the voice of Doom! (naturalblue208) wrote in linguaphiles,
the voice of Doom!

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Newbie with a question! :O

Hi guys!

I just have a question for all of you. I'm writing a term paper having to do with English perceptions of Powhatan religion in the first few years of the Jamestown colony, and I had a sudden thought that could really help my paper along: the way Powhatan religion worked according to the English was that they had a lot of gods, but probably two main ones-- Ahone, the beneficent god who didn't need worshipping cos he was such a nice guy, and Oke (Okee, Okeus, etc) who was the easily-offended god who brought sickness, crop failure, storms, etc, and needed lots of placating. Anyway, the colonists viewed Oke as the Devil, and I just had a sudden memory way back to middle school when I was a huge Redwall fan, and one of the moles saying "boi Okey." I'm sure I've heard "by okey" or "by hokey" in other contexts, and i think (i'm not sure if i'm pulling this out of the air) that it is a name for the Devil in Appalachian folktales. Anyway, if they got it from the Powhatan it would be a fantabulous example of cross-cultural exchange. Does anyone know the etymology of the expression? I haven't been able to find anything but a vague reference to hokey in the context of meaning "fake" being short for hocus-pocus.

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