Chicago in Myaamia

Šikaakonki (Chicago, Illinois) in Myaamia (Miami-Illinois), by Jordan Engel
Šikaakonki (Chicago, Illinois) in Myaamia (Miami-Illinois), by Jordan Engel

Šikaakonki – Chicago, Illinois

Šikaakwa Siipiiwi – The Chicago River

Kihcikami – Lake Michigan

“Šikaakwa Siipiiwi in the Myaamia name for the Chicago River.  It was named for the abundance of Allium tricoccum (wild leek) which grew along its banks.  In the 1600s, the French called this plant “wild garlic” and for this reason, sometimes the river is mistakenly called the “Wild Garlic River.”  For more on this place name see Michael McCafferty, “A Fresh Look at the Place Name Chicago,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 96, no. 2 (Summer 2003), 116-29.  Other tribes have similar names for the river and the place, though they have different stories explaining the origin of the name.  While linguists and historians might be able to determine ultimate origins of the name, we do not believe that our understanding excludes alternate perspectives.” –

To learn more about the Myaamia language and culture, visit and

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