The news from the USA today is about elections. Except that it’s not news. It’s just information from the four compass points that give us the English word. North includes the rust belt where the action is likely to be in Wisconsin and Michigan. East ranges down to the stroke belt but includes Pennsylvania where voting angst is normal. South includes the sun belt and the demographically changed golf resort called Arizona. And way out West, California is a dominant state that could have the 5th biggest economy in the world, were the most populous state to secede. That state economy is bigger than India’s and it’s running a citizen for VPotus. A citizen with ancestral roots in India.
Whatever about leaving a place, imagine how it must feel to have your country taken from you. I hadn’t properly understood that the native Americans lost more than their country when they lost their lands. It’s easy to see that their lands and their way of life were not respected as the swarms of immigrants opened the country for their own settlements. It’s far harder to recognise that the indigenous peoples lost huge chunks of their language as well as their culture because so much of their folklore was based on topographic features from where they we dispossessed.
Some say that there is an indigenous legacy from the names in many of the current names. Topeka in Kansas for example covers two examples. The Kansa tribe would have directed people to topeka because it was a good place to dig wild potatoes and that’s what topeka means in the Kansa language.
Back east, across the Mississippi, Georgia was named by ‘Europeans’ for the British King George II in 1733. The etymology of the local Okefenokee Swamp has been lost in translation but it’s thought that an elder of the Hitchiti tribe might have known it as the place of bubbling water, our translation for okefenokee.
Talking of swamps, it seems that not all swamps have been drained as was planned after the last US presidential campaign. We’ll know soon if that was ever important.