"Oregon Country consisted of the land north of 42°N latitude, south of 54°40′N latitude, and west of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The area now forms part of the present day Canadian province of British Columbia, all of the US states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming."Amazingly, the origin of the name Oregon is no longer known at all with certainty and several explanations have been attempted in the literature. The Wikipedia at Oregon (toponym) writes:
"The origin of the name of the U.S. state of Oregon is unknown, and a subject of some dispute."The name "Oregon" is said to be "distinctly" American in origin ... i.e. it will surely go back to a Native American root as many State names do ... since the British called the area "the Columbia District". As written at the Wikipedia:
"The origin of the word Oregon is not known for certain. One theory is that French Canadian fur company employees called the Columbia River "hurricane river" le fleuve d'ouragan, because of the strong winds of the Columbia Gorge. George R. Stewart argued in a 1944 article in American Speech that the name came from an engraver's error in a French map published in the early 18th century, on which the Ouisiconsink (Wisconsin River) was spelled "Ouaricon-sint", broken on two lines with the -sint below, so that there appeared to be a river flowing to the west named "Ouaricon". This theory was endorsed in Oregon Geographic Names as "the most plausible explanation"."Oregon (toponym) at the Wikipedia adds:
"Other theories suggest that Rogers appropriated the Abenaki name for the Ohio River, Waregan, or found the name Ourican on a highly-speculative 1715 French map."We think that the Ourican found on that French map is the right connection. It is the subsequent interpretations which are faulty.
What people fail to realize is that the later Ouragon was merely a French spelling of an Indian word, writing that word as close as possible to a word they knew in their own language. As written at the Wikipedia, Oregon (toponym):
"Most scholarship ascribes the earliest known use of the name "Oregon" to a 1765 petition by Major Robert Rogers to the Kingdom of Great Britain, seeking money to finance an expedition in search of the Northwest Passage. The petition read "the rout[e] . . . is from the Great Lakes towards the Head of the Mississippi, and from thence to the River called by the Indians Ouragon...." [emphasis added]So Ouragon viz. Ourican therefore have nothing to do with the French word for "hurricane" as regards the origin of the Indian term. We are not seeking a later French word adaptation, we are seeking an original INDIAN word and that word is never going to mean "hurricane" but rather something else.
In fact, it is likely in our opinion that Oregon takes its name from an Indian term for the greater northwest Pacific area of "Oregon Country" as representing the stars of Virgo in the ancient land survey of Native America.
This theory is supported by the unexplained prevalence of ancient fertility figures throughout this entire region, including Pomo Indian practices which venerate the so-called megalithic "baby rocks" as fertility symbols.
Why here, in this region?
The Eastern Pomo Indian region (which seems to include the Mendocino Shasta) has 'qa-ra-ya-qa-wikh as the term for "girl" (hence extrapolated "young woman, virgin"). See in this regard a Brief World List of Eastern Pomo via http://cimcc.org/education-center/pomo-language-resource/, as prepared by Sally McLendon of Hunter College of the City University of New York.
We suggest that 'qa-ra-ya-qa could have anciently given the name of the region of Oregon (Country) as anciently marking the stars of Virgo, a similar term. The term was later written Ourican on the earliest known French map.
Indeed, one could even raise the idea that Oregon took its name not from Virgo but equally from the fertility name for Boötes, depicted as a man, whereby "father" in Eastern Pomo is "hárik", and the "address term" for son or father is "hárika", perhaps even more similar to Oregon and Virgo than 'qa-ra-ya-qa.
Harika is found in the Wikipedia and here is what we read:
"In India, Harika is a Hindu name, associated with the goddess Parvati."and Parvati, quoting the Wikipedia again, is "the goddess of fertility":
"Parvati (Devanagari: पार्वती, IAST: Pārvatī) is the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of Hindu goddess Shakti. She is the mother goddess in Hinduism and has many attributes and aspects."So it is a nice "coincidental" (?) match with the Pomo Indian terms, is it not?
The possible Sanskrit viz. Hindu connection is also interesting in view of what Richard Hinckley Allen writes in Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning about ancient sea navigators:
"Before the observations of the navigators of the 15th and 16th centuries the singular belief prevailed that the southern heavens contained a constellation near the pole similar to our Bear or Wain; indeed, it is said to have been represented on an early map or globe. Manilius wrote:Who were these ancient sea voyagers referred to in Sanskrit legend and when and where did their travels take them? Was this the Old World - New World haplotype connection found in modern genetic research? An ancient voyage by land-surveying viz. Earth-surveying ancient navigators that has come down to us as the legend of Jason and the Argonauts?
The lower Pole resemblance bearsTo this Above, and shines with equal stars;With Bears averse, round which the Draco twines;
and Al Birūni repeated the Sanskrit legend that at one time in the history of the Creation an attempt was made by Visvāmitra to form a southern heavenly home for the body of the dead king, the pious Somadatta; and this work was not abandoned till a southern pole and another Bear had been located in positions corresponding to the northern, this pole passing through the island Lunka, or Vadavāmukha (Ceylon). The Anglo-Saxon Manual made distinct mention of this duplicate constellation "which we can never see." Towards our day Eden, describing the "pole Antartike," said:
Aloysius Cadamustus1 wryteth in this effecte: We saw also syxe cleare bryght and great starres very lowe above the sea. And consyderynge theyr stations with our coompasse, we found them to stande ryght south, fygured in this maner, .:...,. We judged them to bee the chariotte or wayne of the south: But we saw not the principall starre, as we coulde not by good reason, except we shuld first lose the syght of the north pole."
As for the connection between the Pomo Indians and fertility symbols in rocks, Kelley A. Hays-Gilpin in Ambiguous Images: Gender and Rock Art, AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, California, 2004, writes of:
"...Pomo "baby rock" rituals whenever pit-and-groove marks -- or even just pits, called "cupules" -- are found in California.... Lee and McCarthy ... report on a site ... with pit-and groove marks and "horseshoe shaped" petroglyphs.... They cite ethnographers Barrett ... and Loeb ...: "Among the Pomo these rocks were known as 'baby rocks' and were used to cure sterility." ... the authors argue that the presence of vulva-forms and ... tribes' use of vulvaforms as fertility symbols support their view that this site had fertility associations.... They conclude that the petroglyphs represent "intangible remains of the rituals and beliefs of the people" ... and are a priceless, nonrenewable heritage...."We may never find overall agreement on the origin of the term "Oregon", but it is an interesting study, particularly since the practice of these fertility rites and rituals in this form, as connected to cupmarked rocks, is limited to this region.
THIS POSTING IS Posting Number 119 of
The Great Mound, Petroglyph and Painted Rock Art Journey of Native America
A Possible Fertility Origin of the Name of Oregon in a Similar Native American Term