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Chonmonicase or Shaumonekusse, Otto Half Chief

In the progress of our work we have found no small difficulty in settling the orthography of proper names. Not only are the Indian languages unwritten, but the interpreters, through whom most of our information is necessarily communicated, are illiterate persons, who arbitrarily affix to words the pronunciation which suits their own fancy, or which accords best with their own national or local idiom. Thus the Indians, who call themselves Saukies, are denominated Sacs by the French, and Sauk by the Americans; and the names of many of the chiefs are given with such variations by different travelers that it is sometimes difficult to recognize them. The names which are attached to the portraits in this work are, with a few exceptions, those which we found written upon them in the gallery at the War Office, and which were dictated by the per sons who attended the chiefs as interpreters, in their visit to Washington. Whether they have been changed in copying we cannot say; but some of them are evidently incorrect. We have, however, in most cases, left them unaltered, preferring to make our corrections in the biographical notices, rather than alter that which may have been written on authority better than our own. Whether the individual now before us should be called Chonmonicase, or Shaumonekusse is a question which we suppose will never excite as much curiosity as has been awakened by the rival claims for the birth-place of Homer; we have, nevertheless, taken some pains “to arrive at the proper reading, and have adopted the latter, on the authority of the writers of Long’s First Expedition...

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