301-398 Kindle Edition
by James Mooney (Author)
Just Be aware:
MOONEY did NOT get everything right.....
Mooney translated this word ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ /unelanvhi/ as "SUN".
But is that correct?
The answer comes back, from the Cherokee people themselves: "NO!"
Elders have repeatedly said this for years (but is anyone listening??!!)
"MOONEY WAS WRONG!"
The First time we were told this was by elders in Big Cove.
Then, we heard it from a fluent speaker who was presenting at a Museum event in Cherokee, NC.
Next, we heard it again, this time at a gathering in Snowbird.
So, we initiated conversation about it and we began asking and everywhere we went (Yellowhill, Birdtown, Wolfetown, Soco, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, etc) and fluent speaking elder's everywhere agreed:
"Mooney was mistaken."
Then, we found it in books and publications.
Worcester wrote about it. In his correspondence (letters) and in the printed articles as well, he assigned a different meaning than Mooney had to the name ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ.
Also, apparently, he, and others, became satisfied enough with what they learned about the name ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ to use the name ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ in the translation of the Scriptures into the Cherokee Bible.
Then, we also uncovered some writings and publications by Jack Frederick Kilpatrick and his wife Anna Gritts Kilpatrick (a descendant of Sequoyah) that said it very clearly:
"while the manuscript medico-religious literature indisputably proves the contention of Mooney and Olbrechts (the Swimmer Manuscript, p. 20) that the aboriginal Cherokees believed in a Supreme Being, it offers little in support of THEIR equation of this Force with the sun.THEIR [Mooney/Olbrechts] translation of une:hlanv':hi, the most commonly employed designation for the Supreme Being as "He has apportioined, allotted, divided into equal parts," which, say they, is in reference to the "time-dividing role of the sun," is, like many another of their translations: FAULTY. The term comes from the verb "to provide." While upon other occasions we have followed the precedent of Mooney and Olbrechts in their use of "apportioner," this would appear to be as good a time as any for correcting an error that has existed for far too long-- hence, "Provider," as seen above."
~Walk In Your Soul, page 72-73, Jack Frederick Kilpatrick & Anna Gritts Kilpatrick, 1965, second printing 1982
SOURCE: Jack Frederick Kilpatrick & Anna Gritts Kilpatrick, published
How did Mooney happen to get it so wrong?
One elder's theory or explantion ran like this:
"Well, we often try to explain who Creator is by giving stories or examples found around us.Creator is a being like us in some ways, but very unlike anything else.We say Creator measures out our life and plans for us during our journey here in this place and we compare this to how the sun measures out the time of day and provides what plants need to grow and what we need for warmth in order to live. We point out how the moon shows us what season it is and what time to plant and what time to harvest. This measures out our days just as we have received an allotment from Creator. Somehow, Mooney inverted this example. Maybe it was lost in translation. Maybe he had his own ideas. But he got it wrong. He got it backwards."
This is a generous assessment.
Others are not so kind and contend that Mooney was prejudiced.
It does appear that Mooney's own writings condemn him.
One noted Cherokee writer had this to say about Mooney:
"....while Mooney's work is invaluable to Cherokee Scholars (or Scholars of things Cherokee), it has shortcomings. Mooney was an outsider looking in on Cherokee culture. An nineteenth-century ethnologist, he approached his subject with the paternalistic skepticism typical of his contemporary colleagues.
"For example, Mooney writes in the introduction to Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee,'It is absurd to suppose that the savage, a child in intellect, has reached a higher development in any branch of science than has been attained by the civilized man, the product of long ages of intellectual growth." [and] In Myths of the Cherokee, he writes this: [gives story reference/example]'The story is a vulgar one, without with enough to make it worth recording.'"
~Robert J. Conley, Cherokee & noted author
in other words, he did not see the beauty and value of many of the stories he came across, or else they did not fit his own "agenda".
One other thing Mooney missed: to the Cherokee, the Sun is female. Mooney always used the pronoun "he".
NOTE: An elder in big cove shared this with us as his "proof" of the name for the sun:
SUNThe fire in the daytime sky;ᏅᏙ ᎢᎦᎡᎯnv-do i-ga-e-hiMOONThe fire in the night time sky, a reflection;ᏅᏙ ᏍᎥᏃᏱᎡᎯnv-do sv-no-yi-e-hi