Washk=?utf-8?Q?=C4=85_?=in Otoe-Missouria

Campbell, Sky sky at OMTRIBE.ORG
Wed Aug 6 14:34:20 UTC 2014

A few weeks ago there was a discussion about the Ioway name "Washką Manyi" and the given translations such as Fast Dancer and Great Walker from historical documents.  I also mentioned a Ponca friend of mine with the name Washką Mathi which he translated as Stands Strong.  So I've been really interested in the term "washką" and if there was any Otoe equivalent.  The closest lead I found was Dorsey giving the Jiwere equivalent of washką as brixe in his Omaha/Ponca slips.

But poking through Dorsey's material a while ago I found this term:

nan-wañ-́e i-ra-́krin-wa-́shkan - to do his best to dodge or evade the blow, weapon, or pursuer

Then I was talking with my assistant today who is pretty knowledgeable in Osage and he mentioned in passing that Osages use "washką" to refer to doing their best.  So I looked in Dorsey's material again and found this by itself:

nan-wañ-́e - to dodge a blow or weapon; to evade the enemy, or pursuer

So that leaves us with  i-ra-́krin-wa-́shkan which Dorsey also has a separate slip for.  Unfortunately he doesn't translate it here but he does give this phrase:

irákrinwashkanˊwi hó

Based on what I've seen so far, it looks to be a command to "do your best".  But what is really interesting is Dorsey gives this afterward:

(eq. to Dh. washkan i-gă)

So now we have a direct comparison of the Otoe "iragrį washką" and Dhegiha "washką".  Has anyone else seen something like this floating around their respective languages?  I'm curious what the "iragrį" is doing here and why it is omitted for its Dhegiha equivalent.  And now because of the idea of "best" it has me wondering if this term is related to "wexa" (best).

Anyone have any thoughts?  If this term does in fact refer to doing your best, then the name "Washką Manyi" could perhaps roughly translate to "He Always Does His Best."

Sky Campbell
Language Director
Otoe-Missouria Tribe
(580) 723-4466, ext. 111
sky at omtribe.org

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