Monday, July 28, 2014

Oota Dabun

Q: I am trying to research the etymology of a supposed Algonquin name before I use it in a project. The name is Oota Dabun and supposedly means "Day Star." I have been unable to find any reference to this outside name sites and have absolutly no clue about Native American languages-- is there any truth to this?

A: Thanks for writing. The good news is I believe I've tracked down the origin of this supposed name: Silas Rand's 1888 dictionary of the Micmac language, which you can see here.

The bad news is, none of our Micmac volunteers recognize this word whatsoever. It's definitely not the word for "day" (na'kwek) or the word for "star" (kloqowej). "Day star" seems to be an old Biblical reference to Venus, and Rand was a missionary, so I guess he must have been referring to Venus as well, but whatever the original Micmac word was he was trying to write down, it's not something any of us knows.

Sorry not to be more help. Best wishes!

Further reading:
Micmac language
Micmac Indians
American Indian names