I’m always trying to better engage with the places I visit on my travels by spending time walking, living among the locals, seeking out the cultural peculiarities, learning the history, etc. Starting in March, 2021, I have been using Native Land to learn about the original inhabitants of the land upon which I am temporarily living as I travel, so that I can acknowledge their communities, cultures, and the losses thereof in the face of an insatiable invader. By doing so, I hope in some small way to keep their histories alive, and to understand that my easy and endless travels have come at the price of generations of suffering. Here’s the list, my tribute to the original inhabitants of this continent, whose ghosts I encounter and acknowledge as I move:
Golden Meadow, LA: Chitimacha and Houma
Savannah, GA: Mvskoke (Muscogee/Creek) and Yamassee
Carrollton, VA: Nansemond and Warraskoyack
Wilmington, DE: Lenape Haki-nk (Lenni-Lenape)
Poughkeepsie, NY: Mohican and the Wappinger Munsee Lenape (who are said to have named this place roughly U-puku-ipi-sing, which means “the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place”)
Florence, KY: Shawandasse Tula (Shawnee), Eastern Cherokee, Osage, Kaskaskia, and, long ago, Hopewell and Adena
Maumelle, AR: Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux), O-ga-xpa (Quapaw), and Osage
New Orleans, LA: Chitimacha and Chahta Yakni (Choctaw)
Louisville, KY: Kaskaskia, Osage, Shawandasse Tula (Shawnee), Myaamia, and, long ago, Hopewell and Adena
Columbus, OH: Kaskaskia, Shawandasse Tula (Shawnee), Myaamia, and, long ago, Hopewell
Chicago, IL: Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Waazija (Ho-Chunk / Winnebago, Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi), Kaskaskia, Peoria, Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), and Myaamia, who’s word for the wild onion or ramp Allium tricoccum, shikaakwa, provided this city it’s current name after a great deal of French imagination and Anglo lack thereof.
Madison, WI: Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Peoria, Sauk & Meskwaki, Myaamia, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, and Ho-Chunk / Winnebago, who called this place Taychopera, meaning “land of the four lakes.”
Appleton, WI: Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Ho-Chunk / Winnebago, Myaamia, and Menominee
Sioux Falls, SD: Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, who called this place Íŋyaŋ Okábleča Otȟúŋwahe, meaning “Stone Shatter City.”
Omaha, NE: Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and Omaha or Umoⁿhoⁿ tóⁿde ukʰéthiⁿ, “dwellers of the bluff,” for whom this city is named.