Friday, September 21, 2007

Hey, Iowa Readers

[posted by Callimachus]

Here is, verbatim, the entry for "Des Moines" in the authoritative and academic "Native American Placenames of the United States":

From French Rivière des Moines, which could be interpreted as 'river of the monks' or 'river of the mills.' In fact, however, Moines is here an abbreviation used by the French for Moingouena (Eng. Moingwena), an Algonquian subgroup (Vogel 1983). The Native American term is /mooyiinkweena/, and it was a derogatory name applied to the Moingouenas by the Peorias, another subgroup. Its meaning, as an early French writer said is, 'visage plein d'ordure' -- or in plain English 'shit-face' (Costa 2000:45).