Map of American Indian tribes whose names became those of states and other geographical places

January 28, 2018

See the list below for tribal names and words from indigenous Indian languages that became part of the English language as the name for states, cities, geographical areas, and things (Navajo rugs, Conestoga wagons, Mohawk haircut, Tillamook cheese, etc). 











26 of the United States are named for Native American tribes (work-n-progress)

Alabama ~ campsite ~ indigenous tribe living on land that became Alabama

Alaska ~ place the sea crashes against ~ Aleut language

Arizona ~ little spring ~ Spanish corruption of local Indian placename

Arkansas ~ southern place ~ Quapaw Indian town

Connecticut ~ long river ~ Mohegan Indian name for the Connecticut River

Illinois ~ best people ~ name of the Illini tribe

Iowa ~ sleepy ones ~ Ioway Indian tribe (original spelling “Ayuxwa’)

Kansas ~ south, also People of the South Wind ~ short form for Kansa Indian tribe

Kentucky ~ meadow land (Kentake)Iroquois placename

Massachusetts ~ by the range of hills ~ Wampanoag Indian placename


Michigan ~ great lake ~ Mshigem or Misigami are native names for Lake Michigan in the Potawatomi and Ojibwe languages






Minnesota ~ cloudy water ~ Mnisota is the native name of the Minnesota River in the Dakota Sioux language




New Mexico

North & South Dakota







Native American names for geographical places 

Ottawa (Canada)

Appalachia (mountain range)

Allegany (mountains)

Manhattan (Island ~ NYC)

Nantucket (Sound)

Susquehanna (River)

Shasta (mountain)

Mojave (desert)

City names from American Indian language

Biloxi, Miss

Cheyenne, Wy

Chillicothe, Ohio

Chowchilla, Ca

Eufaula, Ok

Huron, Mich

Kalispell, Montana

Klamath, Ca

Maricopa, Ca

Miami, Fl

Mobile, Ala

Muskogee, OK

Natchez, Miss

Ocala, Fla

Pensacola, Fl

Peoria, Ill

Pontiac, Mich

Saginaw, Mich

Seneca Fall, NY

Tuskegee, Ala

Seminole County, Florida)

Sioux City, Iowa

Spokane, Wash

Taos, NM

Waco, Texas

Walla Walla, Wash

Wichita, Kansas

Winnebago, Ill


Yuma, Arizona

Am Indian words now used to name things

Navajo (rugs)

Conestoga (wagons)

Oneida (dinnerware)

Mohawk (hair cut)

Cherokee (ford truck)

Comanche (truck)

Chinook (seasonal wind west coast

Tillamook – well-known brand of cheese manufactured near Tillamook Indian lands

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