Indian language * American Indian tribes * Indian cultures

Minnesota Native Animal Words

Here are the American Indian names of eight native animals of Minnesota. We have given their names in the two major Minnesota Indian languages: Ojibwe and Dakota Sioux. As you can probably tell from looking at these names, Ojibwe and Dakota are not related to each other. Ojibwe is an Algonquian language and Dakota is a Siouan language.

Can you find two of the Ojibwe names that sound similar to the animals' English names? English colonists borrowed the word for this new animal from Algonquian speakers!

Minnesota Native Animal Names


Ojibwe: ma'iingan (pronounced muh-een-gun)
Dakota: šunktokeca (pronounced shoonk-tok-ay-cha)

Ojibwe: makwa (pronounced muck-wuh)
Dakota: mato (pronounced mah-toh)

Ojibwe: waabitii (pronounced wah-bih-tee)
Dakota: tahinca (pronounced tah-heen-chah)

Ojibwe: mooz (pronounced moos)
Dakota: hemdaska (pronounced hame-dah-skah)

Ojibwe: esiban (pronounced ay-sih-bun)
Dakota: wica (pronounced wee-chah)

Ojibwe: zhigaag (pronounced shkock)
Dakota: maka (pronounced mah-kah)

Ojibwe: giigoonh (pronounced gih-goon)
Dakota: hoghan (pronounced ho-ghawn)

Ojibwe: bineshiinh (pronounced bih-nay-sheen)
Dakota: zitkadan (pronounced zeet-kah-dawn)

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