Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
October 2004

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia





[This text was originally published in 1907 by the Bureau of American Ethnology as part of its Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. It was later reproduced, in 1913, by the Geographic Board of Canada. The work done by the American Bureau was monumental, well informed and incorporated the most advanced scholarship available at the time. In many respects, the information is still useful today, although prudence should be exercised and the reader should consult some of the contemporary texts on the history and the anthropology of the North American Indians suggested in the bibliographic introduction to this section. The articles were not completely devoid of the paternalism and the prejudices prevalent at the time. While some of the terminology used would not pass the test of our "politically correct" era, most terms have been left unchanged by the editor. If a change in the original text has been effected it will be found between brackets [.] The original work contained long bibliographies that have not been reproduced for this web edition. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]



Ontwaganha. An Iroquois term, having here the phonetics of the Onondaga dialect, and freely rendered 'one utters unintelligible speech,' hence approximately synonymous with 'alien,' 'foreigner.' Its literal meaning is 'one rolls (or gulps) his words or speech.' This epithet was originally applied in ridicule of the speech of the Algonquian tribes, which to Iroquois ears was uncouth, particularly to the northern and western tribes of this stock, the Chippewa, Ottawa, Miami or Twightwigh, Missisauga, Shawnee, the "Far Indians" including the Amikwa (or Neghkariage (of two castles), the Ronowadainie, Onnighsiesanairone, Sikajienatroene or "Eagle People," Tionontati (only by temporary association with the foregoing), Chickasaw (?), Mascoutens (?), Ronatewisichroone, and Awighsachroene. Thus the term was consistently applied to tribes dwelling in widely separated localities. Sometimes, but rarely, it may have been confounded in use with Tsaganha, or Agotsaganha, which had a similar origin but was applied to a different group of Algonquian tribes.


Return to the Index page of Indians of Canada and Quebec

Source: James WHITE, ed., Handbook of Indians of Canada, Published as an Appendix to the Tenth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa, 1913, 632p., p. 370.



© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College