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600-YEAR OLD AMERICAN HISTORY
HAS OLD NORSE WORDS

By Larry Stroud
Ancient American Artifact Preservation Association
February 28, 2007

BIG BAY, Mich. --Two experts on ancient America may have solved not only the mysterious disappearance of Norse from the Western Settlement of Greenland in the 1300s, but also are deciphering Delaware (Lenape) Indian history which theyíre finding is written in Old Norse.

The history tells how some of the Delawareís ancestors migrated west to America across a frozen sea and intermarried with the Delaware and other Algonquin Indians.

Myron Paine, 72, and Frode Th. Omdahl, 51, met on the Internet six years ago when they were each looking for a rare book entitled "The Viking and the Red Man," written by the late Reider T. Sherwin. Together they found copies of all eight volumes with the same name.

Using Sherwin as a reference, they found that much of the Algonquin language consists of Old Norse, including Old Norse root words often strung together to make new words that were adopted by Algonquin speakers.

Paine and Omdahl were featured speakers on "Norse Tracks in America" at the first Ancient American Artifact Preservation Foundation annual conference in Big Bay, Mich. in 2005. Paine spoke again at the í06 conference.

Paine is a lifelong student of history who has a doctorate in agriculture engineering. He taught in two universities, served as a state Extension engineer and a regional Extension engineer covering 10 Great Plains states. He later worked as an electrical engineer for three aviation companies, a career that included being a primary writer of test reports for the certification of the Cessna 208 aircraft, the Caravan.

He grew up as a farm boy in South Dakota, where the "white faces among the Mandan Indians" intrigued him.

Omdahl is a native of Stavanger, Norway who now lives in Asker in the same country. He is educated in journalism, graphic design and marketing communications. A lifelong student of history and an eager genealogist, Omdahl got interested in Norwegian emigration to America.

Researching his family history, he also caught interest in "\"the first wave" of Norwegian emigrants to America, 800 years before the next "wave."

That the Algonquin Indian languages have many words identical to Old Norse is not a new discovery, as evidenced in books other than Sherwinís, but the application Paine and Omdahl are using is new. The two are using Sherwinís eight volumes to decipher the Lenapeís ancient picture stick writing, the Walum Olum. For each picture stick, Lenape historians recited or sang a verse.

"The memory verses of the Walam Olum were created by people speaking Old Norse," Paine said. "The Walum Olum is a 600-year-old American history composed of pictographs and memory verses. The history tells of fighting the mound builders, Iroquois, and of the arrival of white men."

"Our efforts to decipher the Walum Olum have found a striking correlation of the Walum Olum words to Old Norse phrases," Paine said. "This relationship strongly supports the hypothesis that Old Norse speakers visited eastern ancient North America and left very tangible evidence of their presence."

"The Algonquin language is Old Norse," Sherwin wrote in the preface of volume four. Sherwin, a native of Norway before he moved to the U.S., began comparing the languages because he heard a New England place name before he saw it in print, and was told it was of American Indian origin.

Sherwin disputed this because he recognized the word as one he had long known -- and the meaning was the same.

Finding a New England map, Sherwin, familiar with dialectical Norwegian which is much closer to the Old Norse language than literary Norwegian, immediately recognized dozens of place names as Old Norse. They had the same meanings in both Algonquin and Old Norse.

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EVIDENCE

Verses posted on 6/12/2007

Walam olum Chapter 3

Verse 1 Ancient home
Verse 2 Icy, snowy Freezing
Verse 3 Dream land
Verse 4 Hunters break off
Verse 5 Mighty Hunters
Verse 6 Explorers
Verse 7 Baptised for purity
Verse 8 Let us Go
Verse 9 Akomen
Verse 10 Split
Verse 11 Freemen
Verse 12 Open water

 

 

COM0001

Michigan and Milwaukee are two examples from his books. Those are names said to be Algonquin, with Michigan meaning "middle sea basin" and Milwaukee meaning "good, beautiful land." In Old Norse, "midh" means "middle," or "lying in the middle:" and "sjoe-kumî"or "sjoe-kumme" means "sea basinî"or "sea reservoir."

"Lake Michigan lies midway between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, hence the translation would be correct," Sherwin wrote.

Milwaukee, in Old Norse, is "milde aakre," meaning "the pleasant land"-- an almost perfect match for the pronunciation and meaning in Algonquin, Sherwin said.

Omdahl points out that in old Norwegian languages and dialects, "'aa' is pronounced as something between the 'a' in 'war' and the 'o' in 'horse.'"

"It is one of the typical Scandinavian letters -- an 'a' with a tiny ring over it," Omdahl said.

"Sherwinís books have been overlooked because of World War II and because the last six of Sherwinís books were self published, so only a few books went into libraries," Paine said. "An original catalog error shelved the books in the rarely used dictionary section of libraries instead of in the linguistic section where they belong."

In comparing the Walum Olum word for word with Sherwinís work, "we found a match for 23 out of 23 words in the first four Walum Olum verses," Paine said. He and Omdahl are finding continuing patterns in the additional verses.

"After 16 generations of memorization, the consistency of the recorded sounds is remarkable," Paine said. "This provides strong evidence that the Walum Olum is an authentic historical document that was first created by people who spoke Old Norse. The last seven verses in chapter 3 describe the Norse people of Greenland walking to America on the ice."

"The verses describe a mass of people walking to the west to a better land, across the "slippery water, the stone hard water." The migration corresponds with the "Little Ice Age."

"I invite everyone to view the evidence online at www.frozentrail.org," Paine said.

Respected author Ida Jane Gallagher of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., who spent 28 years working beside authoritative professionals researching ancient America -- with much of that work in New England -- also compares Sherwinís Algonquian and Old Norse words and confirms Norse migrations in her book, "Contact With Ancient America,î co-authored with Warren D. Dexter and published in 2004...

 

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HISTORY OF THE WALUM OLUM

Researchers Myron Paine and Frode Th. Omdahl, who specialize in Norse "tracks" in ancient America, give the following history of the Walum Olum:

About 1821 a dying Delaware historian passed a bundle of the Walum Olum memory sticks to a Dr. Ward, probably Dr. John Russell Ward, who was treating him. "The historian hoped to save the Lenape 400-year history as the tribe, splintered into chaotic factions that had fought on opposite sides in the American Revolutionary War, massacred each other and were being pushed out of their shrinking land allotments once again," Paine said.

"Ward gave the pictographs to naturalist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque (1783-1840) in Kentucky, who asked another Lenape historian to help record the meaning of the verses.

"A Moravian priest wrote down the verbal sounds and translated the description given by the Lenape historian into English. Rafinesque published the Walum Olum in 1836," Paine said.

Validity of the translation was hotly debated through the years and Rafinesqueís work came under intense attack by David M. Oestreicher in a Natural History article in October of 1996.

"But Oestreicher," Paine said, "apparently did not even consider the possibility that the Walam Olum words came from Old Norse, which would have proved its authenticity."

"Mr. Oestreicher did not list or refer to nine published books that might have led him to a different conclusion," Paine said. Eight of those books were (Reider T.) Sherwinís volumes, all titled "The Viking and the Red Man." Sherwin's work compares more than 15,000 Norse and Algonquin words which share common Norse characteristics.

Oestreicher and Sherwin both cited Roger Williams but apparently from different manuscripts of 1643 and 1644. Williams had no trouble believing the Algonquins were speaking Norse in conjunction with their own language.

Paine said, "Williams wrote, 'There are two kinds of Old Norse. One is called gammelnorsk (Old Norse); the still older language is called urmorsk (Primitive Norse). By marking the various words used by several tribes it should be possible to determine when each Norse settlement was made in America. ...It appears from my translations that such (Norse) migrations continued into the 14th century...'"

"Our current work with the Walum Olam proves that it is authentic." Paine said. "A reader familiar with Sherwin can observe that Oestricher used modern Lenape definitions to condemn Rafinesque's use of many words. But Old Norse definitions for the same words are strong evidence that Rafinesque was trying to faithfully translate the confusing text he had."

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