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Tonto and Kemo Sabe (was: Spanish ll ...)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Monday, August 30, 2004, 17:02
Elyse M. Grasso scripsit:

> One of the subgroups of the Apache are the Tonto Apache, whose > (original?) territory was in and around the Tonto Basin (Range? there's > a Western novel titled "Under the Tonto Rim") . The insult is of course > probably deliberate: they probably didn't call themselves the Tonto.
Indeed, although in this case the insult comes from other Apache, who called this westernmost group the "Binii'e' Dine'", or variants thereof, the Crazy/Wild People. ("Tonto" can also have this sense in Spanish.)
> The territory was probably named after them rather than vice versa.
Almost certainly.
> On the other hand, there is a persistent rumor that Kemo Sabe also > means idiot (or something worse) in some language or other...
The etymology of Kemo Sabe, however, is as secure as any such thing can be: it is from Potawatomi _gimozabe_ 'he who looks in secret', almost certainly intended as 'scout/spy', but also interpretable as 'masked man'. (Potawatomi is spoken in Michigan, half a continent away, but there is a definite chain of evidence leading back to it.) See for lots of detail on both words. -- John Cowan Female celebrity stalker, on a hot morning in Cairo: "Imagine, Colonel Lawrence, ninety-two already!" El Auruns's reply: "Many happy returns of the day!"


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Mark P. Line <mark@...>