Shout Box

Who's Online
0 registered (), 10 Guests and 1 Spider online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#17598 - 01/03/06 09:17 PM Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06
yorick Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: hamlet\'s hand
Lord knows what I'm setting myself up for with this crowd, but hey, ya gotta put it out there.

I've recorded a short essay on the etymology and pronunciations of Shawangunk for WAMC/NPR Albany, 90.9 or 90.3 FM locally. It will air tomorrow morning at 10:35. There is also a live feed at www.wamc.org/roundtable, where it will be archived afterwards. Click on "Roundtable Interviews/Congressional Corner," link to the right of the page.
_________________________
Shongum ain\'t Indian,
it\'s Shawank-unk.

Top
#17599 - 01/03/06 09:34 PM Re: Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06 [Re: yorick]
GeeVee Offline
Auto Reply

Registered: 11/14/00
Posts: 4403
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Good work Chris. Any idea if it will get picked up by NPR nationally? It's always amusing to hear someone you know on the radio.
_________________________
So long as you can boogie you ain't too old.

Top
#17600 - 01/04/06 01:53 AM Re: Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06 [Re: GeeVee]
yorick Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: hamlet\'s hand
Nah. It's far too provincial a subject. I know four others who have recorded essays for WAMC. One of them has done nine. They're a dime-a-dozen.
_________________________
Shongum ain\'t Indian,
it\'s Shawank-unk.

Top
#17601 - 01/04/06 03:58 PM Re: Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06 [Re: yorick]
oenophore Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5962
Loc: 212 land
I liked your essay; well said and well spoken. All I'd read, including guidebooks, the WPA Federal Writers Project Guide to New York, etc. led me to believe that the proper pronunciation of Shawangunk is shongum. Could it be that all the above writers took information from the same erroneous source? Since, I suppose, there is no "horse's mouth" on the subject, there must be a source or sources more authoritative than the rest. Might you give us a bibliography here?
_________________________

Top
#17602 - 01/04/06 07:14 PM Re: Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06 [Re: oenophore]
yorick Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: hamlet\'s hand
Thank you, MJ. I thought I commited the worst offense for a reader, the kind of thing I'm always chafing about at live readings - a flat and unanimated performance - and I wished I'd pushed for a loosened-up second take.

Marc Fried has 9 pages on Shawangunk in the opening of his new book, Shawangunk Place-Names, which you can pick up at some bookstores in the region, including the Preseve's gift shop. He self-publishes. I can PM you his address if you'd like.

I also have an essay I published several places last year which I can forward to you. They're not on-line. PM me if you're interested. I updated the Name section on Wikipedia under Shawangunk Ridge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawangunk_Ridge

That's it for the updated material. Marc and I were working independently, tracking down the same sources simultaneously. It's curious how that happened. There are other recent sources, but they all cite much older work from EM Ruttenber's 1906 Indian Geographical Names or his earlier The Indians of Hudson's River; and a paper from the 1860's by the Reverand Charles Scott for the Ulster County Historical Society.

We were fortunate to find the linguist Raymond Whritenour, who's unequivocal about the Lenape pronunciation. He provided Shawangunk's part of speech, the "in the smoky air" translation, and is as close to the horse's mouth as you're going to find anywhere. The surviving Lenape from Oklahoma and Ontario (there's a discussion board at lenapeindians.com), and places like the Smithsonian, rely on him.

Marc remains a fervent advocate of SHONG-gum based on its vernacular longevity.
_________________________
Shongum ain\'t Indian,
it\'s Shawank-unk.

Top
#17603 - 01/04/06 07:45 PM Re: Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06 [Re: yorick]
d-elvis Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/26/00
Posts: 3650
Loc: Central PA
Very well done
_________________________
"Marriage Survivor"

Top
#17604 - 01/06/06 03:31 PM Re: Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06 [Re: yorick]
crackers Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: pdx
cheers dude!

Top
#17605 - 01/13/06 05:51 PM Re: Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06 [Re: crackers]
Frank Florence Offline
addict

Registered: 01/05/00
Posts: 528
Loc: moved to Bend
I just listened to the podcast of this essay. Nice piece of work, Chris. And it’s great to see your references in your reply to oenophore. I hope that information made it into print in the written essays you referred to.

Have you approached DW about putting this in his next guide (presumably, the one for the Nears)? Or any trail guide/nature guide authors? Your research has value; it would be nice to see it preserved in one or more of the local guide books. Another thread has recently suggested that Dumais' table top book is going to be reprinted with revisions. I don't know if this is true, but perhaps you could make him aware of this essay, in any case.

Top
#17606 - 01/14/06 03:03 PM Re: Shawangunk radio essay, 1/4/06 [Re: Frank Florence]
yorick Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: hamlet\'s hand
Thank you for the suggestions, Frank. Yes, I included a survey of the previously documented work on the pronunciations and translations in the essay.

I've used the NPR piece as a reminder to folks that new sources have been published within the last year. I've contacted all of the ridge organizations and local libraries as well as several journalists who cover the ridge, and pointed them to Marc's book and my essays. I contacted the NY/NJ Trail Conference who publish the ridge hiking maps, and their map person says they'll include the new information in their next printing. I learned about a month ago that the Dumais book was being re-issued: too late to get anything in there. The research was completed by the time the Trapps guide was in production, but Dick and Gregory were so deep into the editing and layout sweating their deadline, that I didn't want to burden them with another detail. An opportunity may be there for the Nears guide.

And, I'm not going anywhere, so every chance I get I'll be out there beating the bushes and republishing.


_________________________
Shongum ain\'t Indian,
it\'s Shawank-unk.

Top
#17607 - 02/22/06 08:21 PM Shawangunk radio essay text [Re: yorick]
yorick Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: hamlet\'s hand
The essay has rotated out of The Roundtable's archives, so here's the text, edited slightly from the original. It was adapted from pieces I did last year for The Shawangunk Conservancy's Spring newsletter, the Summer edition of Ridgelines, and the Autumn issue of The Weekender magazine. WAMC has invited me to become a regular contributor. For supporting my writing and for offering me the opportunity to challenge a fiercely intransigent misnomer, I have extended my gratitude to these medias. Thanks also to everyone on the site who dropped me an encouraging note...

Here in Ulster County, there is a ridge that rises between its lush and lovely river basins, curling up to quartzite crags that stretch down the crest of the ridge like breakers along a petrified wave. The crags are North America’s busiest rock climbing destination. Peregrine falcons jet the cragline, scorching awe in their slipstreams. Coyote track along the ridge’s glacial lakes and yawning waterfalls. Black bear scats mound among its blueberry ledges. Rumors of phantom mountain lions haunt its pitch pine barrens – an environment more rare to mountain ridges than the big cat is to the eastern seaboard.

It is a landscape all together precious, and to some, pound for pound, it is the most beautiful place on Earth. In the indigenous Munsee Lenape tongue, the name of the ridge is Shawangunk.

But ask librarians, historians, and the administrators who manage the 40,000 protected acres of the ridge, and you will hear – as I heard it pronounced recently on WAMC (and often with a scolding piety) – that the ridge is called the SHONG-gums. Many insist that SHONG-gum is Lenape, because brow-beating the ignorant with the received word trumps doing a little homework.

In September of 1663, the Dutch raided and torched a Munsee fort at the eastern base of the ridge – a massacre ending the Second Esopus War – which effectively opened the mid-Hudson interior to European colonization. In land deeds following the massacre, nearly a dozen three-syllable variations of Shawangunk were recorded for adjacent parcels. By the early 1700s, the name had spread from the valley to the ridge.

As historian Marc Fried has noted, colonists began to truncate Shawangunk – like Worcester or Gloucester – into SHONG-gum. Its Lenape lineage was contrived and championed by 19th century researchers, teachers, and preachers who never considered, or ignored, the original deeds. Masquerading as native, SHONG-gum emerged as another European victor in the skirmishes of culture.

New research has found that Shawangunk means “in the smoky air.” The Lenape linguist Raymond Whritenour suggests the name derives from the impression the fort’s torching left on the surviving natives. This poignant narrative exists from the ashes of that massacre:

“When the Dutch troops left it, it was a terrible picture of desolation. The huts had been burned, the bodies of the Indians who had been killed and thrown into the corn pits had been unearthed by wolves and their skeletons left to bleach on the plain, with here and there the half eaten body of a child. For years it was a fable told to children that the place was haunted by the ghosts of the slain….”

“In the smoky air” rekindles like an elegy for the indigenous souls who left us this precious place. Does Shawangunk not deserve the dignity of its Munsee Lenape pronunciation?
_________________________
Shongum ain\'t Indian,
it\'s Shawank-unk.

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >


Moderator:  webmaster 
Sponsored