“O-hi-o!” At’s how sed it: American Indian Poetry from Changing Is Not Vanishing

Changing Is Not VanishingBertrand N. O. Walker is the third poet featured our September blog series marking the paperback release of Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930, edited by Robert Dale Parker. Walker was born around 1870 in what is now Kansas. He published his poems under his Wyandot name, Hen-toh. In his later works "Hen-toh adopted the patterns of speech he heard among Wyandot speakers whose English sometimes drew on Wyandot grammar," says Parker. This poem first appeared in 1924, three years before Walker's death.

Wyandot Names

“O-he-zhuh”! ’Ats how sed it, Wyandots;
“O-hee-oh”! ’At’s how say, Frenchman;
“O-hi-o’!” At’s how sed it, Long Knives;
    ’An’ it’s mean, beautiful riva’.

“To-roon-toh”! ’At’s what say, ol’ Wyandots;
“To-ron-toh”! ’At’s what call it, French;
“To-ron-to”! ’At’s what say, British;
    An’ it’s mean, great rock standing.

“Sci-non-to”! It’s that way in Wyandot;
“Sci-yun-toh”! ’At’s what sed, French; 10
“Sci-o-to”! ’At’s how sed Long Knives;
    ’An’ it’s mean, plenty deer.

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