A Northwest Native American Nazi

Hat tip to Dr. David Lewis for sharing this article on Facebook.

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(Image credit: Crosscut)

I found Crosscut’s well-researched article on “Chief Red Cloud”, a Siletz citizen otherwise known to the White man as Elwood Tanner, totally engrossing. Go read it.

Two comments here on my language-oriented blog:

One is that Towner apparently bolstered his Indian credibility through public use of the Siletz Dee-ni (or Tolowa Athabaskan) language, as here: 

In another speech, Towner said the Jews were “chuck-na-gin,” which he claimed was an American Indian term for “children of Satan.”

That word resembles Siletz Dee-ni t(‘)et-naa-ghi / t(‘)et-naa-gha ‘devil’. Would the final -n be a form of the Athabaskan root (or suffix?) that means ‘people’? Maybe someone with more specialized knowledge can tell us more about that.

The other is that possibly he made similar use of Chinuk Wawa; the following may be a reporter’s distortion of CW’s important myth character t’álap(‘)as ‘Coyote’: 

He noted that “the Indians… have studied Hitler… (and) found him to be ‘Kulopus,’ (a wise leader, great, strong and courageous).”

That word does not resemble anything I find in the Siletz Dee-ni Talking Dictionary for ‘chief’, ‘leader’, etc. — nor for ‘coyote’ for that matter!

What do you think?