INDIAN NAMES OF PLACES
Amicalola (Falls) - Cherokee word meaning
"tumbling waters". The falls at Amicalola are Georgia's highest at 729
feet. Amicalola Falls State Park is located about 8 miles from Springer
Mountain, the southern terminus of the 2,144-mile Appalachian
Anaguluskee - Indian meaning “flower of the
Appalachian - In Creek, Apalachee means "people on the
other side" or “highland farmer”. The name was first used to designate the
mountain range, probably in South Carolina, by a French explorer in 1567.
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,144-mile footpath stretching from Springer
Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine.
Arkaquah - Cherokee for
crooked creek, pertaining to the long winding creek that flows through
Union County. It is also the name of an Indian. It is also spelled Akaguah
Brasstown Bald - Georgia's highest mountain (4,784
feet) is named for a Cherokee town on the Hiawassee River in Towns County.
The actual Cherokee name for the town was "It-se-yi" or "New Green Place"
or green valley, but the white settlers confused this with "unt-sa-yi" or
"place of brass". The whites applied this name to the
Chattahoochee (River) - From "Chatu-huchi", a name for
the Lower Creek dialect originally applied to a Creek town on the river.
The name means "marked rock" or "picture rocks", referring to the picture
writing found on the rocks at that site. The Chattahoochee River forms in
White County above Helen, flowing south through Georgia to Alabama and
Florida where it joins the Apalachicola, which then flows into the Gulf of
Chattooga (River) - From the Cherokee "Tsatu-gi", although
some say the meaning is not clear and appears to be of non-Cherokee
origin. Others say it is Cherokee and means "has crossed the river" and
"drank by sips" or "he sips". There is some indication of an ancient
settlement named "Tsatu-gi" that was on the Chattooga River, a head-stream
of the Savannah River, forming the Georgia & South Carolina
Cherokee - Corruption of the Lower-dialect Cherokee term
"Tsa-la-gi". Cherokees also called themselves "ani-uni-wa" or "principal
people". Cherokee County, Georgia was the parent county of numerous other
North Georgia counties. It was formed in 1831 by Georgia legislature to
include what was then the Cherokee nation. It was subdivided in 1832 into
Chestatee (River) - Corruption of the Cherokee word
"atsun-stati-yi" meaning "fire light place". This was the name by which
the Cherokee called the present-day Chestatee River, which flows through
Lumpkin County and empties into Lake Lanier. This river was the eastern
boundary of the Cherokee Nation under the Treaty of February 27,
Chicopee - "Swift water" or "violent waters". This name is
believed to have originally designated falls in the Chicopee River in
Choestoe - It is probably from the Cherokee word
"Tsistu-yi" meaning "land of the dancing rabbits" or "the rabbit place".
This is the name of the southernmost district in present day Union County.
Until 1845, it had been part of Lumpkin County.
Cohutta - A
Cherokee Indian name that translates into "Mountains that Hold the Sky."
Coosa - Cherokee word for creek meaning cane
Coosawatee (River) - Corruption of the Cherokee word
"Ku-sa-weti-yi", which literally means "old Creek place". It was an
important Cherokee settlement on the lower part of the river in
present-day Gordon County.
Currahee (Mountain) - Some say it is a
Cherokee word, meaning "it stands alone". Others believe that this
mountain in present-day Stephens County is apparently the site where the
Cherokee found a popular salad green they called "gula-hi-yi" and that
Currahee is a corruption of this Cherokee word.
Dahlonega - Some
say it is from "Tahlonega" meaning "golden". Others interpret the name as
"place of yellow money". Still others say it is a corruption of the
Cherokee word "da-lon-ni-ge-i", the Cherokee term for the color yellow.
Dahlonega is the county seat of Lumpkin County and was incorporated
December 21, 1833. It is the site of America's first gold
Eastonallee - From the Cherokee word "U-stana-li" denoting a
natural barrier of rocks across a stream. A community in present-day
Stephens County on Eastonallee Creek, near which was an old Cherokee
settlement by the same name. Others say it means "rocky bridge across the
waters". The crossing at Eastonallee Creek lay along an ancient footpath
that grew into a road at an early date.
Enotah - Bare or
Ellijay - From the Cherokee word "Elatse-yi" or the
abbreviated "Elatse". Means "Green Earth". It is the Gilmer county
Etowah - A widely used name throughout the territory formerly
inhabited by the Cherokee. It is the name of a river, which originates in
Lumpkin County and flows southwest to Rome, Georgia where it joins the
Oostanaula River to form the Coosa River. It is not believed to be a
Cherokee word, but used to designate a Cherokee settlement on the river in
Forsyth County. White settlers corrupted the name to "Hightower". The
early plat maps of Lumpkin County show the river's name as
Frogtown - This is the translation of the Cherokee
word "Wali-si-yi", or literally "place of the frog" or “giant frog”. It
names a district in northern Lumpkin County on the Chestatee River where
the old Coosa-Tugaloo trading path crossed. It is also a community in
Forsyth County on the Etowah.
Hemp Top - Translation of Cherokee
word "gatun-lti-yiy", or literally "hemp place". This community in Fannin
County was probably so named because of wild hemp (Apocyunum cannabinum)
which apparently grew there. this species of hemp was used for bow
Hiawassee - Corruption of the Cherokee word "ayu-hwa-si",
meaning "meadow" or "savannah". Today, Hiawassee is the county seat of
Towns County. It is also the name of the river, which rises on the North
side of the Blue Ridge in Towns County and flows northward to form Lake
Chatuge. This name also appears (with slightly different spellings) in
North Carolina and Virginia.
Moccasin (Creek) - It means "it wraps
around" in Powhatan (Virginia), or moccasin (or Micmac, m'kussin). This
name was recorded by colonists in Virginia as early as 1612. According to
one Native American source in Virginia, the name for soft wraparound shoes
used by Indians and the name for a snake, come from the same meaning. The
term MOCCASIN was used by Virginia's Pamunkey Tribe to describe all
Nacoochee - Comes from the Cherokee name "Na-gu-tsi", a
prominent old Cherokee settlement in White County on the Chattahoochee
River. This site has mounds from the Mississippian period (800 A.D. - 1254
Nottely (River) - Named for "Na-du-li", an old Cherokee
settlement on the Nottely River in Cherokee County, NC. Does not appear to
be of Cherokee origin and has no meaning in Cherokee.
Sautee - From
the Cherokee "Itsa-ti", the meaning of which is unknown. This Cherokee
term appears to have been applied to prominent towns in the Nation.
Corruptions of this word are found on old maps as "Chota", "New Echota"
and "Great Echota".
Soquee (River) - From the Cherokee "sakwi-yi",
the name of an old Cherokee settlement on the Soquee River in Habersham
County. The Soquee originates in Habersham County from the tributaries in
or near the Tray Mountain Wilderness Area and flows south to join the
Chattahoochee River below Clarkesville.
Talking Rock - Translation
of the Cherokee word "Nunyu-gunwani-ski" or "rock that talks". It is said
to refer to a particular "echo" rock in the creek by the same name in
Tallulah (Falls) - It is a corruption of the
Cherokee "Ta-lu-lu". There is no clear translation, although it is thought
to denote the distinctive sound of a certain species of frog in that area,
Toccoa - From the Cherokee "Tag-wa-hi" or "Catawba
place" implying the former presence of that tribe. Toccoa, Georgia is the
county seat of present day Stephens County. It is also the name of a
river, which originates on the north slope of the Blue Ridge in Union
County and flows through Fannin County to form Lake Blue Ridge in Union
County, then into the Ocoee River.
Track Rock Gap - Located 5 miles
East of Blairsville in Union County. Cherokees called it
"Datsu-nalas-gun-yi" meaning "where there are tracks". Several large
soapstone rocks are covered with petroglyphs depicting human and animal
tracks. They were in place when the Cherokee arrived some 250 years ago.
They remain of uncertain origin. Most popular theory is that they are
graffiti carved by ancient hunters resting at the gap while awaiting game
to pass through.
Waleska - The name of a prominent Indian who lived
in Cherokee County and distinguished himself by the feathers he wore from
eagles he killed. A community in northeast Cherokee County is named for
War Woman - It is also known as "Pretty Woman". The exact
Cherokee term is unknown, however it is claimed that the Long-Hair Clan
(Ani-Gila-hi) was sometimes referred to as "Pretty Woman Clan" and that
the office of War Woman may have been a hereditary position, which passed
through that clan. A War Woman was a powerful woman who decided the fate
of prisoners taken in war. A district of present day Rabun County is named
Yahoola (Valley) - It is from the Cherokee word
"Yahula-i" or “place of Yahula", a Cherokee trader who was taken away by
the Nunne-hi or spirit people. It is said the name may be derived from
"yahu-lu" meaning "hickory". Yahoola Creek & the Yahoola Valley in
Lumpkin County were both named for this mythical character.
(Mountain) - Cherokee word "yo-nuh" meaning bear. This is the name given
by the white settlers to the mountain in White County, but the Cherokees
called it "Gada-lulu", an untranslatable name. Prior to the establishment
of White County in 1857, a town near the base of the mountain was called
"Mt. Yonah". It was later called "Cleveland" and is the county seat of
Submitted by G.F.
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