John Boyle jpboyle at
Fri Nov 5 20:40:21 UTC 2004

>I happened on this site, which offers what I'd consider a good explication
>of the Sakakawea (etc.) name in connection with North Dakota's Lake
>Sakakawea park.
>No particular new information, but an interesting reference:
>"The following brief article was published in the Collections of the State
>Historical Society of North Dakota in 1906 (vol. 1, pages 69-72). The
>editor of the Collections was Professor Orin G. Libby. The author, Rev. C.
>L. Hall, was a missionary to the Fort Berthold Reservation in North
>Dakota. The term Grosventre refers to the Hidatsa."
>Hall comments "The words for bird and woman are given in place in this
>dictionary. We thus get for the name The Bird Woman, Tsakaka-wia. The
>dotted s at the end [comment refers to a form Tsakaka-wia-s<dot> which is
>not present here - JEK] stands for sh in English, and makes the compound
>word a proper name. It is equivalent to the definite article the.
>Anglicizing this a little to suit those using only the English alphabet
>and unfamiliar with the scientific use of the vowels, and leaving off the
>initial t sound, which is hard for English tongues, we have the spelling
>in English, Sakakawea. During the last thirty years I have made numerous
>additions in manuscript to Mathews' book, and also some corrections, but I
>have no occasion to correct the spelling of the words in question."
>I don't know if Hall's annotated copy of the Matthews book is in a
>collection that can be consulted.
>John E. Koontz

Hall's annotated copy of Mathews grammar and dictionary is at the
North Dakota Historical Society in Bismarck and is available for
people to look at.  I think his explanation is basically correct.

John Boyle

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