“A good map is both a useful tool and a magic carpet to far away places.” - Unknown
At ngm.nathionalgeographic.com there is a wonderful interactive map of America featuring, cities, states, mountain and rivers with Native American names. If you click on one of the many choices, you’ll see the literal translation. For instance, the Adirondack Mountains in New York means ‘Tree Eaters,’ the city of Ponchaoula in Louisiana is ‘Falling Hair,’ and Amoxiumqua in New Mexico translates to ‘Ant Hill.’
Living in Florida, I was particularly interested in some of the names around me. They all make sense. Allaputtah translates to ‘Alligator,’ Okeechobee is ‘Big Water’ and Echashotee is ‘Manatee home.’
However, some names made me curious and left me wanting to know, as ‘Paul Harvey’ used to say, “The rest of the story.” For instance, Malibu translates to ‘it makes a loud noise all the time over there.’ Was it the sound of the surf or noisy settlers that brought on such a name? Also I wonder how it’s possible for one six-letter letter word to stand for ten English words.
I’d also like to know why Kupunkamint Mountain in Montana was named something that means ‘shakes himself.’ Or why anyone thought that a good name for a city in California would be Loleta, which translates to ‘let’s have intercourse.’ I’m sure there’s an interesting story there!
Since I have spent so much time at this site, I need is to figure out a way to apply this useless but fun information in the fiction I write. Any suggestions?
Thanks for stopping by. And a special thank you to all of you that who have been leaving comments. I appreciate the fact you have taken the time to let me know you visited. Your informative, kind and funny remarks brighten my day.
Tags: National Geographic, Adirondack, Ponchaoula, Okeechobee, Malibu, Florida, Native American names, interactive map, >, Paul Harvey,