30 July 2014

How do you pronounce that?

Since I was already in a place that I had great difficulty in pronouncing the name (Coeur d’Alene), I figured might as well visit a place that I will have absolute no chance ever of pronouncing. So, I walked to this place – it is actually a quiet beach by the lake – called Hnya'(pqi’nn. I am not kidding you. The name has two apostrophes and one parentheses! Evidently, in the language of the Couer d’Alene tribe (also called the Schitsu’umish tribe), it means “Gathering Place” and is pronounced “hin-yap-keehn-un”.

See the picture on the top. This beach is steeped in history. Many centuries ago, various tribes – at least three more – used to gather exactly at this spot during spring and fall to celebrate with their families and give Thanks. They used to sing, dance, have competitive sports and fish a lot from the river and lake.

Many years later – in the 18th century French fur traders discovered the tribes here. That explains the French name of this place. Evidently the tribes were very tough negotiators. I understand in French that is what the name refers to.

Towards the second half of the 19th century, General Sherman (remember the quote of his and his picture that I had talked about last week that I found walking between Terminal B and C at the Atlanta airport?) had a fort built right behind the beach and called it Fort Coeur d’Alene. That was later renamed after him.

And today, that fort has been reconstructed and built out to be the North Idaho College. See the pictures on the bottom half.

That was an amazing history lesson. I went down to the quiet beach for a few minutes and tried to imagine what that beach must have witnessed over the centuries. Then I slowly strolled back to my hotel.

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Posted July 30, 2014 by Rajib Roy in category "Travelogs

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