Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

remarkablyoblivious t1_iu5d2di wrote

I read in one of james lowens books that the names we use for most tribes are not the ones used by that tribe. It is usually a name they were called by a different tribe and it was rarely complimentary.


AgentElman t1_iu5dutp wrote

Right. Explorers would meet a tribe and ask who lived nearby. That tribe would then name the neighboring tribes. But they used their name for them. And explorers would use the name they first heard for a tribe.


ChuckChuckelson t1_iu5ecaq wrote

Kinda like what assholes do when they hear a nasty nickname for someone.


LOAARR t1_iu6mlz2 wrote

I wonder how often they understood the meaning of what they were being told or how long it took them to get the real name.


Gothsalts t1_iu6ol4f wrote

Sometimes they don't. The conquistadors asked a Mayan what the land was called heard "Yucatan" ('I don't understand') and named the peninsula after it.


LOAARR t1_iu7aohu wrote

I was moreso proposing the idea of that shitty razor reddit likes to reference all the time. Something like, "never attribute to malice that which can easily be attributed to incompetence."


Paynomind t1_iu7sz84 wrote



LOAARR t1_iu80jsi wrote

Occam's is about simple explanations, which is very similar to the one I'm referencing.

I think it's Hanlon's.


Some_Inspector3638 t1_iu8xdb5 wrote

My family's name was changed that way. The census guy came around and my great-great-etc. wasn't home. "Who lives there?", "Oh, Lame Nicolas lives there". And from then on, that was our name. Kootzinicole.

Luckily my great grandfather stole another family's name when he snuck into the U.S.


gwaydms t1_iu765ka wrote

Neighbors are sometimes allies, and sometimes enemies. A lot of uncomplimentary names for tribes were passed down in this way.


myindependentopinion t1_iu5rksr wrote

I'm an enrolled member of the Menominee Tribe of WI and we were named by the Ojibwe/Chippewa but it was complimentary. They were & are our friends.

The Chippewa referred to us as "the wild rice people" from their word "manoomin" (meaning good grain or berry) because they thought that wherever my tribe traveled in the old days that wild rice would flourish at our feet which was a good thing.

Wild rice isn't true rice. So when the French re-translated our tribe's name it became "folles avoines" or "crazy oats" and yikes...that's what we were called in the 1701 treaty of the Great Peace of Montreal but none of my ancestors spoke/read French at the time to know the meaning.

Our name for ourselves in our own language is Mamaceqtaw. But because all our US Govt. treaties refer to us as Menominee/Menomini, we are reluctant to change our name so as not to invalidate our treaty rights.


Falsus t1_iu72ouj wrote

At least you lucked out in the name lottery. Imagine if your tribe had been named by your mortal enemies and rivals lmao.

The modern version would probably be like being named by a CoD kid.


Jeff_From_IT t1_iu6x2tn wrote

As they say, the real TIL is in the comments. But in this case it's all new info, so bonus knowledge?


traficantedemel t1_iu6c7m7 wrote


does it mean anything? is it a 'translation' of manoomin?


Seraphim9120 t1_iu8opd1 wrote

Manoomin/menominee: name given to them by their allies; people of the wild rice in the allies' language

Mamaceqtaw: their own name for their own tribe. Simply means "people" or "tribe" in their own language, if my google is correct.


Gasur t1_iu87nrw wrote

If you were translating folles avoine literally, it would be fool's oats rather than crazy oats.

English uses the same concept sometimes. Pyrite is also known as fool's gold for example.

Still not what they should have been calling your tribe of course.


asrenos t1_iu9g1bt wrote

Not really, it's an archaic use of fol (fou in modern French) in it's feminine form which is used in that context to designate plants that grow abundantly and seemingly randomly. You can search for "Herbe folle" if you want more info on that.


asrenos t1_iu9gzy7 wrote

It does not translate well from French, it's an archaic use of fol (fou in modern French) in it's feminine form which is used in that context to designate plants that grow abundantly and seemingly randomly. You can search for "Herbe folle" if you want more info on that.


neoplastic_pleonasm t1_iu5le0p wrote

Exonyms VS endonyms. In OPs case they're called hostile exonyms. There are a lot of historical peoples we only know by exonyms. There are also many we know only by their native word for "people."


TamanduaShuffle t1_iu5le3r wrote

Ojibwe means puckered moccasin in Mohawk. It was because the way we sewed our shoes to make them waterproof


tanfj t1_iu5x8pz wrote

Yeah. Most Native names used in English translate as "Those Assholes over there".