First Book to Discuss American Indian Place Names in Southern New England Released

Top Quote Understanding Indian Places Names in Southern New England is the first book to provide a method and process for interpreting regional American Indian place names. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) December 27, 2010 - Bauu Institute and Press, a leading research institute and publisher of books, news, and information on indigenous peoples around the world is pleased to announce the publication of Understanding Indian Place Names in Southern New England. On the occasion Director Peter N. Jones, Ph.D. explained the importance of the publication: "American Indian names are prevalent throughout southern New England, yet until now there has been no comprehensive book that covers them and their meaning. With this book once again American Indian place names are given their proper due."

    In New England, American Indian people have left their ancient footprints in many of the current names for mountains, rivers, lakes, animals, fish, cities, towns, and byways. The first English settlers, who put most of the American Indian words on the map, borrowed names from local tribes. In the process, they often misheard, mispronounced, or misreported what they heard - that is how the place Wequapaugset was given as Boxet or how Musquompskut became Swampscott.

    In many cases the Indian terms have changed so much over time that linguists are unable to recognize the original spelling and meaning. Others have tried their hand at translations, and have come up with fanciful interpretations that are incorrect, but that have stood the test of time. On the East Coast, the Native cultures and their Algonquian tongues had long faded before most scholarly studies began, so a great many translations of place names often represent a scholar's best guess.
    In this landmark volume, Dr. Frank Waabu O'Brien of the Aquidneck Indian Council, provides the first indigenous method and process for interpreting regional American Indian place names. Included is a dictionary of the most common misspellings, along with numerous examples of the Indian place names for Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Based on years of research, Understanding Indian Place Names is a landmark publication.

    "With the publication of this book, the importance and contributions of American Indians to the places of southern New England are once again honored" commented Dr. Jones. "This is not only part of American Indian history, but also that of the United States, and Dr. O'Brien has demonstrated just how many of the place names we associate with today are derived from American Indian names and words." Information on the book can be found here:

    The Bauu Institute and Press is a science and applied research institute. Since 1998 the Institute has conducted a wide range of environmental, psychological, and social science projects. The Institute works on a range of local, state, federal, and tribal based levels, and is especially adept at working with indigenous peoples.

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