Our Names

Anicinàpek/Anishinaabeg/Anishinabek/Anishininiwag/Nishnabec: “People from Whence Lowered, “The Good Humans,” “Beings Made Out of Nothing” or “Spontaneous Beings.” All variants of the the self-description used by a group of Algonkian Nations who speak mutually intelligible dialects of of the same language. According to Anishinaabe oral tradition, and from records of wiigwaasabak (birch bark scrolls) they migrated westwards from the East Coast. Anishinaabe oral history considers them as descendents of the both Abenaki and Lenape people and refers to them as the “Fathers” and “Grandfathers” respectively. According to the oral history, seven great miigis (radiant/iridescent beings in human form) appeared to the Anishinaabe peoples in the Waabanakiing (Land of the Dawn, i.e., Eastern Land) to teach the people about the midewiwin life-style and which lead them on the westward migration which saw them spread across the region of Nayaano-Nibiimaang Gichigamiin (The Great Lakes). The people that make up the Anishinaabe are the:

  • Algonquin
  • Nipissing
  • Mississaugas
  • Odawa
  • Ojibwe
  • Potawatomi
  • Oji-Cree
  • Saulteaux

Within the Anishinaabe there was also the Niswi-Mishkodewin, The Council of Three Fires. Also known as the Three Fires Confederacy is a particular subgrouping and political unity within the Anishinaabe comprising the united Nations of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples.

Asakiwaki: The Sauk.

Ka͞eyes-Mamāceqtawak: “The Ancient Ones/The Ancient People”. Both terms for the nation commonly known as the Menominee. Our history in what is now called Wisconsin, as well as parts of Michigan and Illinois, dates back 10,000 years. Menominee Dreamers foresaw the coming of a light skinned people in large boats that would come into the bay of Green Bay and change our lives forever, a prophesy that came true in 1634 when the French explorer Jean Nicolet arrived at Green Bay. The French had already encountered the Anishinaabe, who refered to us as manoominii, meaning “wild rice people,” refering to the staple crop important to us, but also to the Anishinaabe, and which the Anishinaabe followed the Miigis in their migration from the East to find. We have ancient cultural, linguistic, political and familial relations with the Anishinaabe and other Algonkian people’s of the Great Lakes and Eastern Seaboard.

Kiwigapawa: The Kickapoo.

Lenni-Lenape: The Delaware.

Meskwaki: The Fox.

Nēhilawē: “Those Who speak Our Language”. The group of people commonly known as the Cree.

  • Ilnu-Aimûn: The Western Montagnais, Betsiamites dialect.
  • Innu-Aimûn: The Eastern Montagnais, including the Naskapi.
  • Iynu-Ayimûn: The Southern East Cree.
  • Iyyu-Ayimûn: Northern East Cree.
  • Maskekon/Omaškêkowak/Omushkego: The Swampy Cree.
  • Nēhinawēwin/Nehirâmowin: The Atikamekw.
  • Nēhiyawēwin: The Plains Cree.
  • Nehlueun: The Western Montagnais, Piyekwâkamî dialect.
  • Nīhithawīwin: The Woods Cree.

Niitsítapi: The Blackfoot Confederacy:

  • Káínaa: The Blood.
  • Piikáni: The Piegan.
  • Siksikáwa: The Blackfoot “Proper”.

Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Oceti Sakowin): “Seven Council Fires”. The Great Sioux Nation, traditionally divided up by Whites into three linguistically and regionally based groups and several subgroups:

  • Titunwan/Teton (Lakotah/Teton/Tetonwan): “Dwellers of the Prairie”. Commonly known as the Lakotah, they are part of a confederation of seven related tribes, and speak Lakȟóta, one of the three major dialects of the Oceti Sakowin language. Also known as the Lakotah, meaning “feeling affection, friendly, united, allied”. The Titunwan/Teton  are further sub-divided into:
    • Sičháŋǧu (Sicangu/Brulé): “Burned Thighs”.
    • Oglála (Oglala): “Scatters their own”.
    • Itázipčho (Sans Arc): “Without Bows”.
    • Húŋkpapȟa (Hunkpapa): “Head of the Circle”.
    • Mnikȟówožu (Mnicoujou)
    • Sihásapa (Sihasapa): “Blackfoot Sioux”
    • Oóhenuŋpa (Oohe Nopa): “Two Kettles”
  • Ihanktowan: “Village at the End”. Proper name of the people often known as the Yankton. Traditionally resided in the area of the Minnesota river.
  • Isányathi/Isánathi: “Knife”. Proper name for the people often known as the Santee or Eastern Dakota. Traditionally resided in the extreme east of the of the modern amerikan territories of the Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Iowa.

Rotinonshón:ni (Rotinoshoni/Rotinonsonni/Rotinonsionni/Haudenosaunee/Hotinnochiendi/Ganonsyoni): “People of the long house”, “the people of the completed longhouse”, “the lodge extended lengthwise”, the Five/Six Nations of the Iroquois, the league of the Iroquois, the Iroquois confederacy. The members of the Confederacy are:

  • Kaion’kehá:ka (Kaiokwenhá:ka`/Kaionkwe’haka/Kaokwa haka/Kayonkwe’haka) : “People of the great swamp.” Cayuga.
  • Kanien’kehá:ka (Kenienke haka / Kanyen’kehaka: “People of the flint.” Mohawk.
  • Oneniote’á:ka (Onenyote’haka): ”People of the standing stone.” Oneida or Onneiouts.
  • Ononta’kehá:ka (Oneota haka): “People of the hills.” Onondaga.
  • Shotinontowane’á:ka (Shotinontowane’haka/Sonontowa haka): ”People of the great mountain.” Seneca.
  • Tehatiskaró:ros (Taskaroraha:ka/Taskarorahaka): “People of the shirt.”  Tuscarora.

Shawanwa: The Shawnee.

TsitsistasThe Cheyenne.

Wabanaki (Wabanahkiyik/Waponahkiyik/Waponahkewiyik/Wôbanakiak): “Dawnland”, a confederacy of Algonquin speaking peoples located in, and named for, the area they called Wabanahkik. This area can be described roughly as that area now called New England and the Canadian Maritimes. In New England they were primarily located in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire but also in a part of Massachusetts. In Canada they were located primarily in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick but also in Quebec south of the St. Lawrence River. They were also closely allied with the Innu and Algonquin, and with the Iroquoian-speaking Wyandot. The members of the Confederacy are:

  • Alnobak: The Abenaki
  • Lnu’kThe Micmac/Mi’gmaq/Mìgmaq
  • PenawapskewtThe Penobscot.
  • PeskotomuhkatiThe Passamaquoddy.
  • WolastoqiyikThe Maliseet.

Wendat (Wyndat/Wyandot/Wyandatt): Iroquois-speaking nation commonly known as the “Huron”. Huron was the French name for the Wendat because of their farming. Literally, “Huron“ means “peasant“; Guyandot, Guyandotte, Ouendat, and Wyandotte.