What do lay-nah, awi usdi, min-e-lee, mon-o-lah, tal-con, pa-koh, ti-bi, tel-qui mean in The Education of Little Tree?

1 Answer

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

All of these are supposedly Cherokee words for things that are actually just words that Earl "Forrest" Carter made up, in this novel that masquerades as an autobiography.

Since the publication of this book, it has come to be known that Carter was actually a former KKK member and white supremacist who may not have had any Indian blood at all.

At any rate, according to the book, the words you mention are supposed to have the following meanings:

  • Lay-nah is "spring branch."
  • Awi usdi is "little deer"
  • Min-e-lee is "quail hen"
  • Mon-oh-law is "Earth Mother"
  • Tal-con is "hawk"
  • Pa-koh is "panther"
  • Ti-bi is "bee"
  • Tel-qui is "turkey"