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Old 01-26-2020, 10:08 PM   #1
Woodly
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Meaning of 'Adirondack'

Usually the definition of 'Adirondack' is 1. 'Bark Eater' but there have been others and many years ago I read where it meant 2. Eater of mucus' or 'Mucus eater' [seriously].
Maybe 'mucus' meant 'inner bark' who the heck knows?
But anyways does anyone know the name of the book I read the 2nd definition in?
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:30 PM   #2
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Never heard that one but I’ve heard the bark eater meaning , must come from Iroquois language which I believe was Algonquin? Not sure . I’m sure that even then, survival was tough up in the ‘Dacks , even for the Iroquois so they probably referred to tribes that made permananent residence up there as “ bark eaters “ cuz there’s not much to eat in the winter except bark and , since winter lasts for 6 months in the Adirondacks , that’s fully half the year !!!
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:41 AM   #3
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Thanks for the comment.
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Old 08-12-2020, 05:03 PM   #4
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What I would Like to know was how it was pronounced in the Algonquin language ��
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Old 08-12-2020, 05:11 PM   #5
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Web Search returned this, interesting.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/533802.pdf
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Old 08-12-2020, 05:29 PM   #6
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"Ha-De-Ron-Dah". I believe it was a derogatory term used by the Iroquois toward the Algonquin (or vice versa). The white man bastardized the native pronunciation to become "Adirondack".

Hence the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:26 PM   #7
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Ha-De-Ron-Dah sounds/looks very much like Iroquois, but I don't really have much reference to Algonquin.

The Mohawk would have controlled most of the Adirondack region though, and they were part of the Five Nations, so it would make more sense the Algonquin called the Mohawk this, although as I seem to faintly remember, it was what the western Iroquois called the Mohawk.
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILikeRocks View Post
Web Search returned this, interesting.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/533802.pdf
Nice reference , very interesting , thanks 😊
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:44 PM   #9
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Did the Mohawks keep any written Historical records ? It would be interesting if they did because I , too, believe they most likely had the lost control over the Adirondacks over any other tribe extant at the time due to their proximity
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Old 08-12-2020, 08:19 PM   #10
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I don't think the Mohawk had a written language. If they did, they would have used a form of Cherokee, apparently, but I don't think it really spread this far north.

Everything they did was by oral tradition. This was primitive to Europeans, but apparently the French did make a written version of Mohawk. It would be much like anglicizing Iroquois.

So anyway, I think the point is anything we know about them would have been what was written by early French and English encounters, and whatever they may have translated from their language.
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Old 08-18-2020, 07:49 AM   #11
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I doubt there were any permanent Mohawk settlements in the ADKs. . I believe they lived in the Mohawk Valley. The ADKs were hunting and fishing grounds. Just like Tug Hill the Oneida’s only used Tug Hill for their hunting and fishing grounds, but did not live there year around. I believe both tribes had a hard enough time surviving winters in the valley ? The main reason the Oneida’s came to Tug Hill was to fish for Atlantic Salmon in the east Branch of Fish Creek. A great read about the Mohawks and other NY tribes is, Johnson of the Mohawks, by Arthur Pound.
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Old 08-18-2020, 08:36 AM   #12
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TH - you are probably correct about this.

Even in western and central NY, most of the settlements were in the flatlands north of the lakes, where it was much easier to farm.

The Iroquois weren't stupid, they didn't try to farm the rocky hills south of the Finger Lakes, they kept these areas as hunting ground. I've seen old maps from some of the first white explorers in those areas that show that all being "wilderness" as they denoted.

I'm sure the Adirondack region was the same way. But I do believe the Mohawk were the tribe that mainly controlled that area.
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Old 08-18-2020, 10:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Northcountryman View Post
Did the Mohawks keep any written Historical records ? It would be interesting if they did because I , too, believe they most likely had the lost control over the Adirondacks over any other tribe extant at the time due to their proximity
IIRC (from my elementary school days) the closest the Mohawks and other Iroquois tribes had to a non-oral historical record was in the beadwork used to decorate bags, pouches, belts etc... The bead work was often a reminder of a story or a cultural or religious belief. These could then be used by an elder to tell the story or pass on the cultural or spiritual beliefs to the next generations.
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Old 08-18-2020, 11:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
TH - you are probably correct about this.

Even in western and central NY, most of the settlements were in the flatlands north of the lakes, where it was much easier to farm.

The Iroquois weren't stupid, they didn't try to farm the rocky hills south of the Finger Lakes, they kept these areas as hunting ground. I've seen old maps from some of the first white explorers in those areas that show that all being "wilderness" as they denoted.

I'm sure the Adirondack region was the same way. But I do believe the Mohawk were the tribe that mainly controlled that area.
Like European nations of that era, American Indian nations were constantly rising and falling, their borders constantly changing.

Throughout the 17th and 18th Century, The Iroquoian Five/Six Nations Confederacy, led by the strongest and most populous tribe, the Mohawk, were in a perpetual battle with the Algonquin-speaking tribes of the St. Lawrence Valley. Most of that fighting took place in the Champlain Valley, the main artery connecting the two nations' territories. One of the first things Champlain did in the New World was join the Algonquin in a battle against the Mohawk on the shore of his namesake lake.

From the time of European contact through the American Revolution, the Mohawk seemed to have dominated nearly the entire northeast, with near-constant raiding of Algonquin and French settlements. I've never seen it explicitly stated, but I would guess the Mohawk dominated the entire Adirondack Park at their height of power. I.e., if you were a stranger traveling through any given point within the blue line, you would be better off knowing how to speak Mohawk than Algonquin. (The Mohawk were infamous at that time and place for torturing their prisoners to death).

The Adirondacks were not as desirable as the surrounding low-lying territories, but they still had their use. Not only were borders constantly in flux, but the environment itself, and consequently the areas that were put to use, were in flux. I haven't read much on pre-European North American Indians, but from the little I know, I believe the five nations originally came from elsewhere on the continent. Likewise, the five nations became the six nations by adopting the Tuscarora people as they fled North Carolina in the early 18th Century.

As the five nations settled in New York and farmed and hunted the land, they began to deplete the resources, in particular wild game. Consequently, they needed to start moving further and further into the mountain wilderness to find deer. (The Iroquois were both an agricultural and hunter society; the women planted while the men hunted and fished; the English tried to turn them entirely into a planting society, which some historians credit for their loss of power, having lost their warfare skills when they lost their hunting tradition). This explains why a 17th or 18th Century English map designates the Adirondacks "deer hunting country," despite the fact that today's valleys and farmland have way higher densities than the Adirondacks and other inhospitable mountain environments.


Sources:

- Mohawk Baronet, by James Thomas Flexner
- Voyages of Samuel De Champlain, 1604-1618 (Champlain's journals)
- In Mohawk Country: Early Narratives about a Native People, ed. by Dean Snow, et al.
- Island at the Center of the World, by Russell Shorto
- A Description of New Netherland, by Adriaen van der Donck
- A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635: The Journal of Harmen Meyndertz van den Bogaert, ed. by Charles T. Gehring et al.
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Old 08-18-2020, 11:43 AM   #15
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And to address the original question, it makes sense that the Iroquois would have a derogatory name for their enemies to the north that would come to be the English name for these mountains. That name may have taken hold before the Iroquois came to dominate the area.
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Old 08-18-2020, 12:34 PM   #16
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From what I read in the book, Johnson of the Mohawks, the Iroquois lost their power from making poor alliance choices. First they allied with the English instead of the French in the seven years war. The British were in it for exploiting and colonizing Iroquois land, where on the other hand the French were mainly interested in exploiting the resources, and not colonizing. So native Americans would probably been better served if the French had won.

Then came the American Revolution, I’m pretty sure all of the Iroquois federation except for the Oneida’s, sided with the British. Again another bad choice for most of the Iroquois.
Another historic fact of the battle of Oriskany, it was the first time in many decades that Iroquois shed Iroquois blood. There were Oneida warriors with Gen Herkimer and Mohawks with the Torries . Because the Oneida’s were allied with the victors, today they are the riches tribe of the Iroquois nation. Made possible by their land claim treaty , Washington granting them all lands west of Fort Stanwix to be forever Oneida Lands, and the Turning Stone Casino.
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Old 08-18-2020, 03:31 PM   #17
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Very cool stuff, TH. I haven't read much about Indian history during and after the revolution. I have a book on Joseph Brant that I'll get to eventually.

To explain that theory about losing warfare abilities: I think the book Mohawk Baronet posed it as a more macro explanation for the decline of the Iroquois, to explain how their power and numbers declined over several generations and put them in increasingly exploitative positions by the Europeans.
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Old 08-18-2020, 04:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SacandagaSchout View Post
Like European nations of that era, American Indian nations were constantly rising and falling, their borders constantly changing.

Throughout the 17th and 18th Century, The Iroquoian Five/Six Nations Confederacy, led by the strongest and most populous tribe, the Mohawk, were in a perpetual battle with the Algonquin-speaking tribes of the St. Lawrence Valley. Most of that fighting took place in the Champlain Valley, the main artery connecting the two nations' territories. One of the first things Champlain did in the New World was join the Algonquin in a battle against the Mohawk on the shore of his namesake lake.

From the time of European contact through the American Revolution, the Mohawk seemed to have dominated nearly the entire northeast, with near-constant raiding of Algonquin and French settlements. I've never seen it explicitly stated, but I would guess the Mohawk dominated the entire Adirondack Park at their height of power. I.e., if you were a stranger traveling through any given point within the blue line, you would be better off knowing how to speak Mohawk than Algonquin. (The Mohawk were infamous at that time and place for torturing their prisoners to death).

The Adirondacks were not as desirable as the surrounding low-lying territories, but they still had their use. Not only were borders constantly in flux, but the environment itself, and consequently the areas that were put to use, were in flux. I haven't read much on pre-European North American Indians, but from the little I know, I believe the five nations originally came from elsewhere on the continent. Likewise, the five nations became the six nations by adopting the Tuscarora people as they fled North Carolina in the early 18th Century.

As the five nations settled in New York and farmed and hunted the land, they began to deplete the resources, in particular wild game. Consequently, they needed to start moving further and further into the mountain wilderness to find deer. (The Iroquois were both an agricultural and hunter society; the women planted while the men hunted and fished; the English tried to turn them entirely into a planting society, which some historians credit for their loss of power, having lost their warfare skills when they lost their hunting tradition). This explains why a 17th or 18th Century English map designates the Adirondacks "deer hunting country," despite the fact that today's valleys and farmland have way higher densities than the Adirondacks and other inhospitable mountain environments.


Sources:

- Mohawk Baronet, by James Thomas Flexner
- Voyages of Samuel De Champlain, 1604-1618 (Champlain's journals)
- In Mohawk Country: Early Narratives about a Native People, ed. by Dean Snow, et al.
- Island at the Center of the World, by Russell Shorto
- A Description of New Netherland, by Adriaen van der Donck
- A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635: The Journal of Harmen Meyndertz van den Bogaert, ed. by Charles T. Gehring et al.
Great post and thanks for the sources cited ; weren’t the Iroquois originally an offshoot of the Algonquin ? I thought their language was considered to be Algonquin derived
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Old 08-18-2020, 04:48 PM   #19
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I believe the population of the Senecas was larger than the Mohawks in the 1700s.

Nice responses everyone. Thanks. I hope they continue.
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Old 08-18-2020, 07:51 PM   #20
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Although the Iroquois did slash and burn, the amount of land they cleared is no where what is now open pasture in NY currently.

Just look at the satellite photos and you can see exactly how densely forested most portions of the state are. Currently we only have the Adirondacks, Tug Hill, Catskills, Bristol Hills, some of central NY and the southern tier near Alleghany that are densely forested. The rest is a mix of cleared agricultural land and woodland. If we were to look at an aerial map during Iroquois times, the spots of mixed land would be much smaller.

My whole point on this is, mixed land generally supports more deer than dense forest due to resources. The Iroquois probably easily extinguished their closest deer populations that would have threatened their corn crop and had to push into the heavily forested "wilderness" areas to hunt where the deer population per acre would be even lower, and therefor hunting more difficult.

The Finger Lakes provided a natural highway for them though and they had outpost up and down the lakes, although most permanent settlements were north where the farm land was.

The Adirondacks have these highways as well but the lakes are smaller and have long carries to get in between bodies of water that would have been harder to clear than those down south where the forest is less mixed Boreal and more temperate hardwood forest type. In short, I think the Finger Lakes region, which is where most of the 5 nations population was located (not just the Mohawk tribe) had much greater access to more wilderness lands and much easier terrain to deal with.
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