Marker 55: Kuh-na-ta-ha

Current Marker Wording

Kuh-na-ta-ha. Indian fishing village 1654. Known to the Indians as "Place of Tall Pines". Discovered by Father Le Moyne. State Education Department 1932.

Suggested Wording

Kuh-na-ta-ha (verification of spelling needed, other possibilities include Kah-ne-wo-nah [1], Qui-e-hook-gah[2]). Onondaga(?) fishing village 1654 (date verification needed as well as sites primary purpose). Known to the Onondaga(?) as "Place of Tall Pines" (verification needed). Visited by Father Le Moyne (note may have been visited two years earlier in 1652 by Father Isaac Iogues and others[3]).

Location

Located on NY57 in Phoenix NY at corner of Bridge and Main St.

Significance

Marker is located near the river in Phoenix. Further verification of significance of site as a source of fish for Onondaga(?) needed.

The available Jesuit records seem to place Father Le Moyne in the area on or around 1654. [4] Additional ecclesiastical records place him in "Iroquois country" six times between 1654 and 1662, including being near Syracuse on 16 August 1654.[5] He is said to have camped at or near the marker site for two days.[6]

Noted in James Loewen's text 'Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong' in the following passage: "When historical markers emphasize explorers like Jean Nicolet just because they are white  however, they offend people of color. Worse is their effect on whites, who are invited to infer that only when whites see a place has humankind discovered it. The practice literally dehumanizes Native Americans. The plaque at Schroeppel, New York even has a European discovering people: Kuh-na-ta-ha. Indian fishing village 1654. Known to the Indians as "Place of Tall Pines". Discovered by Father Le Moyne." [7] (Loewen, p. 61).

Indigenous Place Names for Site

Might include: Kuh-na-ta-ha, Kah-ne-wo-nah[8], Qui-e-hook-gah.

According to W. M. Beauchamp[9]: "Ku-na-ta-ha, Where pine trees grow, is the present Indian name of the village of Phoenix". Note that if correct the site is named for the proliferation of pine trees and not because of the nearby river and/or the sites possible significance as a source of fish.

A local 1920 news article might shed further light on the name of the site and the significance of it to indigenous peoples. The article initially names the site Kah-ne-wo-nah, though it offers other names and refers to both abundant fishing and trees: "Practically the entire area now included within the village [Phoenix] boundaries was then a forest of pines and was named by the Indians "Kahnewonah" meaning "place of the tall pines". Completely surrounding the pines was a circle of dense woods of maple, beech and hemlock. Another name given to this particular spot was "Qui-e-hook-gah" meaning "supplied with fish" and as early as 1652 an Indian village was located here when Father Isaac Iogues, with several other Jesuit priests trod the unbeaten path which led from Lake Ontario to the shores of Onondaga Lake.[10]"

Circumstances of Marker Placement

Erected by State Education Department, 1932.

Additional Information

Sources

See footnotes

Review Details

Hayley Cavino

July 7 2010



[1] http://www.accuratereappraisals.org/County_Information/oswego.html

[2] 'Phoenix History Rich in Colonial and Indian Lore'. Syracuse Journal. Tuesday January 6, 1920.

[3] 'Phoenix History Rich in Colonial and Indian Lore'. Syracuse Journal. Tuesday January 6, 1920.

[4] Sources: ROCHEMONTEIX, Les Jesuites et la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1896); CAMPBELL, Pioneer Priests of North America (New York, 1908). Cited in, Lindsay, L. (1910). Simon Le Moyne. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved March 6, 2010 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09149a.htm

[5] Ecclesiastical Records, State of New York, Vol 1 . Pub. By the State Under the Supervision of Hugh Hastings, State Historian (V.2 ) (1901-16) (Paperback)

[6] 'Phoenix History Rich in Colonial and Indian Lore'. Syracuse Journal. Tuesday January 6, 1920.

[7] Loewen, J. (2007). Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong. Touchstone.

[8] 'Phoenix History Rich in Colonial and Indian Lore'. Syracuse Journal. Tuesday January 6, 1920.

[9] Beauchamp, W. M. (1893). Indian Names in New York. Gaylord.

[10] 'Phoenix History Rich in Colonial and Indian Lore'. Syracuse Journal. Tuesday January 6, 1920.