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Michigan Native Animal Words

Here are the American Indian names of six native animals of Michigan. We have given their names in three different Indian languages: Chippewa, Potawatomi and Sauk-Fox. As you can tell by looking at these words, these languages were related to each other. They both belong to the Algonquian family.

Can you find one of these animal names that sounds similar in the Native American languages and English? English colonists borrowed the word for this new animal from Algonquian speakers!

Michigan Native Animal Names


Chippewa: ma'iingan (pronounced muh-een-gun)
Potawatomi: mwe (pronounced muh-way)
Sauk-Fox: mahwÍwa (pronounced mah-way-wah)

Chippewa: makwa (pronounced muck-wuh)
Potawatomi: mko (pronounced muh-koh)
Sauk-Fox: mahkwa (pronounced mah-kwah)

Chippewa: waabitii (pronounced wah-bih-tee)
Potawatomi: suksi (pronounced sook-see)
Sauk-Fox: peshekisia (pronounced pay-shay-kee-see-ah)

Chippewa: esiban (pronounced ay-sih-bun)
Potawatomi: ťspIn (pronounced as-pun)
Sauk-Fox: Ísepana (pronounced ay-say-pah-nah)

Chippewa: zhigaag (pronounced shkock)
Potawatomi: shkak (pronounced shkock)
Sauk-Fox: shek‚kwa (pronounced sheh-kock-wah)

Chippewa: waabooz (pronounced wah-boose)
Potawatomi: wabozo (pronounced wah-bo-zoh)
Sauk-Fox: meshwÍha (pronounced mesh-way-hah)

Return to our Michigan Indian Tribes homepage.