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Meaning of Natchitoches

Legend and local “historians” have for many years erroneously interpreted the word “natchitoches” as “chinqapin” or “chinqapin eaters”. The most accurate translation however, is believed to be as recorded by John R. Swanton in his early book “The Indian Tribes of North America”.

“The word “Natchitoches” is generally supposed to be derived from“nashitosh”, the native word for pawpaw, but an early Spanish writer, Jose Antonio Pichardo, was told that it was from a native word “nacicit”signifying “a place where the soil is the color of red ochre,” and that it was applied originally to a small creek in their neighborhood running through red soil.”

The Indian Tribes of North America by John R. Swanton