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About The Chemawa American (Chemawa, Or.) 19??-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 1, 1914)
THE CHEMAWA AMERICAN
from the "Red Skin." An examination of our culture reveals to us the
fact that the influence of the Indian on our civilization has been far
reaching and comprises every phase of our intellectual, political, social,
agricultural and industrial life.
Some few years ago the late Dr. Chamberlain of Clarke University
tabulated some of the contributions of the Indian race to our civiliza
tion. To that list the present author has added additional material, a
mere glance at which will convince us of the fact that we owe a great
deal to the Indians of North and South America.
Of the fifty States and Territories that form this great Union of Stars
and Stripes, twenty-five derive their names from native Indian words;
while the number of cities, mountains, lakes, streams and bays, that
owe their appellation to Indian descriptive terms, is legion. Our daily
speech abounds in terms and expressions that have been taken from
the various Indian tongues. It is estimated that over 300 words of our
present vocabulary have been borrowed from such sources. . One. only
has to think of expressions like: Buccaneer, canoe, cannibal, chocolate,
coyote, hammock, hurricane, hickory, mahogany, maize, moccasin,
pampas, potato, quinine, raccoon, skunk, squaw, tobacco, toboggan,
totem, tomato, tuxedo, wigwam, and ochers, to get an idea of the ex
tent of this system of borrowing.
But the Red Man did not confine his contributions to our vocabulary
to single words only. There are a number of phrases in our language
which owe their origion to the Indian mode of speech. How many
Americans today use expressions, like: "Fire-water," "squaw-man,"
"pale-face," "medicine-man," "happy-hunting-grounds," "to burj
the hatchet," "to smoke the pipe of peace," "to go on the war-path,"
etc., without knowing that these are phrases taken from the Indian
languages? In some instances we have received from the Indian words
and ideas that have become powerful factors in our daily life. I shall
mention only "caucus," "chautauqua, " "mugwump" and "Tam
many." Can anyone imagine American politics without "caucus?"
Can anyone think of the city of New York without its "Tammany?"
Let us now turn our attention to the field of literature. What a
wealth of material has been offered by the Indian to our writers, past
and present! Indian life and traditions have been an inexhaustible source
of inspiration to English-speaking novelists, poets, and dramatic writers.
Bryant's "Prairies", Longfellow's "Hiawatha" and "Burial of the Min
nesink", Whittier's "Mogg Muggone", Lowell's "Chippewa Legend",
Cooper's "The Lastof the Mohicans", Dryden's "Indian Queen", Camp
bell's "Gertrude of Wyoming", and many others, are literary products
that were inspired by the Red Man. The literary fame of men like, De
foe, Kingsley, Lew Wallace, Bandelier, King, Haggard and Robertson