Following up on my recent request for information about Toronto/tkaronto (and my much earlier query about Wampanoag), I have a question arising from this very interesting half-hour talk in which Amy King, Julia Bloch, and Tom Pickard discuss Basil Bunting’s reading of Whitman’s great “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” (they only play a few bits, but the whole thing is available [mp3]). I note with pleasure that Bunting stresses the middle syllable of Paumanok, as I have always done myself; it seems the only reading that fits the rhythm of Whitman’s lines. But I got curious about that native name for Long Island, and I find that Whitman says, in a footnote to Specimen Days, “Paumanok, (or Paumanake, or Paumanack, the Indian name of Long Island,” and the 1846 Proceedings of the New York Historical Society (p. 126) says “The following variety of names occur, either as referring to the Island, or its inhabitants, as well before, as at the period of its settlement by the white people, namely — Paumanake, Matanwake, Metoacs, Meitowax, Metanwack, and Sewanhack, or Sewan-hacky. The first of these is most frequently met with in old deeds…. It would therefore seem that this was the more favorite and general designation, while at the same time the natives themselves were called Metoacs.” Do any of my Americanist readers have any further information about this old toponym?
Addendum. I found this in Native New Yorkers: The Legacy of the Algonquin People of New York, by Evan T. Pritchard (Council Oak Books, 2002):
In ancient times, Long Island was called Matouac by some, Paumanok by others. Matouac means a “young man,” or “the young warriors,” referring to the younger tribes of the western half of the island. Paumanok is a term in the Renneiu language indicating “land of tribute,” in reference to Long Island’s role as a main source for the quohog and conch shells used in the manufacture of sewan or wampum, often used to pay tribute or taxes to another tribe.
Elsewhere in the book, Pritchard says “The Matinecock language was the new Matouac-type, what I call the Renneiu language, rather than the older, more traditional Munsee as spoken in Manhattan.”