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Q: I am writing you because I was given the name Me-Zhair-ess and it belonged to my ancestor Mitchell Bettese who was Kickapoo/Potawatomi and no one knows what it means or how it is said could you please help me.

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A: It does sound sort of Potawatomi to us. However, there is no R or L in Potawatomi, so our Potawatomi speaker isn't sure what the sound in the middle of the word could originally have been. Our best guess is that perhaps it could have been a corruption of the word Mshewes (pronounced muh-zheh-wess) which means "little elk." But this is only a guess-- it's impossible to be certain of a Native American name only from an English misspelling of it.

Hope that helps a little, have a good day!
Native Languages of the Americas

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