Place Names in the Minnesota River Basin - Chippewa

Chippewa River

The Dakota called the Chippewa River Manya Wakan “of remarkable or wonderful bluffs” or "remarkable river with steep places."

The term Chippewa comes from the Dakota name for the country of their enemies, the Ojibwe or Chippewa Indians. Their country extended southwestward to the headwaters of this river, at Chippewa Lake. Ojibwe is more accurately the aboriginal tribal title, which is often anglicized as Chippewa, with the final vowel long. One historian states that this Dakota name (Ojibwe/Chippewa) means "to roast till puckered up" referring to the torture of prisoners taken in war. (Upham)

MA-YA WA-KAN WA-KPA (1) A steep place (2) in this context, remarkable (3) river. This is the Chippewa River, western Minnesota. (Durand)

Watersheds | Blue Earth | Chippewa | Cottonwood | Hawk Creek | Lac qui Parle | Le Sueur | Pomme de Terre | Redwood | Watonwan | Yellow Medicine | Minnesota River |


Upham, Warren (1969) Minnesota Geographic Names. Minnesota Historical Society: St. Paul, MN
Durand, Paul (1994) Where the Waters Gather and the Rivers Meet: An Atlas of the Eastern Sioux. Prior Lake, MN
Minnesota Place Names


This page was last updated 4/15/11