A KEY into the LANGUAGE of AMERICA or, An help to the Language of the Natives in that part of AMERICA, called NEW ENGLAND Roger Williams of Providence in New England London Printed By Gregory Dexter, 1643 EEBSCO Host – Early English Books The main document of the book is the preface of the book. Ommitted rest of the book, as this preface explains the author's attitude and views toward Natives Americans. To my Deare and Welbeloved Friends and Country-men, in old and new England A little Key may open a Box, where lies bunch of Keys. With this I have entredentered into the secrets of those Countries, where everevery English dwel about two hundred miles, betweene the French and Dutch Plantations; for want of this, I know what gross mis-takes my self and others have run into. There is a mixture of this Language North and South, from the place of my abode about six hundred miles; yet with- in the two hundred miles(aforementioned) their Dialects doedo exceedingly dif- fer; yet not so, but (within that compasse) a man may, by this helpe, converse with thousands of Natives all over the CountreyCountry: and by such converse it may please the Fa- ther of Mercies to spread civilitaecivility, (and in his owne ost holy season) ChristiantieChristianity; for one Candle will light ten thousand, and it may please God to bless a little Leaven to season the mightie Lump of those Peoples and Territories. It is expected, that having had to much converse with these Natives, I should write some litle of them. Concerning them (a little to gratifiegratify expectation) I shall touch upon four Heads: First, by what Names they are distin- guished Secondly, Their Originall and Descent. Thirdly, their Religion, Manners, Cu- stomes, &c& etc.. Fourthly, That great Point of their Con- version To the first, their Names are of two sorts: First, those of the English giving: as Na- tives, Salvages, Indians, Wild-men, (to the Dutch call them Wilden) Abergeny men, Pagans, Barbarians, Heathen. Secondly, their Names, which they give themselves. I cannot observe, that they ever had (before the commingcoming of the English, French, or Dutch amongst them) any Names to difference themselves from strangers, for they knew none; but two sorts of names they had, and have amongst themselves. First, generall, belong to all Natives as Nínnuock, Ninnimissinnûwock, Eniske- tompauwong which signifies Men, Folk, or People. Secondly, particular names, peculier to severall Nations, of them amongst them- selves, as Nahiggaëuck, Massachusêuck Cawasumseuck Cowwesēuck, Quintskoock Qunnipiëuck, Pequttióog, &c.& etc. They have often asked mee, why we call them Indians Natives, &c.& etc. And un- derstanding the reason, they will call themselves Indians, in opposition to English, &c.& etc. For the second Head proposed, their Originall and Decent. For Adam and Noah that they spring, it is granted on all hands. But for their later Decent, and whence they came into those pars, it seemes as hard to finde, as to find the Wellhead of some fresh Stream, which running many miles out of the Countrey to the salt Ocean hath met with many mixing Streames by the way. They say themselves, that they have sprung and growne up in that very place, like the very trees of the Wildernesse. They say that their Great God Cawtan- towwi created those parts, as I observed in the Chapter of their Religion. They have no Clothes, Bookes, nor Letters, and concieve their Fathers never had; and therefore they are easily persuaded that the God that made English men is a greater God, because Hee hath to richly en- dowed the English above themselves: But when they heare that about sixteen hun- dred yeeres ago, England and the Inha- bitans thereof were like unto themselves, and since they have recieved from God, Clothes, Bookes, &c. they are greatly affected with a secret hope concerning themselves. Wife and Judcious men, with whom I have discoursed, maintaine their Originall to be Northward from Tartaria: and at my now taking ship, at the Dutch Plantation, it pleased the Dutch Governour, (in some discourse with mee about the Natives), to draw their Line from Iceland, because the name Sackmakan (the name for an Indian Prince, about the Dutch) is the name for a Prince in Iceleand. Other opinions I could number up under favour I shall present (not mine opinion, but) my Observations to the judgement of the Wife. First, others (and my selve) have con- ceived some of their words to hold affini- tie with Hebrew. Secondly, they constaintly annoit their heads as the Jewes did. Thirdly, they give Dowries for their wives, as the Jewes did. Fourthly (and which I have not so ob- served amongst other Nations as amongst the Jewes, and these) they constantly se- perate their Women (during the time of their monthly sicknesse) in a little house alone by themselves foure or five dayes, and hold it an Irreligious thing for either Father or Husband or any Male to come neere them. They have often asked me if it bee so with women of other Nations, and whether they are so separated: and for their practice they plead Nature and Tradition. Yet againe I have found a greater Affinity of their Language with the Greeke Tongue. -------------------------------- Positive descriptive word used for Native Americans. Neutral descriptive word used for Native Americans. Negative descriptive word used for Native Americans. References to Native words or terminology. References to Native religion. References to colonial religion. Gendered language or references to gender. References to colonists/English ideas. References to Nature.