The Christian Science Monitor

Giving thanks for Native American words

I’m from Wisconsin, where hundreds of place names have Native American origins. I grew up in Milwaukee, Ojibwa/Potawatomi for “pleasant land” or “gathering place by the water.” My parents are from Sheboygan – “needle” or “pathway between the waters.” And, a Miami word meaning “it lies red,” which describes the Wisconsin River as it runs through red sandstone bluffs. Wisconsin isn’t unusual: Twenty-six US state names seem to derive from Native American words, from Alabama to Ohio to Wyoming.

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