Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cherokee Name for Mississippi River

I found this comment in an old post discussing Zarahemla, Iowa, not being the Zarahemla of the Book of Mormon. Because of the age of the original post, and the answer to an inquiry by a person named Eric, which was answered in the two-part series “Zarahemla in Iowa? Part I and Part II,” which appeared in March of this year, as well as the length in answering this comment, it is being covered in a full article.
I agree with Eric [about Zarahemla being in Iowa]. Through scripture study, I have noticed so many things seem to be cyclical with Heavenly Father. I believe that Zarahemla, Iowa and the ancient Zarahemla are the same. I believe the Mississippi River and the River Sidon are the same. The Cherokee word for the Mississippi is S-Dun. The Cherokee are the only turbin wearing Native Americans who's Elders wear garments similar to ours beneath their clothes and tell ancestral stories of their Grand Parents coming across the Great Deep. Similar to the Hill Ramah and the Hill Cummorah. Cummorah has the same name now as it had in ancient (Zarahemla) times. Why would it (Zarahemla) be different? Logic tells me that, like Cummorah, Zarahemla, Iowa is the same as ancient Zarahemla.” Imong Bana
In response, the information about Zarahemla has already been answered in a two-part series this past March. Regarding the comment about the Cherokee and their name for the Mississippi River, the following is suggested.
First of all, the Cherokee people when first contacted by Spaniards in 1540 were in Georgia and eastern Tennessee (far from the Mississippi River), and the first Europeans (Anglos) found them in Virginia in the 1673; and as late as the early 1700s, the Cherokee were in South Carolina and North Georgia. Their seat of power (titular seat of the Nation) in the 1800s was in Georgia. A volunteer relocation of the Cherokee under Sequoyah, Spring Frog and Tatsi and their bands in the third decade of the 19th century, settled in west-central Arkansas, between the Arkansas River and the White River, which is well west of the Mississippi. When the Cherokee were involuntarily relocated (Trail of Tears) with four other tribes, they had been living in the deep south, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
Whatever the Cherokee called the Mississippi River, it was not from direct contact since they were originally from the Appalachian area and east of the Mississippi (called southeastern tribes), except when crossing the Mississippi into eastern Oklahoma during this involuntary relocation in 1831.
As an example, the Indian tribes in Mississippi were Chocktaw, Chickasaw, Quapaw, Tunica, Ofo, Natchex, Houma, and Billoxi, with the first two by far the largest. In addition, my Cherokee friends tell me that capitols and hyphens are very rare in the Cherokee language as you show (it is an English pronunciation additive), and the word you use: dun, would be pronounced like the English “tune.” Of course, they also tell me that there are several dialects within the Cherokee language and many have slightly different pronunciations.
While I understand that equoni geyvi is river (pronounced ooh way yuh, or ay qua nee), and ama is water, and stream depends on upstream (gei) or downstream (tsagi), and tsikamagi is River of Death, nothing seems to resemble any use of S-Dun as you indicate.
Actually, my Native American friends, as well as all documented information on the subject, shows that Indian names for the Mississippi River are all very respectful and translate into “Great River” or “Large River,” or “Father of Rivers,” etc. As an example, the Ojibwe Indians called it the misi ziibi pronounced “Mee-zee-see-bee,” which translate into “Great River” or “Father of Waters,” or gichi ziibi meaning “Big River.”  Calling the Mississippi S-Dun, for the Nephite Sidon, is far outside the Indian proclivity for naming major areas, such as the mighty Mississippi, with names that convey a description of a place with its name. Especially significant areas, which they treated with awe and respect, like the Mississippi.
As an example, all of the following are Indian names of rivers, large and small: Missouri means Big Muddy, Allegheny means Fairest River, Aroostook means Good River, Challahooche means Pictured Rocks, Chesapeake means Salty Pond, Chickamauga means River of Death, Connecticut meaning Upon the Long River, Kenapocomoco meaning Eel River, Kentucky meaning Where rivers start, Lycoming meaning Sandy Stream, Maumee meaning Standing Rocks, Merrimac meaning Swift River, Mississinewa meaning Much Fall in the River, Monongahela meaning Falling Bank, Muskingum meaning Moose Eye River, Niagara meaning Roaring Waters, Ohio meaning Beautiful River, Passaic meaning Peaceful Valley, Penobscot meaning Rocky River, Potomac meaning Burning Pines River, Rappahannock meaning Quick Raising Water, Sagwasibi meaning Coming Out River, Kotaisasipi meaning Bean River, Sandusky meaning Large Pools of Water, Saskatchewan meaning Swift River, Scioto meaning Hairs in the Waters, Shenandoah meaning Hillside Stream, Shoshone meaning Sheep Eater, Tippicanoe meaning Buffalo Fish, Wenatchee meaning River Coming out of Canyon, Wapihani meaning White Waters, Wichita meaning A Big Arbor, Willamette meaning Running Water, Yaqui meaning Chief River, and Welhamamik meaning Yellow River—this tedious list is meant to show that Native Americans named rivers with descriptive terms. Naming a river S-Dun for Sidon simply is not in keeping with thousands of descriptive Indian names given to locations, rivers, lakes, mountains, etc.
In addition, when the Choctaws and Chickasaws, who came west with the Cherokee, reached the Mississippi in the forefront of the five tribes, and seeing the mighty river for the first time they called it misha sipokni, meaning “Beyond Age,” or “Here is a river that is beyond age,” or “We have come to the most ancient of rivers.” The Gulf Coast Indians called it meact chassipi (mechasipi) “The ancient father of waters.” The Alonquin near the source of the Mississippi in the Northwest called it missi (large) and sippi (flowing water).
Left: 1762 of Cherokee Indian—note the headdress which is not a turban; Center: A North Carolina Cherokee before the 1831 relocation; Right: Cherokee wearing the traditional few feathers and Porcupine Roach 
As for Turbins and under-Garments, neither has been found to be Cherokee. First, the headdress of Cherokee men was typically bare-headed. Actually, the men shaved their heads, leaving a topknot (sometimes called a scalplock), which they allowed to grow long. When seeing white men wear coonskin caps, some opted for those with or without the tail. Finally, when the French arrived with their wool stocking caps and the Cherokee obtains material, they began wearing wool caps or merely a piece of cloth wound around their heads.
Turbans, or head wraps, were not unique to the Cherokee. Many plains Indians, including the Apache, wore the head wrappings that some call turbans
However, the turban (karbela and tabuwl) is mentioned only twice in the Bible, in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 23:15) after 590-580 B.C., when he described his calling as a prophet in Exile with the Jews in Babylon, and in Dan 3:21), during the Exile. Zechariah 587-586 B.C. during the Exile. In Dan we find wearing hats, but again in the Exile, Both of these incidents would have been after Lehi’s time and not something the Nephites would have known anything about. In addition, the word pe’er is used before the Exile, but though some claim this is a turban, it merely means an embellished head covering—more accurately, splendor and beauty, and is the same word as translated in Exodus as bonnet, the same as the miters of linen (migba’ot). In any event, the so-called turbans, or wrapped head covering worn in later times by the Cherokee did not come into being until after contact with the Europeans.
Israelite miters worn on the head (left) in the time of Aaron [Exodus], and (right) today—they are best described as a cap or bonnet, and not a turban which is a head wrapping as the Cherokee later wore

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