Beaded Belt - courtesy of GC OhmannAccording to the website twenty-six of the names of the fifty United States of America are based on words in Native American languages. Of those twenty-six, twelve are in Mid-America:
  • Illinois: "Illiniwek," the name of the Illini people, meaning "best people."
  • Indiana: the only one of our 13 MidAmerica states which is not named with a specific Native American name. "Indiana" means Land of the Indians or Land of Indians. Multiple Native American nations are a significant part of Indiana history, including the Miamis, Chippewa, Delawares, Erie, Shawnee, Iroquois, Kickapoo, Potawatomies, Mahican, Nanticoke, Huron, and Mohegan.
  • Iowa: A tribal name of the Ioway people, meaning "sleepy ones."
  • Kansas: From the name of the Kansa people, meaning "south" for People of the South Wind.
  • Kentucky: from "Kentake," an Iroquois place name meaning "meadow land."
  • Michigan: "Mshigem" or "Misigami" are Potawatomi and Ojibwe names for "great lake." English speakers call the great lake Lake Michigan.
  • Minnesota: "Mnisota" is the Dakota Sioux name for the river English speakers call the Minnesota River. It means "cloudy water."
  • Missouri: The name of a people native to the area, "Missouria, came from the word "mihsoori," meaning "big canoe people."
  • Nebraska: "Nibthaska" or "Nibrathka," the Omaha-Ponca and Otoe names for the river which English speakers call the Platte River, meaning "flat river."
  • North Dakota: From the Dakota, meaning "the allies."
  • Ohio: from "Ohiyo," the name which English speakers call the Ohio River in the Seneca language, meaning "it is beautiful."
  • South Dakota: From the Dakota, meaning "the allies."
  • Wisconsin: "Wishkonsing" is the Ojibwe name for the river which English speakers call the Wisconsin River. The Ojibwe sources say the meaning of "Wishkonsing" is unknown.

Charlotte Preston is MidAmerica Board Vice President, and a member of WBUUC

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