in the translation of the MAALAN AARUM

3.1 Mound Land
When the waves were calm
in the land they left,
the decent people
lived together there
in strong hollow houses
with thick roofs
3.2 Freezing

They lived where it snowed.
They lived where it stormed.
They lived where it was always winter.

3.3 Dream

While still in their cold land
They remembered longingly
the mild weather,
the many deer,
and also foxes

3.4 Split

The poor, lonely, but tough men
became hunters and
left those living
in strong houses.

3.5 Mighty Hunters

Separated from home
like breasts on the same body
the hunters became tougher
extremely good and
they reached for the sky.

3.6 Explored All

The hunters camped
in the north, east,
south and west.

3.7 Mound Man

The man, who ruled
in that old, northern land
that they all left,
was baptized to be pure.

3.8 Soccers
The discouraged people
were worried about
worn out land
they had to abandon.
The priest said,
"We decent people
should go somewhere else."

3.9 Akomen
The common people
in the east stole away
the brothers
abandoned all
with great discouragement
and again discouragement

3.10 Driven

In a short while
the weeping, weak, dirty.
needy (people from)
the burnt land
saved themselves and
rested on the other side
3.11 Free Men
After moving down
from the snowy land
and discreetly leaving
the cousins separated
through out all the land
3.12 Open Water

Where there was little
pack ice in heaped ice
with a lot of snow drifts,
the white geese ruled
and the white bear ruled

Maalan Aarum Algonquin Old Norse


Nama sugge paka
pokha pokha paka
gu’newun ka
wapi (niska)

Nema soekkva buka
bakki bakki buka
korn foen ka
verpa (niska)
hoega madh
verpa (musqi)
hoega madh

Arrow   Arrow
The fathers of
[rich In fish]
(the bald eagle)
along the sea
{and the white wolves}
and muscles
left pointing arrow
original English
right pointing arrow
of Old Norse
Not compressed pack ice
banked banked pack ice
snow drifts a lot
White geese
high man (ruler)
white bear
high (ruler)

(All references are to Sherwin’s eight volumes of the Viking and the Red Man)

Original English The fathers of  
Recorded sounds Name  saugi   pek  
Algonquin words Nama   sugge    paka   v. 4 p. 91, v4. p. 136 1*
Old Norse Nema   soekkva   buka (is) & v. 2. p. 108
Norse/English Not compressed pack ice 1*   2*
Original English remain  
Recorded sounds pokha  pokha  pek  
Algonquin words pokha  pokha  paka v. 2 p. 172 & p.108
Old Norse bakki  bakki  buka  
Norse/English banked banked pack ice 3*
Original English rich in fish  
Recorded sounds gun   eun   ga  
Algonquin words gu’n ewun ka v. 6 p. 30 & v. 4. p. 106
Old Norse korn foen ka  
Norse/English snow drifts a lot  
Original English the bald eagle  
Recorded sounds wapla  newa  
Algonquin words wapi  (niska) v. 5 p. 162 &
Old Norse verpa  (niska) North American Indian, p. 206
Norse/English White geese 4*
Original English along the sea  
Recorded sounds ouke  n  
Algonquin words ogi   ma v. 1 p.135 & v. 3p. 34
Old Norse hoega madh  
Norse/English high (ruler) 5*
Original English and the white wolves  
Recorded sounds wapla mewi  
Algonquin words wapi (musqi) v. 5 p. 162 &
Old Norse verpa (musqi) North American Indian, p. 206
Norse/English white bear 4*
  and muscles  
  ouke n  
  ogi ma v 1 p.135 & v 3 p. 34 5*
  hoega madh  
  high (ruler)  
1* The Algonquin word “paka” means “to strike.” The modern Norwegian dictionary has the word “pakkis,” which means “pack ice.” Floating ice that strikes (boats) is a better description of “pakkis” than ice that is packed together.

An examination of Sherwin’s list of “p-k-” Algonquin words came down to “paka” as the word similar in sound to “pek” A good hypothesis may be that “pek” was originally “pakkis” because the Walam Olum word “pek” is used repeatedly in sentences about frozen water.

The “is” syllable may have been lost by historians who did not know about “striking ice.” The knowledge of “pakkis” would have been unimportant to the sixteen generations of Algonquin/Norse people who roamed the solid land of America.

Until a better explanation appears, “pek” will be deciphered to be the same as modern “pakkis.”

2* Note the distinct difference between the original English phrase and the decipherment via the Old Norse. The Old Norse words describe features of an open water marvel, which the pictograph appears to illustrate.

3* The Old Norse description in these two phrases, “Not compressed pack ice – banked, banked pack ice” is probably the best short description of an open water marvel, which has open water in the midst of thick ice.

4* The Algonquins appeared to name animals and birds by imitating the sounds they made. “Niska” is the Cree name for goose. The original creator of the Walam Olum was probably describing a white goose. When the Historian and the Recorder tried to record verbal history in Indiana, the bald eagle was a good, but wild, guess based on their experience.

In the same way, the white animal was certainly not a wolf. The name is closer to the names given to bears by the Cree and Algonquin tribes.

5* Although “ogima” was used by the Algonquins for “chief” the word had “extensive and indefinite application.” [Faries]. In this verse “ogima” appears to mean an important bird and animal near an open water marvel.
General Comments:

The variation of the original English words from the Algonquin/Old Norse meanings may be because the Historian and the Recorder did not fully resolve the meanings of the original sounds. They may not have known about open water marvels and “pek.”

They should have been able to recognize “ogima,” a well known Algonquin word, but perhaps the memorized sound had morphed and the word was used in association with birds and animals. They may have guessed that the “ouken” word was associated with the fish in the pictograph. The fish in the pictograph appears to be there to illustrate that the bears are sitting on a floating ice berg.

The survival of the original sounds and their correspondence to known Algonquin/Old Norse phrases is a testament to the honest effort of the Historian and Recorder to preserve the verbal history. Also it is a testament to Reider T. Sherwin who collected and correlated Algonquin/Old Norse sounds and meanings.

This verse about the open water marvel appears to be out of sequence. The verse fits better between “saved themselves and rested on the other side” (verse 10) and “moving down from the land of the snow (verse 11)” Somewhere in the memorizing generations the pictograph sticks for verses 11 and 12 may have been switched.

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3.13 Rich Father
Floating up the streams
in their canoes,
our fathers were rich.
They were in the light
when they were at these Islands.

"Head Beaver and Big Bird
said 'Let us go to Akomen'"

3.15 All Will Go

All say they will go along,
All who are free to go.

3.16North East

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

3.17 Stone hard

On the wonderful slippery water,
On the stone hard water, all went
On the great tidal sea,
Over the [puckered pack ice]

3.18 Big Mob

[I tell you it was a big mob]
In the darkness,
all in one darkness
To Akomen, to the [west],
In the darkness
They walk and walk,
all of them

3.19 men

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

3.20 They All Come

They all come.
They tarry at the land
Of the spruce pines,
Those from the east
Some with hesitation.
Esteeming highly their
Old home at the mound land