Special Report

Every State With a Native American Name

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1. Alabama

Alabama was named after the Albaamaha tribe, who were part of the Creek Confederacy. The word appears to be a combination of two Choctaw words, alba (“plants”) and amo (“to cut or gather”), and it’s theorized that the Choctaws described their neighbors — who were known to practice agriculture — as albaamo (“plant gatherers”) and the name stuck.

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2. Alaska

Natives of the Aleutian Islands, the Unangan, called the landmass to their east alaxsxaq, which means “place the sea crashes against.”

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3. Arizona

Although theories exist attributing the state’s name to a Basque word, another prevailing theory attributes the name to a Spanish corruption of the Tohono O’odham word alishonag, which means “having a little spring.”

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Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

4. Arkansas

Acansa was a Quapaw town in what is now Arkansas. The word means “southern place,” but it also became the name that settlers in the area used to refer to the Quapaw.

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5. Connecticut

Connecticut comes from the Mohegan name for the Connecticut River, quinnitukqut, which means “beside the long tidal river.”

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