howard M. Chapin, editor. Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Tercentenary Committee, Inc. Providence.
Wood, William. 1865.
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Worth, Henry Barnard. 1910. "Nantucket Lands and Land Owners." Bulletin 2 (6) of the Nantucket Historical Association, Nantucket. MA.

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