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.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor2 min readSociety
Defining Poverty To End It
The latest progress report on poverty uses multiple measures. Yet it also points to the need for better definitions of well-being.
The Christian Science Monitor2 min readWellness
Healing The Social Wounds Behind Ebola
The new “emergency” over the spread of Ebola in Africa is really a desire to address the fears and distrust that drive this second-worst outbreak of the virus.
The Christian Science Monitor3 min read
Mastering The Language Of My Second Home
Vocabulary and cadences, phrasings and simple expressions shifted from canton to canton, even valley to valley.