The Indian word “Chattanooga” means “rock rising to a point”. Many of our towns were named using the Native American’s language. Often, one Indian word could describe many words used by the European settlers. Our ancestors found many of the Indian words very romantic. Chattanooga, TN is a perfect example of this method in naming our towns and cities. Here is a view of “Lookout Mountain”, definitely a “rock rising to a point”. The tradition of using the Native American’s language to describe their new community started early in America. Many northeastern towns from New York to Florida were named in this manner. The tradition continued across the United States to the west coast. Every state has a town that was named from a Native American word or phrase. Nearly half of our states have used this method for their own names. It is ironic how the United States used the American Native’s language but did very little to uphold their existence and rights.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress