Originally posted on Aliens in This World:
Yup. Any Native American activist who tells you “squaw” is hate speech is a hater of the beauties of Native American languages.
“Sqw-” is a pretty common root in Algonquian languages for “woman.”
From The Lasting of the Mohegans, by Melissa Jayne Fawcett, via Language Log:
The Mohegan word for woman is “shquaaw” and red is “squayoh”. Blood is referred to as “(um) sque” which also has a related “squ” root. So is the name of Granny Squannit, leader of the Makiawisug (Little People of the Woodlands). The root of her name describes her very clearly. “Squa” mean woman, blood, red, or of the earth. The root “anit” comes from “manit” or “Manitou”, often spelled as “mundu” is Mohegan-Pequot, which means Spirit. Therefore, Granny Squannit’s name means “Spirit Woman” and implies a connection to the earth and blood.
The reason that English and French speakers called Native American…
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