Saturday, February 12, 2005

How, Kola!

Not too long, we received an email inquiry from a museum curator preparing an exhibit on the impact of Seton on summer camping programs. We receive many such requests and gladly respond whenever possible. This particular request also asked a question - just what does "How Kola" mean?

I answered the question in the methodical style I usually do. I told the correspondent that the correct spelling is "Hau, Kola" and that it means "Hello, Friend" in Lakota. I also told her that it was the origin of the stereotypical Indian greeting, How!

But I thought later that maybe I had answered that question rather superficially. So, upon reflection, I decided to look back at a copy of The Birch Bark Roll to see what Seton had actually said about "Hau, Kola." I got a couple of surprises and something to think about. I found out that Seton did, indeed, spell it "How Kola." Seton translated it as "Hail, Brother." More interestingly, I noted that "How, Kola" is the war cry of the Woodcraft Indians.

In these days of international tensions, how different a world it would be if we made our war cry, How, Kola, Hail Brother.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ron, a good start!
I wrote a paper for my Native American Studies class on Indians in Film that was titled "How is not a question." It covered the transition of language by Indians in film (both real and acted) from silent days to "Smoke Signals". If anyone is interested I could post it.

Ron Edmonds said...

I think that would be great