The Red Score: The Migration


After the Deluge the Lenape abandoned the “land of snow” in search of “warmer lands”.

The Lenape migration began with a journey over the frozen, slippery, stone-hard, tidal sea.

The waters having disappeared, the home of the tribe is described as in a cold northern clime.

This they concluded to leave in search of warmer lands.


After the rushing waters (had subsided) the Lenape of the turtle were close together, in hollow houses, living together there.

It freezes where they abode, it snows where they abode, it storms where they abode, it is cold where they abode.

At this northern place they speak favorably of mild, cool (lands), with many deer and buffaloes.

As they journeyed, some being strong, some rich, they separated into house-builders and hunters;

The strongest, the most united, the purest, were the hunters.

The hunters showed themselves at the north, at the east, at the south, at the west.

In that ancient country, in that northern country,
in that turtle country, the best of the Lenape were the Turtle men.

All the cabin fires of that land were disquieted, and all said to their priest, ” Let us go.”

To the Snake land to the east they went forth, going away, earnestly grieving.

Split asunder, weak, trembling, their land burned,
they went, torn and broken, to the Snake Island.

Those from the north being free, without care,
went forth from the land of snow, in different directions.

The fathers of the Bald Eagle and the White Wolf remain along the sea, rich in fish and muscles.

Floating up the streams in their canoes, our fathers were rich, they were in the light, when they were at those islands.

Head Beaver and Big Bird said, “Let us go to Snake Island,” they said.

All say they will go along to destroy all the land.

Those of the north agreed,
Those of the east agreed.
Over the water, the frozen sea, They went to enjoy it.

On the wonderful, slippery water,
On the stone-hard water all went,
On the great Tidal Sea, the muscle-bearing sea.

Ten thousand at night, All in one night, To the Snake Island, to the east, at night, They walk and walk, all of them.

The men from the north, the east, the south, The Eagle clan, the Beaver clan, the Wolf clan,
The best men, the rich men, the head men, Those with wives, those with daughters, those with dogs,

They all come, they tarry at the land of the spruce pines ;
Those from the west come with hesitation,
Esteeming highly their old home at the Turtle land.

The Lenape and their Legends – Daniel Garrison Brinton – 1885

The Lenape thus became the “grandfathers” of the Algonquian-speaking peoples in America.

The Leni Lenape or Lenape, or in older references, the Delaware people (or nation) are a Native American tribe and in Canada, a recognized First Nations band government.

They are also called Delaware Indians and their historical territory included present day New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania along the Delaware River watershed, western Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley.
Among many Algonquian peoples along the East Coast, the Lenape were considered the “grandfathers” from whom other Algonquian-speaking peoples originated.

And the Lenape weren’t the only people who walked “over the ice” to North America.

Thus end these interesting and positive ancient traditions, by a fine poem on the passage to America over the ice ; the Shawanis have a similar poem : the Illinois had also one, and almost every Linapi tribe.

They are perhaps lost ; but this being at last rescued, will preserve the memory for ever.

The American Nations – Constantine Samuel Rafinesque – Volume One – 1836

But where exactly the Lenape walked “over the ice” from is a mystery…

The initial [annotated] English translation of the same lines by Constantine Rafinesque [1836] is [again] verbose when compared with Daniel Brinton’s translation [1885].

After the flood, the manly men Linapewi, with the manly turtle beings dwelt close together at the cave house, and dwelling of Talli.

It freezes was there, it snows was there, it is cold was there.
… … … … …
To possess mild coldness and much game, they go to the northerly plain, to hunt cattle they go.

To be strong and to be rich the comers divided into tillers and hunters.
Wikhichik, Elowi-chik.

The most strong, the most good, the most holy, the hunters they are.

And the hunters spread themselves, becoming northerlings, easterlings, southerlings, westerlings.
Lowaniwi, Wapaniwi, Shawaniwi, Wunkeniwi.

Thus the white country Lumonaki, north of the turtle country, became the hunting country of the turtling true men.

Meantime all the snakes were afraid in their huts, and the snake priest Nakopowa said to all, let us go.

Easterly they go forth at Snakeland Akhokink, arid they went away earnestly grieving.

Thus escaping by going so far, and by trembling the burnt land Lusasaki is torn and is broken from the snake fortified land. Akomenaki

Being free, having no trouble, the northerlings all go out, separating, at the land of Snow Winiaken.

The fish resort to the shores of the gaping sea, where tarried the fathers of white eagle and white wolf.
Waplanewa, Waptumewi.

While our fathers were always boating and navigating, they saw in the east that the snake land was bright and wealthy.

(Here begins a fine poetical rhyming narrative).

The head-beaver Wihlamok, and the big-bird Kicholen, were saying to all, let us go to the Snake Island Akomen.

By going with us, we shall annihilate all the snaking people, Wemaken.

Having all agreed, the northerlings and easterlings, went over the water of the frozen sea to possess that land.

It was wonderful when they all went over the smooth deep water of the frozen sea, at the gap of the Snake sea in the great ocean.

They were ten thousand in the dark, who all go forth in a single night in the dark, to the Snake island of the eastern land Wapanaki in the Dark, by walking all the people.

They were the manly north, the manly east, the manly south ; with manly eagle, manly beaver, manly wolf; with manly hunter, manly priest, manly rich; with manly wife, manly daughter, manly dog.

(12 words all homophonous rhymes.)

All coming there, they tarry at Firland Shinaking.
But the western men doubtful of the passage, preferred to remain at the old turtle land.

The American Nations – Constantine Samuel Rafinesque – Volume One – 1836

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3 Responses to The Red Score: The Migration

  1. remnant13 says:

    Just an FYI out to Malaga Bay about Otto von Sadovszky, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus who published “The Discovery of California: A Cal-Ugrian Comparative Study” (1996), elaborating on his discovered link between the Penutian language group of Central California and the Ural-Altaic family (Siberia). Perhaps his research may be unknown as he was somewhat of an obscure figure and not well-received in the “scientific” community for reasons including his claim that ancestors of some California tribes arrived in America only 3,000 years ago?

    Personally, I simply remember a fascinating professor who could speak nearly two hundred languages, including a few so-called “dead” ones. He was an honorable man with an impressive and jovial character who is held in high esteem by many.

  2. malagabay says:

    Thank you for the introduction.

  3. Pingback: The Red Score: Otto von Sadovszky | MalagaBay

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