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Tutelo/Saponi Indian Language

Tutelo was a Siouan language of Virginia. The last fluent speaker died in the 1990's, and few Tutelos remember anything of the old language today. However, some Tutelo people are trying to revive their ancestral language for cultural purposes. The Saponi language has been extinct much longer, but it is thought to have been a dialect of Tutelo, both from the similarity in vocabulary and from historical accounts indicating that people from the two tribes could understand each other without an interpreter. The main difference is that the Saponi dialect appears to have borrowed a number of vocabulary words from southern Algonquian languages like Powhatan and a few from African languages (the Saponi Indians were known for sheltering African slaves).

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Tutelo-Saponi Language Resources

Tutelo Vocabulary
     Our list of vocabulary words in the Tutelo language, with comparison to words in other Siouan languages.
Language Museum: Tutelo-Saponi
     Text of a prayer in the Saponi Indian language, with English translation.
Ethnologue: Tutelo:
    Demographic information about the Tutelo-Saponi language.
Tutelo-Saponi Language Tree:
    Theories about Tutelo-Saponi's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Tutelo-Saponi Language Structures:
    Tutelo-Saponi linguistic profile and academic bibliography.
Minor Vocabularies of Tutelo and Saponi
     Tutelo/Saponi dictionary for sale.
The Tutelo Language
     Tutelo language book for sale.

Tutelo-Saponi Culture and History Links

Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe
     Official homepage of the state-recognized Haliwa Saponi tribe of North Carolina.
Tutelo Indian History * Saponi Indian History
     Excerpt from James Mooney's "Siouan Tribes of the East" covering the history of the Tutelo and Saponi Indians.
Virginia Indian Map * Maryland Indian Map * West Virginia Indian Map * North Carolina Indian Map:
    Tribal maps showing the original lands of the Tutelo and Saponi Indians and their neighbors.
Searching for Saponi Town
     Site about Saponi and other Eastern Siouan genealogy, also with historical articles.
Haliwa Saponi Dancers
     Photographs from a Saponi pow-wow in North Carolina.
Haliwa-Saponi Authors:
    Saponi writers, their lives and work.
Virginia Indian History
     Collection of interesting materials on the Monacan, Saponi, and Tutelo Indians.
Four Directions: Tutelo:
    Timeline and links about Tutelo history.

Books for sale on the Tutelos and Saponis
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Tutelo Spirit Adoption Ceremony
     Book for sale on the traditional spirituality of the Tutelo Indians.

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Additional Resources, Links, and References

   Grupos Siouan de Virginia * Lengua Tutelo:
   Information about the Tutelo-Saponi language and tribes in Spanish.
   Saponi Tribe:
   Tutelo and Saponi links.

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