Native American Place Names in Mississippi

Native American Place Names in Mississippi

Keith A. Baca
Copyright Date: 2007
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2tv7fg
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Native American Place Names in Mississippi
    Book Description:

    Biloxi. Tunica. Pascagoula. Yazoo. Tishomingo. Yalobusha. Tallahatchie. Itta Bena. Yockanookany. Bogue Chitto. These and hundreds of other place names of Native American origin are scattered across the map of Mississippi. Described by writer Willie Morris as "the mysterious, lost euphonious litany," such colorful names, which were given by the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and other tribes, contribute significantly to the state's sense of place. Yet the general public is largely unaware of exact meanings and tribal roots.

    Native American Place Names in Mississippiis the first reference book devoted to a subject of interest to residents and visitors alike. From large rivers and towns to tiny creeks and rural communities, Keith A. Baca identifies the most likely meanings of many names with more than one recorded interpretation. He corrects misconceptions that have arisen over the years and translates numerous names for the first time. For the benefit of travelers, he provides the location of each named place. To bring attention to often inconspicuous and unmarked streams he also indicates points where highways cross rivers and creeks with Native American appellations. Sidebars present Native American history, legends, and myths that surround these enigmatic and alluring designations.

    Formerly an archaeologist with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Keith A. Baca is an independent researcher and writer living in Starkville, Mississippi. He is the author of the award-winningIndian Mounds of Mississippi: A Visitor's Guide.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-483-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xx)

    This book collects and translates the almost six hundred Native American place names currently used in the state of Mississippi. With a few exceptions, obsolete Indian toponyms, consisting largely of stream designations and Indian village names appearing only on old maps and other historical documents, are not listed. Also, place names whose Indian components consist of words that have been well assimilated into American English—e.g., bayou (via Louisiana French), coon, possum, hickory, pecan, persimmon, etc.—are, in most cases, omitted. And, the many Mississippi creeks, springs, towns, and rural communities bearing “Indian” in their names are excluded, as that...

  5. Native American Place Names in Mississippi
    (pp. 3-136)

    SW Carroll/SE Leflore/NW Holmes counties. Crossed by U.S. Hwy. 49E one mi. N of Cruger. From Choctawabaiyvka, “the side of a swamp or creek” (Seale 1939, p. 34).

    W Carroll County. Local pronunciation unrecorded. From Choctawapokta, “doubled” andpvtha, “wide” (Seale 1939, pp. 33–34), i.e., a wide creek with two branches.

    Community (founded c. 1850) in N Holmes County. Local pronunciation unrecorded. This name somewhat resembles the Choctaw wordsokhina, “water course; ford; stream” andaiikhvna, “place for learning; school.” Another possibility is that Acona is derived from Choctawyakni, “land” (cf. Yocona River and Yokena, q.v.)....

  6. References
    (pp. 137-143)