Surviving Jaredite Names in Mesoamerica
By Bruce Warren
Editor’s Note: The Ancient America Foundation (AAF) is pleased to present AAF Notes: a series of research articles by scholars of Book of Mormon culture and history and reviewed by AAF editors. Visit our Web site: http://www.ancientamerica.org. This section of Bruce Warren’s research identifies surviving Jaredite names in Mesoamerica. (Blaine M. Yorgason, Bruce W. Warren, and Harold Brown. New Evidences of Christ in Ancient America, Book of Mormon Research Foundation. Provo: 1999, Chaper 2, “Jaredite Connections with Mesoamerica,” pp. 17-19).
If the Jaredites were indeed the Olmec culture, as we believe they were, then our knowledge of the Olmec culture should also link the two cultures. To show that such is the case, we will use six personal names and three place names from the book of Ether to make a Jaredite/land northward connection with the cultural area of Mesoamerica. The six personal names are Kib, Shule, Akish, Com, Kish, and Shiblon. The three place names are the hill Shim, the wilderness of Akish, and the land of Heth. The following table gives more detail on these nine names.
Jaredite Names Used in Mesoamerica Today
Name of the sixth month in the Yucatec Maya calendar.
Name of the sixteenth day of the 260-day calendar in Yucatec.
Close parallel to the Quiche Maya Kaqix (Caquix) of the Popol Vuh. The name combines kaq “red” and qix “feather” and means the scarlet macaw parrot. (Tedlock 1985: 237). (The x is pronounced as sh in English in Mesoamerican words and names.)
Tzotzil Maya for “log stool” or “armadillo”(Laughlin 1975: 104).
Two meanings for this word are available: (1) “kix” in Yucatec and Chol Maya, meaning “spine,” “thorn,” and maybe “stingray spine” (Stross 1998: e-mail) and (2) “kix” in the Palenque hieroglyphs “feather” (Kelley 1965, 112, 114, Figures 23,34,49-53). The glyph at Palenque on the Tablet of the Cross is associated with the calendar name Nine Wind of Quetzalcoatl. Kelley’s Figure 34. From Teotihuacan, Mexico, shows Quetzalcoatl with beard and feathers and emphasizes the serpent fangs. It could be that both the meanings are relevant, and that the feathers and fangs are both important.
The Shib or Xib part of the name is very common inYucatec Maya–for example, Chak-Xib-Chak, Ek-Xib-Chak, Sak-Xib-Chak, Kan-Xib-Chak, etc.
In Yucatec Maya and other Mayan languages – for example, an ear of corn or kernels of corn is ixim (Laughlin 1975: 419) In the Tuxtla Mountains of southern Veracruz, Mexico, one of the mountains is called Cintepec in the Aztec language. Cintepec means “corn hill.” The Aztecs lived late in Mesoamerican history and were glossing earlier names with the equivalent in their own language. In Mayan languages, it would be ixim (as mentioned earlier, the x becomes sh in English).
Wilderness of Akish
As noted above, Akish is very similar to the Kiche Maya name Kaqix or Caquix. This name refers to the macaw parrot. The Tuxtla Mountains of southern Veracruz were glossed, by the Aztecs as Toztlan, which means the place of the macaw parrots. The Aztec place name glyph also depicts a macaw parrot for these mountains (Covarrubias 1947: 26, n. 4).
Land of Heth
A land by the east sea mentioned early in the Jaredite account. The indirect hint for the location of this land centers on the meaning of the letter Heth in Hebrew. The letter Heth relates to the Big Dipper constellation and the number seven (Moran and Kelley 1969: 49, 81). The Popol Vuh account of Wukub Kaqix associates him with the Big Dipper, and his name means “seven macaw” Could this be the land of Heth to the Tuxtla Mountains region of southern Veracruz? Both the Big Dipper constellation and the macaw parrot are tied to Wukub Kaqix. Perhaps the land of Heth and the wilderness of Akish are adjacent to each other.
Covarrubias, Miguel. Mexico South: The Isthmus of Tehuantepec. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1947.
Kelley, David H. “American Parallels,” In The Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs. By Moran and Kelley, Part II. Palo Alto: Daily Press, 1969.
Laughlin, Robert M. The Great Tzotzil Dictionary of San Lorenzo Zinacatan. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology No. 19. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975.
Stross, Brian. E-mail correspondence with Bruce Warren, June 1998.
Tedlock, Dennis, trans. Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Maya Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.
Editor’s Note: The personal name Kish gives us an especially intriguing connection between the Book of Mormon Jaredites and the Olmec culture. Bruce Warren’s discussion of this subject with figures can be read on AAF’s web site: Research Note No. 106: “KISH” A Personal Name.
Other prior notes that draw from this interesting chapter include the following:
AAF Note # 40: Jaredites and Serpents;
AAF Note # 46: Ixtilxochitl’s Record of Jaredite/Olmec/Tulteca Beginnngs;
AAF Note # 111: Ancient American Writings;
AAF Note # 117: Jaredite Connections with Mesoamerica.
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