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North American Indian Words
Used In The English Language

cheechako - A term in the mining districts of the Pacific Northwest for a newcomer, greenhorn or recently arrived immigrant; a tenderfoot.

coontie - The arrowroot of any of several low-growing palm-like cycads of the genus Zamia found in Florida or other areas of tropical and subtropical America.

hogan - The dwelling of an American Indian dwelling, particularly that of a Navajo, which has been constructed from logs, earth, branches, etc., and covered with mud and soil.

kachina - Any of various ancestral spirits that are deified in Pueblo Indian mythology and impersonated by masked dancers in religious rituals.

kiva - A chamber, often built wholly or partly underground, used by male Pueblo Indians for religious ceremonies and other purposes.

menhaden - An Algonquin word for a fish of the herring family Brevoortia Tyrannus of North America's Atlantic coast that is used as a source of oil and fertilizer. .

moccasin - A shoe made entirely of soft leather, such as deerskin, that was worn by the North American Indians, trappers, etc. Also, a soft, informal shoe that resembles this or a hard-soled shoe or slipper that resembles this.

mola - A textile made by sewing squares of brightly colored appliquéd cloth together to form patterns and worn as a blouse by Cuna Indian women of the San Blas Islands of Panama.

peag - Another term for wampum. See wampum.

pemmican - A light-weight, highly nutritious food made from dried meat that is pounded to a powder and mixed with melted fat and dried fruit or berries to form a paste and then pressed into a loaf or small cakes.

piki - A maize-meal bread that is baked in sheets as thin and crisp as paper by the Hopi Indians of the southwestern United States.

pocosin - A word in the southeastern U.S. for a marsh or tract of low swampy ground, usually wooded, in a coastal region.

pow-wow - A ceremony, especially one that involves feasting, dancing, and magic performed to cure disease or ensure success in a hunt, etc. Also, a council or conference of, or with, Indians. Finally, any meeting, conference, congress, discussion, or consultation.

shaganappi - A thongs, straps, or lacings that are made from rawhide; rawhide that has been cut into strips. Also, an adjective that describes something made from strips of rawhide or of cheap, inferior, materials, or in rough, makeshift fashion.

teepee - A tepee; wigwam; conical tent used by the American Indians. The teepee is a conical tent made from skins, cloth, canvas, etc., stretched over a frame of poles that are fastened together at the top. Also, any structure that resembles this.

wampum - Peag, seawan, sewan. Cylindrical beads made from the ends of shells rubbed down, polished. pierced and threaded onto strings. Wampum was used as money, symbolic purposes, and also for decoration, particularly if white.

wickiup - A crude American Indian hut that consists of a frame covered with brushwood and used in the western and southwestern United States by nomadic people. Also, any small hut or shanty.

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