The language that gave Missouri its name

Many place names in the United States are borrowed from Native American words. It’s often hard to trace the roots. Over time, the original names were often transformed beyond recognition, victims of mangled pronunciation. Suzanne Hogan is our guide to the origins of Missouri, a name rooted in the Chiwere language. Chiwere has been imperiled for generations but kept alive by the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, and by one tribe member in particular: Truman Washington Dailey, a pioneer of North American language revitalization.

Suzanne Hogan is the host of the podcast, A People’s History of Kansas City. Read more about this episode here, and more about the Otoe-Missouria Tribe here. A People’s History of Kansas City is supported by the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri.

Music in this episode courtesy of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe. Other music by Gunnar Johnsen, Blue Dot Sessions, Medité, and Trabant 33. The photo shows a delegation of the Otoe-Missouria tribe in 1881. (Credit: John K. Hillers / Gilman Collection, Metropolitan Museum Of Art.) 

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