What’s In a Name?

Over half of the states (26) of the United States of America are named for a Native group or are derived from a Native word. Although some of the sources are disputed, the following is the generally recognized list:

  • Alabama – Alibamu tribe who were members of the Creek Confederacy
  • Alaska – Alakshak – “peninsula”
  • Arizona – uncertain
  • Connecticut – Quinnitukg-ut – “at the long river”
  • Hawaii – Havaiki or Hawaiki – the name of the original Polynesian homeland
  • Idaho – either a Comanche word for a Shoshone or Salmon River Tribe phrase
  • Iowa – Ioway tribe
  • Kansas – Kansa tribe
  • Kentucky – One of three descriptive phrases
  • Massachusetts – “about the big hill”
  • Michigan – Michigama – “large lake”
  • Minnesota – Minisota – “white water”
  • Mississippi – Choctaw word – “great water” or “father of waters”
  • Missouri – “Town of the large canoes”
  • Nebraska – An Oto word meaning “flat water”
  • New Mexico – Mexico might be derived from the name of an Aztec god.
  • Ohio – An Iroquois word – “beautiful”
  • Oklahoma – Choctaw – “red people”
  • North and South Dakota – Dahkota “friends” or “allies”
  • Tennessee – Tanasi – a Cherokee village
  • Texas – A Caddo word – “friends” or “allies”
  • Utah – Yuta – “people who live high in the mountains”
  • Wisconsin – Wishkonsing – “place of the beaver”
  • Wyoming – “On the Great Plain”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s