SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



November 23, 2012
Friday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - As National American Indian Heritage Month continues, many people across the country may not be aware that the states they live in have names derived from Indian words. In fact, the names of 22 states are derived from American Indian-Alaska Native words, including Alaska, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio, as well as Connecticut, Michigan, and Illinois.

National American Indian Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States.

“National American Indian Heritage Month” had its origins in 1986 when Congress passed Pub. L. 99-471 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week of November 23-30, 1986 as “American Indian Week.” As directed by Congress, President Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 5577 in November 1986 proclaiming the first American Indian Week. Both law and proclamation recognized the American Indians as the first inhabitants of the lands that now constitute the United States as well as making mention of their contributions to American society.

In 1990 Congress passed Pub. L. 101-343 which authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the month of November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month. Congress chose the month of the November to recognize the American Indians as this month concluded the traditional harvest season and was generally a time of thanksgiving and celebration for the American Indians.

President George W. Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6230 which paid tribute to the rich history and culture of the American Indian tribes. In 1991 Congress passed Pub. L. 102-123 which authorized and requested the President proclaim the months of November 1991 and 1992 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Congress passed Pub. L. 103-462 authorized the President to proclaim November 1993 and 1994 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”

Since 1995 Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have issued annual proclamations which designate November as National American Indian Heritage Month. These proclamations celebrate the contributions of the American Indians and urge the peoples of the United States to learn more about the American Indian cultures.

Names of states derived from American Indian or Alaska Native words:

Alabama - Name comes from Alabama River by early European explorers and named "Alibamu#34; after the local Indian tribe.

Alaska - Aleut word meaning "great land"or "that which the sea breaks against."

Arizona - The name derived from the O'odham Indian word for "little spring."

Arkansas - Name comes from the Quapaw Indians.

Connecticut - Name derived from an Indian word "Quinnehtukqut" "beside the long tidal river."

Illinois - Name comes from an Algonquin word for "tribe of superior men."

Indiana - Word that means "land of Indians."

Iowa - Named after the Ioway Indian tribe.

Kansas- Derived from a Sioux word meaning "people of the south wind."

Kentucky - Derived from an Iroquoian word "Ken-tah-ten" meaning #34;land of tomorrow."

Massachusetts - Name comes from Massachusett tribe of Native Americans, meaning "at or about the great hill."

Michigan - Name comes from an American Indian word "Michigana" meaning "great or large lake."

Minnesota - Name comes from a Dakota Indian word meaning "sky-tinted water."

Mississippi - Name come from an Indian word meaning "Father of Waters."

Missouri - Named after the Missouri Indian tribe. "Missouri" means "town of the large canoes."

Nebraska - Name derived from an Oto Indian word meaning "flat water."

North Dakota - Name comes from the Sioux tribe, meaning "allies."

Ohio- Name comes from an Iroquoian word meaning "great river."

Oklahoma - Name comes from two Choctaw Indian words meaning "red people."

South Dakota - Name comes from the Sioux tribe, meaning "allies."

Tennessee - The exact meaning is unknown; though many think name is derived from a Cherokee word.

Texas - Name comes from an Indian word meaning "friends."

Utah - Name comes from the Ute tribe, meaning "people of the mountains."

Wisconsin - Name origin comes from name given to the Wisconsin River by Algonquian speaking tribe.

Wyoming - Name comes from the Delaware Indian word, meaning "mountains and valleys alternating" the same as the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania.



Sources of News: 

Chase's Calendar of Events 2012, p. 531
U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features, CB11-FF.22

Library of Congress


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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