HISTORICAL NOTE ON THE PRONUNCIATION OF CHISANA
The following article appeared in the Dawson Daily News, August 20, 1913:
CHIS-ANA IS THE WAY TO PRONOUNCE IT
ALL AUTHORITIES SAY THAT SUCH IS ORIGINAL INDIAN STYLE
SCIENTIFIC MEN AGREE
CANADIAN AND AMERICAN GEOLOGISTS STAND BY ONE SPELLING
The pronunciation of the name of the stream at the head of the Tanana after which the new placer district is called has been puzzling a good many. The name as it appears on all the official and geological maps of the United States government is Chisana, and the spelling is stoutly defended by all scientific men known to have been in the region. Dr. D. D. Cairnes, the Dominion geologist, who was in the new camp and returned here last week from the diggings, agrees thoroughly with the spelling adopted by the American geological corps, namely "Chisana," and says that the popular pronunciation will be found to be little, if any, interfered with if Chisana be divided into the proper syllables.
The Indians and others of the region, Fred Best, one of the first from the district explained, pronounce the name as though the division was after the letter a, making the name read as though "Chins" and "ana" were separate words, pronounced closely together.
The peculiarly fine shaded pronunciation of the natives is supposed not to have been grasped by all who heard the name pronounced by the aborigines or others acquainted with its true pronunciation, and the result was the corruption into the term "Shushana," which became common among the whites.
Despite the arguments presented in this article, current residents of the district pronounce its name "Shushana."
Last Updated: 21-Mar-2008