The Public Poet

HWL. Notes for Hiawatha: Indian words and names. Autograph manuscript, undated.


Longfellow Papers MS Am 1340 (92). Houghton Library.

The "M" entries and the beginning of the "N" section in Longfellow's makeshift dictionary of the Ojibway language, compiled from his sources. "Alg." and "Oneot." stand for Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's Algic Researches (1839) and OneĆ³ta (1845). "McKeny," the abbreviation used after the phrase "Mush-ke-wau. darkness," refers to Thomas Loraine McKenney's Sketches of a Tour to the Lakes, of the Character and Customs of the Chippeway Indians (1827). Apparently, Longfellow discovered that McKenney's "Mush-ke-wan" was not correct; in the poem's final version, he used "Guskewau" for "darkness," an approximation of the Ojibway verb gashkii'waa ("to be pitch-dark").