Submitted By: Joe Wagner

Special Thanks to Joe for submitting this interesting write-up on the translation of Iroquois.!

The Lenape (Deleware) word for Iroquois is Mengwe. Literally this translates as the glans penis. Assuming the Lenape were not being derisive, then this term may come from the seventeen and eighteenth social situation. The Five Nations had defeated the Lenape in the seventeenth century in a battle to control the fur trade with the Europeans. As a result, the Iroquois forced the Lenape men to wear a kind of apron worn by women. They referred to the Lenape as "the women of the Iroquois." Furthermore to make certain the Lenape behaved themselves, Onondagah sent colonies of Iroquois to live among them. These colonists became the Mengwe or Mingos.

The mengwe definition came from "A Lenape-English Dictionary From an anonymous MS in the Archives of the Moravian Church at Bethlehem, Pa.; edited by Daniel G. Brinton and Rev. Albert Seqaqkind Anthony Philadephia: The Historical Society of Pennsylavania, 1888." The historical notes are my own.

The word, itself, was an addition by Anthony, an assistant missionary to the Deleware and the Six Nations in Canada and a native-born Delaware. Anthony used the Minsi dialect. The dictionary was based on the work of David Zeisbeerger and Edmund de Schweintz, and was originally composed in the Wonami dialect using German spelling.

Comments regarding this page to: Deborah Johnson.