Great Hunting Ground
Posted: 25 July 2007 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The paradise of the North American Indians. Is it a direct translation from one of their languages? When does the phrase first appear in English? OED gives no results. Nothing on Wikipedia either.

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Posted: 25 July 2007 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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More commonly “happy hunting ground(s)”, which does get a mention in the OED (s.v. hunting-ground), and in Wikipedia, but there’s no clear indication of an Indian language source.  First citation is from Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans.

See this Straight Dope Staff Report for a more extensive, but still inconclusive, discussion.

The Wikipedia article begins with the claim “The happy hunting ground was the name given to the concept of the afterlife by several of the great plains Native American tribes, such as the Iroquois, Cherokee, Algonquian and Sioux,” but no citations are given in support of this assertion.

[ Edited: 25 July 2007 10:46 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 25 July 2007 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Ha, you beat me to it. It suddenly struck me while I was in the kitchen. Happy Hunting Ground! I rushed back to the computer to emend but too late. I confused the adjectives of Great Spirit and Happy Hunting Ground, I think. No wonder I didn’t find it in OED. :)

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