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Native Names of Plants and Animals along the Lewis and Clark Trail

Today the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail passes through the homelands of more than sixty tribes. These tribes celebrate their own languages, art, culture, and innovation.

Below, hear the names of a few plants and animals in indigenous languages. Just remember, each plant and animal has dozens of different names depending on who is speaking and what language the speaker is using. Do you know a name in another language?



butterfly

Featured Native Name: sawiitakaá’A

Also known as: butterfly

Indigenous Language: Arikara. Arikara is a Great Plains language.

Learn more about this living language. Native Name/ Audio Credit: Arikara dictionary. Mandan Hidatsa Arikara (MHA) Language Project. Special thanks to: Logan Sutton ( Language Material Developer, MHA Nation,) Amy Mossett (Education Director, MHA Nation,) and Tony Lone Fight (Interim Director Culture & Language Department, MHA Nation).

Visit: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail site within this language region: Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. Stanton, ND.



plant on yellow background
Featured Native Name: qáamsit

Also known as: cous root, biscuit root

Indigenous Language: Nimipuutímt / Nez Perce. Spoken by the Nimiipuu / Nez Perce. Qáamsit refers to the plant fresh, and qáaws refers to the plant when peeled and dried.

Learn more about this living language. Native Name/Audio Credit: Thomas Gregory/ tátlo, Nez Perce Language Team Leader. Nez Perce Language Program. Nez Perce Tribe

Visit: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail site within this language region: Nez Perce National Historical Park. Lapwai, ID.



drawing of three silver fish (salmon) swimming against a current
Featured Native Name: kwənat

Also known as: salmon

Indigenous Language: Chinuk Wawa. In the Pacific Northwest, on the mouth of the Columbia River, Chinuk Wawa developed as a trade language to help the many tribes and European traders communicate. Drawing heavily from the language of lower Chinook, Chinuk Wawa also incorporated parts of Nuu-Chah-Nulth (Nootkan), Salish, and other Native languages, as well as French and English.

Learn more about this living language. Native Name/ Audio Credit: The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Chinuk Wawa Education Program. Special thanks to: Ali Holsclaw.

Visit: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail site within this language region: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Vancouver, WA.


drawing of plump bird with small head. Large collar of white feathers. Huge plume of tall feathers on rump.
Featured Native Name: huittsaan

Also known as: sage grouse, sage hen.

Indigenous Language: Shoshoni/Shoshone.

Learn more about this living language. Native Name/ Audio Credit: Audio: Boyd Graham (Smoky Valley), Kathy Adams-Blackeye (Duckwater). Shoshoni Language Project: Shoshoni Talking Dictionary. University of Utah. Shared under terms of Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Visit: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail site within this language region: Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural, and Educational Center. Salmon, ID.



drawing of two prairie dogs. One is standing and calling out. One prairie dog peaks from a burrow.
Featured Native Name: pispíza

Also known as: prairie dog

Indigenous Language: Lakota. Spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux Tribe. The Lakota language is part of the Siouan language family of the Northern Plains and Missouri River Valley.

Learn more about this living language. Native Name/Audio Credit: Lakota Language Consortium | New Lakota Dictionary (NLD) Mobile App

Visit: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail site within this language region: Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. Chamberlain, SD.



 Drawing of two round bright green fruits with bumpy skin.
Featured Native Name: oonsaawaahkwa

Also known as: Osage Orange.

Indigenous Language: Myaamiaataweenki / ‘Miami-Illinois’. Originated in the lands that became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Learn more about this living language. Native Name/ Audio Credit: Myaamia Center @ Miami University.

Visit: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail site within this language region: Falls of the Ohio State Park. Clarksville, IN.



Last updated: June 7, 2021