Native American Place Names in Indiana Aboite- commonly thought to be named for an Indian chief Anderson



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Native American Place Names in Indiana
Aboite- Commonly thought to be named for an Indian chief

*Anderson- Named for William Anderson, a Delaware chief whose India name was Kok-to-wha-nund meaning “making a cracking noise. The Delaware name of the town was Wa-pi-mins-kink meaning “Chestnut Tree Place”

Anoka- Comes from the Sioux adverb meaning “on both sides”

Battle Ground- named for the Battle of Tippecanoe which took place there.

Big Pipe Creek- The name is a literal translation of the Miami name of the stream, Pwa- ka-na.

Big Raccoon Creek- The name is a translation of the Miami name, A-se-pa-na-si-pi-wi.

Big Shawnee Creek- Named for the Shawnee tribe that lived near the stream.

Blackhawk- Named for the famous Sauk chief, Ma-ka-ta-mi-ci-kiak, “Black Sparrow Hawk”

*Brouilletts Creek- Named for an Indian interpreter Michael Brouillette who was from Knox County.

Burlington- Named for Wyandotte Indian, Chief Burlington.

Cayuga- Is a corruption of the Iroquois Gwa-u-geh, “the place of taking out” and refers to the name of a portage.

Cedar Creek- A literal translation for h Potawatomi name, mes-kwah-wah-se-pe.

Charley Creek- named for a Miami Indian whose reservation was near the city of Wabash. His Indian name was Ke-ton-gah meaning “Sleepy”

Chippewwanauck Creek- The name comes from Potawatomi, “Che-pyuk, “spirits” or “Ghosts” and Wah-nuk., “hole”- thus, “Ghost Hole”

Coesse- The name is a corruption of a Potawatomi nickname of a Miami Chief, ku-wa-zi, “Old Man”

Cornstalk Creek- Named for a nearby Indian village.

Deer Creek- Name comes from the Miami name, Passeanong, “The Place of the Fawn”.

Driftwood River- Driftwood is said to be a literal translation of the Miami name, On- kah gwah-sah-.

*Elkhart- A literal translation of the Potawatomi name of the Elkhart River, Me-sheh=weh-ou-deh-ik. It derives its name from an island at the mouth of the river which the Indians thought resembled an elk’s heart.

Erie- The name comes from the Indian tribe.

Fall Creek- The name is a translation of the Delaware word for waterfall, sokpehellak which refers to the falls near Pendleton. The Miami name was Chank-tun-oon-gi, “Makes a Noise Place, “which also refers to the falls.

Flat Rock River- The name comes from the Delaware name, Puck-op-ka” Puck means “rock”, though op-ka does not mean “flat,” as the translation implies. It may mean “bed” of a stream.

Georgetown- Named for George Cicott, an Indian whose reservation was partly in the town’s plat.

Grand Calumet River- The name is a corruption of of the Indian name appearing in various forms on old maps- Cal-la-mick, Kil-la-mick and Ken-no-mick, among others. All these form are Algonquian dialectical variations, meaning “a long body of deep, still water.”

Greentown- Platted on the site of an Indian town, Green’s Village, named for Chief Green, a Miami Indian.

*Iroquois River- the Potawatomi called this stream Pick-amik which means “full grown beavers”

*Kankakee River- The name is a corruption of the Potawatomi, “Tian-kakeek, meaning “low land” or “swampy country”.

Kewanna- The name is for a Potawatomi chief, “Ki-wa-na, “Prairie Chicke”

*Kokomo- Named for a Thorntown Miami Indiana, Ko-ka-ma, “The Diver”

LaCrosse- Lacrosse is the Indian game played with a crosier like stick

LaFontaine- named for Chief LaFontaine, leader of the Miami Indian nation.

Lagro- Named for LeGros, the French nickname of a Miami Chief who lived there.

Lake Lenape- the klake was named for the Delaware Indians who called themselves Lenni Lenape, or “virile men”, “true men” or “Men of men”

Lake Manitou- The name is from the Potawatomi ma-ne-to, referring to a supernatural spirit, said to be a monster, believed to live in the lake.

*Lake Maxinkuckee- A corruption of the name Mog-sin-kee-ki “Big Stone Country”, apparently so named for the extensive rock bars in the lake.

Lake Michigan- The name is probably a compound of the Ojibwa, mi-shi, “great” and sa-gie-gan, “lake”

Laughery Creek- Named for Colonel Archibald Laughery who was killed by Indians near its mouth in 1781

*Little Calumet River- See Grand Calumet River

Little Pipe Creek- See Big Pipe Creek

Logansport- Named for Captain Logan, a Shawnee, whose Indian name was Spemica Lawba, “High Horn” He was killed in 1812 serving with the US Army.

Majenica- Platted in 1856 and named for the Miami chief Man-ji-ni-kia, “Big Frame”

*Maumee River- The name is a corruption of Me-ah-me of which Miami is a form,

Metea- Named for the Potawatomi chief Mi-ti-a, “Kiss Me”

Miami- Name for the Miami nation of Indians who once inhabited the area. It literally means “all Beavers” but figuratively, “all friends”

*Mishawaka- According to local legend the town was named fot an Indian princess who died in 1818, but is actually the name ia a corruption of the Potawatomi m’she-wah-kee-ki, “country of dead trees”, referring to the deadening of trees when they are girdled with axes as a first steop toward clearing a forest. Apparently there was a tract of dead timber here.

*Mississinewa River- The name is a corruption of the Miami name Na-mah-chis-sin-wa, which literally means “an ascent” but as applied to the river eans “much fall in the river”.

Modoc- Named for the Modoc Indian tribe. Supposedly the name means “enemy

Mohawk- Named for the Iroqouis tribe. Probably a corruption from “Maugwawogs, “Maneaters”

*Mongo- From Mon-go-quin-ong, “Big Squaw” the Potawatomi name for the Elkhart River.

Monon- Name comes from a potawatomi word equivalent in usage to the southern “tote”

Monoquet- Named for a Potawatomi chief.

*Muncie- Formerly called Munseetown or Muncey Town because so many Delawares of the Munsee clan lived here. The name translated means “people of the stony country

*Musatatuck River- The name comes from the Delaware name of the stream, Mosch-ach-hit-tuk, “Clear River”

Muskelonge Lake- The name comes from the Ojibwa name, Maskinonge, “the great pike”

Nappanee- Comes from the Missisaaaauga na-pa-ni, “flour “The Hoosier town gets its name from the Canadian town napanee, which received its name from a gristmill there.

*Ohio River- The name is Iroquois and means “beautiful”

Osceola- Named for the famous Seminole chief whose name comes from os-y-o-hul-la, ceremonial drink

Oswego- An Iroquois name meaning “flowing Out”

Owasco- The name is borrowed from the New York lake, is Iroquois and means “floating bridge.”

*Patoka River- The name is Miami for “Comanche” who often held as slaves by the Miami

Pioga- The origin is uncertain but some believe that Peoga is an Indian word for “village”

Peru- Originally laid out in 1838 as Miamisport for the Miami Indians. Apparently the present name is for the country in South America

Pigeon River- The name comes from the Potawatomi name Wabememe, “White Pigeon”

Pleasant Lake- comes from the Indian name Nipcondish, “Pleasant Waters”

Red Cloud- Name perhaps comes from the famous Sious chief, Red Cloud, for whom other settlements in the U.S. were named

Roanoke- The name comes from the Virginia Indians and refers to their shell money.

Russiaville- the name is a corruption of Richardsville, the French name of Pin-je-wah, a Miami chief. Richardsville generally was pronounced as Rushersville and sometimes written accordingly.

*Salamonie River- The name is a corruption of the Miami name, On-sah-la-mo-nee, which was their name for bloodroot, The Miami chief LaGros, who lied opposite the river had the same name, so the stream may have been named for him or he for the stream.

Saluda- Originally was an Indian name applied to a river meaning “river of corn.”

Sand Creek- The name is translation of the Indian name, Laque-ka-ou-e-nek, “water running through sand.

Shakamak Lake- Is named for the Delaware name of nearby Eel River, which was Shack-a-mak,”Slippery fish.”

Shipshewana- Named for the lake of the same name . The Lake was named for a Potawatomi Indian, Cup-ci-wa-no, “Vision of a Lion.”

Squirrel Creek- Named for a Potawatomi chief, Niconga, “Squirrel”

Strawtown- Village named for Chief Straw, a Delaware Indiana whose village was located there.

Sugar Creek- Once called Sugar Tree Creek which is a translation of the Miami name, Sa-na-min-dji si-pi-wi.

Thorntown- A translation of the Indian village there which was Ka-wi-a-ki-un-gi, Place of thorns” or Ka-win-ja-ki-un-gi, “Thorn Tree Place.

Tiosa- Allegedly named for a Potawatomi Chief, Tiosa, “Beaver”

*Tippecanoe- The name is a corruption of the Potawatomi Ke-tap-e-kon-nong, Ketapekon town or place,” and Indian town at the mouth of the stream. The Miami name for the river was Ke-tap-kwon, “buffalo fish,” which are common in the river.

Topeka- The name is the Shawnee word for the Jerusalem artichoke.

Toto- Supposedly an Indian word meaning “bullfrog.”

*Wabash/Wabash River- The name is contraction of the Miami name for the stream Wah-bah-shik-ki. The word suggests that an object is pure white or bright inanimate and natural, It refers to ta limestone bed in the upper part of the river.

Waco- Named for the city in Texas, ultimately the name comes from We-ko, “heron” a subtribe of the Wichita Indians.

Wadena- Perhaps comes from an Ojibwa word meaning “little round hill.”

Wanatuh- Named for an Indian chief, whose name meant “he who charges his enemies.”

Wawaka- The name is Indian meaning “Big Heron”

Wawasee- Named for a Potawatomi chief, Wah-wa-as-see, “full moon,” or literally “the round one.”

Wawpecong- The name comes from the Indian name of a place, Wa-pi-pa-ka-na, “shell-bark hickories,” for the large number of these trees growing here.

Wea Creek- The name is an abbreviation of Ouiatanon, a Miami tribe and a French post on the Wabash named for the tribe.

Weasel Creek- The name is a corruption of the stream and reservation named for a Miami chief, We-saw is the Miami word for the gall bladder of an animal.

Whitewater River- The name is a translation of the Indian name, Wapi-nepay, “white clear water,” descriptive of its bed of white sand, gravel and limestone.

Wildcat Creek- The name comes for the Miami name, Pin-ji-wa-mo-tai, “Belly of the Wildcat.”

Winamac- Named for the Potawatomi chief, Wi-na-mak, literally “mudfish (catfish).”

*Winona- The name comes from Wi-no-nah, a Sioux proper name given to a firstborn child if it is a female.

Wolfe Lake- Named for the Indians name Katam-wah-see-te-wah, “Black Wolf.”

Wyandotte- Named for the Indian tribe. The name probably means “People of One Speech.”

Yellow River- The name is from the Potawatomi name of the stream, Way-thow-kah-mik, “yellow waters.”

From Indiana Place Names by Ronald Baker and Marvin Carmony.


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