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Virginia Native Animal Words

Here are the American Indian names of six native animals of Virginia. We have given their names in three different Indian languages: Catawba, Cherokee,, and Powhatan. As you can see, the languages of these three tribes were totally different. They needed interpreters to talk to each other.

Can you find two Indian words on this page that sound similar to their English names? The early colonists borrowed the English words for these new animals from a Virginia Indian language!

Virginia Native Animal Names


Catawba: widəboye (pronounced wee-duh-boh-yay)
Cherokee: ahawi (pronounced ah-wee)
Powhatan: vttapaantam (pronounced uh-tah-pahn-tam)

Catawba: ciqəne (pronounced chee-kuh-nay)
Cherokee: kvtli (pronounced cutt-lee)
Powhatan: aroughcun (pronounced a-raw-coon)

Catawba: dəpəyamuye (pronounced duh-puh-yah-moo-yay)
Cherokee: tsutla (pronounced joot-lah)
Powhatan: onxe (pronounced onk-seh)

Catawba: dəpətustren (pronounced duh-puh-tus-tren)
Cherokee: siqua utsetsasdi (pronounced see-qua oon-jay-joss-dee)
Powhatan: opassom (pronounced oh-pah-som)

Catawba: panyan (pronounced pahn-yahn)
Cherokee: saloli (pronounced sah-lo-lee)
Powhatan: missanek (pronounced miss-a-neck)

Catawba: ya (pronounced yah)
Cherokee: inada (pronounced ee-nah-dah)
Powhatan: sassacomuwah (pronounced sass-a-co-mu-wah)

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