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Illinois Native Animal Words

Here are the American Indian names of six native animals of Illinois. We have given their names in three different Indian languages: Dakota Sioux, Miami-Illinois, and Shawnee.

Two of these Native Illinois languages are related to the Algonquian language family, and the other one is not. Can you guess which languages are relatives by looking at the animal names on this page? (Hint: Not every word will sound similar even in closely related languages, so you will need to look at several different animals to figure it out!) You can find the answer on this page: The Algonquian languages.

Illinois Native Animal Names


Miami-Illinois: mahkwa (pronounced mah-kwuh)
Dakota: mato (pronounced mah-toh)
Shawnee: mkwa (pronounced muh-kwah)

Miami-Illinois: mahweewa (pronounced mah-way-wa)
Dakota: šunktokeca (pronounced shoonk-toh-kay-chah)
Shawnee: mhweewa (pronounced muh-way-wa)

Miami-Illinois: moohswa (pronounced moo-swah)
Dakota: tahinca (pronounced tah-heen-chah)
Shawnee: petakine'θi (pronounced pay-tah-kee-nay-thee)

Miami-Illinois: anikwa (pronounced ah-neek-wah)
Dakota: zica (pronounced zee-chah)
Shawnee: hanikwa (pronounced hah-neek-wah)

Miami-Illinois: kiihkoneehsa (pronounced kee-ko-nay-sah)
Dakota: hoghan (pronounced ho-ghawn)
Shawnee: nameeθa (pronounced nah-may-tha)

Miami-Illinois: aamaawia (pronounced ah-mah-wee-ah)
Dakota: tuxmagha (pronounced tookh-ma-ghah)
Shawnee: hamo (pronounced hah-mo)

Return to our Illinois Native American homepage.