Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Ho-Chunk Nation"

Sometimes I feel like I mention Native Americans too often. Recognising that First Nations have some awesome names is cool. Dwelling on it seems a bit patronising, though. But how to resist?

I mean, when there's a tribe in Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin called the 'Ho-Chunk' people? Let's take a minute to appreciate the awesomeness of 'Ho-Chunk'. Ah... Moving on, the Ho-Chunk were previously known as the 'Winnebago' people (relatively standard Plains-style name, but way cooler because the RV makers stole it). It turns out that 'Winnebago' means 'People of the Stinking Water', and the Ho-Chunk people didn't appreciate the connotation. Thus, because they found the common name unbecoming, they went with Ho-Chunk. 'This is a name', they said, 'that will restore our people's lost dignity...'

Apparently, 'Ho-Chunk', which is quite difficult to spell after all,can also be speltany of the following ways: Hocak, Hotanke, Houchugarra, Hotcangara, Ochungaraw, Ochungarah, Hochungra, Hochungara, and Ochangara. It might mean 'fish eaters' or 'the big fish people' or 'the big speech people'. Or, as the elders declare, 'the people of the sacred language'.

Blah. that's the least interesting one. That sacred language, incidentally, is also called 'Ho-Chunk'. You'll be pleased to know it can be written using the so-called 'Pa-Pe-Pi-Po syllabics'. Of course it can.
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