Saturday, June 9, 2018

How Important Was the Narrow Pass or Passage? – Part V Heartland Map

Continued from the previous post regarding the importance of the Narrow Neck of Land as the only land connection between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, and of the Narrow Pass or Passage that ran through the narrow neck within the Heartland Theory and model.
    As mentioned earlier, there is much we can point out that shows a lack of agreement between the Heartland model and the scriptural record of Mormon’s descriptions, but the importance of this article is on the placement of the Narrow Pass or Passage within the Narrow Neck of Land that Mormon has so ably described and whether or not the Heartland Model matches Mormon’s description and points.
    First is a narrow neck of land, as pointed out in this series, that connects the Land Southward with the Land Northward, and is the only land egress between these two much larger lands (Alma 22:32). Second is a Narrow Pass or Passage that allows movement from the Land Northward into the Land Southward (Mormon 2:29; 3:5) and from the Land Southward into the Land Northward (Alma 50:34; 52:9). Thus, since the Narrow Neck was “a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” and the only one that kept the Land Southward from being completely surrounded by water (Alma 22:32), the narrow pass or passage had to go through this narrow neck of land, otherwise the narrow neck would not be the only land between the Land Southward and the Land Northward and the only thing that kept the Land Southward from being surrounded by water as Mormon tells us.
    In addition, this narrow neck had to be located north of the Land of Bountiful, and south of the Land Desolation, for “Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful” (Alma 22:31). And it was this narrow neck that ran between these two lands connecting the Land Southward with the Land Northward (Alma 22:32).
    Consequently, like with the other theories and models, we need to find a single narrow neck in the Heartland model, and a single narrow pass that runs through this narrow neck, and that both cannot be bypassed by going around them to get from the Land Southward into the Land Northward.
Meldrum’s Narrow Neck of Land is the Niagara Peninsula, connecting the U.S. and Canada, and (white arrow) is narrow enough to be a military deterrent; however, there are other (green dotted arrows) avenues to bypass this peninsula and reach the Land Northward without going through the narrow neck of narrow pass

As an example, Meldrum’s Narrow Neck of Land is the narrow land bridge separating Lake Ontario from Lake Erie, known as the Niagara Peninsula. As we discussed in the Great Lakes theory, this narrow neck can be easily bypassed, rendering it useless as a military check point or defendable pathway into the Land Northward in the manner Mormon tells us the narrow neck served. In addition, it is certainly not the only connection between the land to the south and the land to the north as Mormon also describes. In other words, the Niagara Peninsula cannot possibly be the Nephites’ Narrow Neck of Land.
    Thus, Joseph Smith’s comment that The Scriptures say what they mean and mean what they say,” simply does not seem to apply to Meldrum’s Narrow Neck of Land, since his location and the terrain around it is not what Mormon describes in the scriptural record.
    In addition, their Narrow Pass or Passage is located at the beginning of this Niagara Peninsula, between Grand Island and Buffalo and the head of the Niagara River where it flows out of Lake Erie northward toward Lake Ontario, and across that river from Fort Erie.
Yellow Circle: Narrow Neck with the Narrow Pass to the southeast of the Neck, which could be guarded against passage into the Niagara Peninsula and across the Neck; however, as shown (dotted white arrows) there are numerous other ways to go around this area, thus rendering its value meaningless

As an example, Wayne May, another Heartland theorist, claims on his map that the Niagara Peninsula is not only the narrow neck of land, but that the word “Niagara” means “neck to support his claim; however, the word “niagara” is a derivative of the Iroquoian Onguiarahronon town named “Onguiaahra, which meaning was “point of land cut in two” or “bisected bottom lands.” The name first appeared in the writing of Jesuit priest Jérôme Lalemant, Superior to the Huron Mission, in 1641, and on maps of that period. The name was generally understood to mean “The Strait” by the early French trapper Jacques Cartier in 1835, and later anglicized by English explorers. Those who came later thought the name came from the narrow waterway that flows north from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario (now the Niagara River). Others believe the word “Niagara” comes from the native word meaning “Thundering Waters.” However, the word “niagara” did not originate with naming the river or the falls, but the peninsula or strait. In fact, early maps do not refer to the Niagara River but the Niagara Strait, which is more correct (George R. Stewart, Names on the Land, Houghton Mifflin Company; Boston, 1967, p83).  
    Actually, the river and Falls are not mentioned until 1648 when Paul Ragueneau, who succeeded Lalemant, was the first to writes about the river and falls, calling them the waters of Lake Erie and labelling the falls “Ongiara Sault” (Ongiara Falls), which later appeared on maps in 1656 (Francesco Bressani) and 1660 (François du Creux).
The vast French territory they called Nouvelle-France (New France) beginning in 1535 during the second voyage of Jacques Cartier. Samuel de Champlain was called “the Father of New France” because he founded and settled the territory
In 1683, Louis Hennepin referred to both the Niagara River and Falls in his Description de la Louisiane (Description of Louisiana—the vast territory from the Gulf to the Great Lakes claimed by the French) as “le grand Sault de Niagara” (The grand falls of Niagara) and “la belle Riviere de Niagara” (the beautiful river of Niagara). At the same time, a French map of Canada published in Paris in 1657, listed the Niagara Falls under the name of “Ongiara,” meaning “thunder of the water,” though some think that was a romantic addition. The definition “neck” as a meaning for “Niagara” did not originate until modern dictionaries used it in this manner, and even then its meaning was claimed to be “at the neck,” not just “neck,” and appeared in William Bright, (Native American Place Names of the United States, University Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2004, p325).
    The point is, if one is going to make claims to support their point of view, theory or model, then one needs to know the facts surrounding their claim. Niagara does not mean “neck,” which is a much more modern term, but “strait,” a term not used or referenced in the Book of Mormon regarding the Narrow Neck of Land.
    We might also add about the Pass that these theorists claim was through the Onandaga Escarpment just to the east of the Niagara River, halfway between Grand Island and Lake Erie as the means of entrance into the Niagara Peninsula, or their Narrow Neck of Land. This pass is nothing more than a break in the escarpment (a slope separating area of land at different heights); however, a close look at the Onondaga Escarpment shows that in the area they discuss, the escarpment is hardly noticeable.
The Onondaga Escarpment near the Niagara Peninsula. The escarpment, though rock and an obstruction to planting and modern needs of tunnels, etc., does not hinder movement as can be seen in this photo and certainly does not require a pass to move from one side to the other, which is only about three feet different in height

Obviously, such a slight inconvenience in travel during the Nephite era would hardly be noticed and certainly of no concern to an invading army, or of Morianton and his defectors who were racing to get into the Land Northward before Tancum cut them off.
(See the next post regarding “How Important Was the Narrow Pass or Passage? Part VI Heartland Narrow Neck and Pass”)

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