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Indigenous Names of the Susquehanna Greenway | Outdoors

The Susquehanna River has attracted people to its bank for thousands of years. Many of our Susquehanna Greenway Rivertowns were once built where Native American villages maintained vast farmlands, towns and roads along the easily accessible coasts of the Susquehanna River.

Recognizing the importance of indigenous peoples in Pennsylvania’s past, present and future is the key to understanding and respecting the Sasquehana Greenway we are exploring today.

Many of the well-known names throughout Susquehanna Greenway have their roots in the native language. In the northern region of the Susquehanna River, most indigenous people spoke variations of the Haudeno Sauni language, including the Mohawk and Oneida, while those in the central and southern regions spoke mainly Algonquin dialects.

In this article, you’ll learn about just a few of these parks, trails, and landmarks that have important implications for indigenous history. Remember that many of the roads we walk today have been on for thousands of years.



Pine Creek Rail Trail cyclists




Black Moshannon State Park (West Branch): The Black Moshanon State Park along Moshanon Creek was initially inhabited by the Susquehannock people. The name Moshanon is derived from the Algonquin word “Moshanaank” which means “El Cliver Place”, and “black” means the darkness of water due to plant tannins from the swamp. Located in one of the furthest sections of the Susquehanna Greenway and PA Wild, it is also one of the few places where you can see wild elk today.

Chickies Rock (downstream of the Susquehanna River): The 400-foot spectacular view of the Chickies Rock, where the Chickies Creek hits the lower Susquehanna River, is derived from the Algonquin word “Chikesarunga,” which means “crayfish location.” Many indigenous names are written in multiple ways, such as “Chickies” and “Chiques.” These words are not originally written using the English alphabet, so the accepted spelling is often different.

Conestuga Trail (downstream of the Susquehanna River): Conestoga, a commonly found name in south-central Pennsylvania, was the English name for Susquehannock. The term is often used to refer to a small group of Susquehannock that remained when the number dropped dramatically. The Conestuga Trail offers some beautiful views of the Susquehanna River along a 14.3 mile range.

Deer Hoga Trail (North Branch): The Diahoga Trail, which opened its grand opening in 2019, runs 1.5 miles from Athens to Sayre. The word “Diahoga” comes from the name of the current town of Athens, Susquehannock. The name, meaning “branch point,” is appropriate for a community located at the confluence of the northern tributaries of the Chemung and Susquehanna rivers.

Iroquois Trail (North Branch): This 3-mile trail is near another town with abundant indigenous history, the town of Tankanock. The name Iroquois is still widely used today, but it is actually a derogatory term used by the French to refer to the people of Howdenosauni. This term is a mispronunciation of the Algonquin word for “snake.” This is the first insult used by the Algonquins who engaged in an ongoing conflict with Howdenosauni.



Riverfront park trail

Royal Sock Township Riverfront Park




Royal Sock Township River Front Park (West Branch): Loyalsock comes from the word “Lawi-Saquick” which means “middle creek” in Algonquin. The Royal Sock Township Riverfront Park on Canfield Island is located on the grounds of a former Native American village called Ostonwakin, which means “rock,” and is now expanding into Montoursville.

Sick Shiny-SGP Rivertown (North Branch): Contradictory interpretation states that sick shinny means either “narrow stream” or “five mountains”. Both names are suitable for this SGP Rivertown, located along a small stream and surrounded by five mountains.

Shikerami State Park (confluence): One of the most famous indigenous names in the Susquehanna River Valley is the name of Shikellamy, the name of Shikellamy State Park at the confluence of the northern and western tributaries of the Susquehanna River. Sikeramie was a leader of the Howdenosauni Federation, who lived in modern-day Sunbury in the mid-18th century and was a messenger from New York’s Howdenosauni to the Philadelphia colonial government.



Pine Creek Trail 2

Pine Creek Rail Trail




Susquehanna River: The Susquehanna River is named after the Susquehannock people who lived in and around the Susquehanna River Valley at the time of contact with Europe. Variations on the suffix “Hanock” are common throughout the Susquehanna Greenway. The Algonquin meaning is “moving water” or “river”. Sources are at odds with the full meaning of Sasquehana, with interpretations ranging from the “oyster river” to the “muddy river.”

Tiadaton State Forest (West Branch): Tiadaton is the name given by Howdenosauny to Pine Creek, the main tributary of the Susquehanna River, which hits the western tributary. The Pine Creek Pass, through Tiadaton State Forest, connected the indigenous villages along the Susquehanna River with other Howdenosauni communities in New York. Later, a railroad was built along that route, which later evolved into the popular Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Twanda River Walk (North Branch): Twanda means “burial place” in Algonquin, and in fact, the town of Twanda is near the burial place of Nanticoke. Nanticoke’s traditional hometown is around the Chesapeake Bay. However, in the 18th century, some members of the Nanticoke tribe moved north to Pennsylvania, seeking the protection of a powerful Howdenosauni.

Tankanock-SGP Rivertown (North Branch): There are various interpretations of the name of Tankanock’s SGP Rivertown. Some argue that it means “stream,” while others track it to mean “river bend,” which refers to the steep upstream bend of Thangka Knock Creek, known as the “neck.”

White Cliffs of Konoi (downstream of the Susquehanna River): The white cliffs of Konoi in south-central Pennsylvania are named after the Nanticoke Piscataway Konoi, who traditionally lived along the Potomac River. They moved north with other Nanticokes in the early 1700s, seeking land and protection. These cliffs are actually limestone deposits that you can explore right next to the 14.2 mile Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.

The voice of indigenous peoples is essential to understanding the relationship with the land. When visiting one of these spots along the Susquehannock Greenway, consider its importance to places formerly known as your hometown, such as Howdenosauny, Susquehannock, and Nanticoke. The Susquehannock people are no longer active in the region, but the Howdenosauny Federation is an important force in the northeastern part of today. For more information, please visit: haudenosauneeconfederacy.com..

About the author

Anna Jordan is Ameri Corps Communications and Outreach Assistant at Susquehanna Greenway Partnership. Her work focuses on facilitating community-land connections and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to strengthen their ties with the Susquehanna River.



Indigenous Names of the Susquehanna Greenway | Outdoors

Source link Indigenous Names of the Susquehanna Greenway | Outdoors

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