McArthur’s “Oregon Geographic Names” (part 2 of 8)

PLenty more Jargon-related place names in Oregon…

ipsoot butte

Ipsoot Butte (image credit: Google Maps)

On page 242 we have Ecola Point. I’ve previously written about how Lewis & Clark referred to the stream here as Ecola or ‘Whale’ Creek in 1806, and why that’s probably some of the earliest Chinuk Wawa known to us. Let me just add, on reflection, that the final letter <a> may not be so far off from the phonetically documented Chinookan source word’s final /i/. That’s because in the 1800s folks frequently wrote <a> for Native-language sounds such as /e/, /ei/ — in other words, as if it were the “long A” of English.

Page 282 discusses Fort George, the name which the North-West Company gave to Fort Astoria upon purchasing it. This is an important place in Chinook Jargon history, and it’s preserved in Grand Ronde’s 2012 dictionary as pʰochóch ‘Astoria’. 

Page 296 brings us French Prairie (in Marion County, south of Portland) & French Settlement (in Douglas County, SW Oregon). Both are old names for French-Canadian fur-trade retiree settlements, dating to roughly 1830 and 1850 respectively. Both, especially French Prairie, are important places in the history of Chinuk Wawa.  

Seen on pageS 322-3, Grand Ronde (south of Portland) & Grande Ronde (in NE Oregon, near Idaho and Washington) are likewise old fur-trade names tracing to the French Canadians. Particularly the first-named is an extremely important setting in the story of CW’s rapid growth from fur-trade pidgin to family and community creole language. 

On page 336, Halo Creek (Lane County) is said to be a creek with little to ‘no’ (halo) water at certain times of the year.

Page 361’s, Hiyu Mountain is said to be so named (‘much; plenty’) due to its large size — that’s plenty of mountain! A Hiyu Ridge is also noted.  

Found on page 363, Cap’s Illahee (‘Cap’s Place’) occurs in passing mention as spatial reference for the Hole in the Ground entry. 

On page 378, Ikt Butte is one of several named serially with CW numbers in Deschutes County, so this is ‘First Butte’. 

Illahe in Curry County, on the same page, is ‘land; earth’ or of course ‘place’. No historical reason for the name is presented. 

On page 380, memaloose illahe is brought up in reference to the Indian Beach entry (Clatsop County). The local Indians told Rodney L. Glisan in 1895 or so that there was a burial place here.

Page 382’s Ipsoot Butte in Klamath County is “hidden, or secluded”; McArthur cautions readers against confusing the name with itswoot ‘bear’. 

What do you think?