Tuesday, October 25, 2011

“Patihi, Patahé!” The Camuni of Brescia in Monongahela City: Part III

On Saturday, while attending the Stanford-Washington college football game, someone pointed out to me that #5 on the sidelines of the Washington Huskies football team was freshman quarterback Nick Montana; son of legendary NFL quarterback Joe Montana. Near the end of the game, he was able to take some snaps; and it occurred to me the article I had found regarding the immigrants from the Camunian Valley who had settled in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and possibly the most famous Camunian descendant Joe Montana. I thought it was time that I entered it here.

The author, and historic preservation consultant--Terry Necciai--did a great job researching and putting that article together. It was short, but touched upon all the major elements of the Camunian and Brescian Tri-Valley heritage. Maybe the one exception was Beretta Firearms, in continuous business in Val Trompia since 1526; and possibly the actual inventor of the "hand-held cannon" itself, but it was a fascinating read nevertheless.

One interesting coincidence is that Monongahela City is called "Mon City," and in the Val Camonica, the town and comune of Monno was named "Mòn" in the Camunian dialect. Perhaps more coincidental than that are the three-letters "MON" in "ca-MON-ica"; in relation with their settling largely in one city... "Mon City." I don't know, I think that's quite a coincidence in itself, considering that it was the one city in North America that they settled in... in relatively large numbers.

I can see from further reading that we need to cover more material regarding the Monongahela area and it's history. Naturally, it would be great if Camunian descendants from the Monongahela region could hook up with us here, and we could connect with a lot more of our history. I suspect that most of our history would center around the Great Lakes region, and from my own research, it appears that the Pacific Northwest is another area to look at.

It was so interesting to actually learn a little about how Camunians, in an area where they had a large population, interacted with people from other cultures. The greeting "Patihi, Patahé" really captured the spirit of this, from a rough existence in Western Pennsylvania. It was curious, as the author stated, that this phrase is not well-known in modern Brescia/Valcamonica. Apparently, this could be explained from another century-plus of the Italian language overriding the local Brescian and Camunian dialect.

If you happen to be of Camunian ancestry from the Monongahela area, or elsewhere on this continent, feel free to connect with us! We're really more of a larger family clan, than "hyphenated Americans." Remember, all of our Camunian ancestors, yours and mine, were practically "family." So whether we live in Monongahela, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Seattle, Sacramento, or Denver; we're like long lost cousins.

~Patihi, Patahé~


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