Re: Chingachgook's Birth Name

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Posted by Gayle on May 06, 1999 at 11:36:29:

In Reply to: Re: Chingachgook's Birth Name posted by Elaine on May 04, 1999 at 20:52:35:

: Hi Gayle Gayle Gayle, daughter of Gayle ....

: ": Let's play with Tamenund's exchange with Uncas on pp. 330, 331. '

: Yes, let's!

: " Uncas confirms what you said about the Lenni Lenape (Delawares) being the grandfather of nations. Tamenund, when he recognizes Uncas, refers to him as Uncas the Child of Uncas. "

: >>>> This is a good section to explore the Lenape/Mohican thing. Here Uncas proclaims himself as "the son of Chingachgook, a son of the great Unamis." The Unami were one of two original Lenape groups; the Munsee of the north, & the Unami to the south. The southern Unami are the Delaware to whom Cooper refers & are the people who later wound up in Oklahoma. "Uncas, the child of Uncas" - yes, this shows Uncas' patriarchal Lenape line. The name 'Uncas' was passed through his father's fathers. Remember Tamenund's words about his people's history. "It is true - it is true. Our wise men have often said that two warriors of the unchanged race were in the hills of the Yengeese; why have their seats at the council-fires of the Delawares been so long empty?" The "two warriors" are Chingachgook & Uncas. Uncas then relates his family's history and identifies himself as Mohican, "children of the Turtle" - the turtle refers to the Lenape.

: "But then Tamenund, who is supposed to be over a hundred years old, regresses and thinks he sees standing before him his own boyhood friend and says "Yet is Uncas before him as they went to battle against the palefaces! Uncas, the panther of his tribe, the eldest son of the Lenape, the wisest Sagamore of the Mohicans! Tell me, ye Delawares, has Tamenund been asleep for a hundred winters?"

: ": This sounds to me as if Cooper is harking back both the Delaware and Mohican lineage of Uncas through his father's line instead of the matriarchal line. Still, when Uncas replies that "four warriors of his race have lived and died since the friend of Tamenund led his people in battle," he does take it back far enough to incorporate the Uncas of Wish ton Wish. Even though Wish ton Wish was written later, Cooper extended connections with The Leatherstocking characters, just as he did in Homeward Bound and Home as Found, so I think the Uncas who killed Conanchet in Wish ton Wish was seen by Cooper as the ancestor or Chingachgook."

: >>>>>>> Yes, this is his father's lineage. This can be confusing. Does Cooper mean to imply that Uncas' gg-grandfather was also Mohican? It wouldn't be unusual. Here's how it could work; Assume
: the first Uncas, Conanchet's killer, was Mohican, married to a Delaware woman. Their children would live with & be called Delaware, as would the successive generation, and the next. This last one would include Chingachgook. He is Lenape/Delaware ... even if his g-grandfather was Mohican. Remember that he is what his mother is.

: On the other hand; Cooper may have meant 'the wisest Sagamore of the Mohicans" to refer to the Lenape. The fathers, the chiefs, the sagamores, the grandfathers.

: " But again, the descent from Delaware and Mohican is confusing to me, unless the various Uncases consistently married down a straight line of Mohican princesses who were Wah ta Wah's mother and grandmothers."

: >>> No, there would not need to be a straight line of Delaware/Mohican marriages. In fact, if there was, these generations down through Chingachgook would be Mohican, not Delaware. Remember the matriarchal thing?

: "Fuzzier and fuzzier", said Alice as she popped another pill."

: >>> Of course! But that's why you have to eat the OTHER side of the mushroom. Clear it up any, Alice?

: ": Gayle
: : Gayle
: : Gayle
: : (I'm getting into this matrilineal thing.)"

: It works for me. Wah-Ta-Yah say?

: E


Iah say - I think I begin to see the pattern here. And Cooper remains consistent in the way he "mirror images" everything. Coming full circle, then, Chingachgook, a Mohican, marries Hist, a Delaware woman, just as Uncas in Wish Ton Wish was married to a Delaware woman.

In The Deerslayer, Natty explains to Rivenoak the tie which brought Chingachgook to Otsego: "The string you mean is fast to the heart of a great Delaware; one of the Mohican stock, in fact, living among the Delawares since the dispersion of his own people, and of the family of Uncas - Chingachgook by name, or Great Sarpent." He also confirms, "Big Sarpent - so called for his wisdom and cunning. Uncas is his ra'al name - all his family being called Uncas until they get a title that has been earned by deeds."

And of Hist, he explains to Judith, "There is a chief that has a daughter called Wah Ta Wah, which is interpreted into Hist Oh Hist, in the English tongue, the rarest gal among the Delawares. . ."

However, following your statement, "He is Lenape/Delaware ... even if his g-grandfather was Mohican. Remember that he is what his mother is.", this means that our Uncas of LOTM is Delaware, not Mohican. But I guess Cooper was indicating that Uncas was the last of his father's line, since if the Mohicans were eradicated (sic), even if Uncas had lived there would be no Mohican woman for him to marry, so neither matriarchal nor patriarchal Mohican lines could be continued.

Jeez, this is complicated! Anyway, I'm glad the question of Chingachgook's real name came up. Once again, I'm awed at the depth of your knowledge of the Lenni Lenape. Like a real Sachem (-ess), you have so much to teach the tribe if we just ask. Thank you.


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