By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
The Chickasaw tribe’s long existence in Northeast Mississippi remains evident in the names of the region’s counties, cities and rivers – many of which derive from Chickasaw words.
The following names and their meanings were compiled from numerous sources. When sources conflicted, both meanings are provided.
• Chickasaw: Named after the tribe itself.
• Chuquatonchee: A word meaning “hog corn.”
• Itawamba: Named after Levi Colbert, also known as Itte-wamba Mingo, a Chickasaw chief.
• Iuka: Named after a Chickasaw chief who lived in the village that once occupied Iuka.
• Neshoba: A word meaning “wolf.”
• Okolona: Named after a Chickasaw brave whose name was Okalaua, meaning “peaceful yellow or blue water.”
• Oktibbeha: Named “bloody water” after battles fought between the Chickasaw and the Choctaw.
• Pontotoc: Named for a Chickasaw chief; or a word meaning “land of hanging grapes.”
• Tippah: The name of a Chickasaw chief’s wife; or a word meaning “cut off.”
• Tishomingo: Named after the Chickasaw chief who signed the Treaty of Pontotoc in 1832 and later died on the Trail of Tears.
• Toccopola: A word meaning “an old crossing place” and originally spelled Tokalopulli.
• Yoknapatawpha: A word meaning “plowed land.”
• The suffix mingo (or minko) is used to identify a king or chief, as in Piomingo and Tishomingo.