What's a Keewasakee?

Thorntown Keewasakees Tradition Debunked…maybe -- Excerpt from 
September 21, 1978 Edition of the Whitestown Sentinel Dispatch written By 
Ralph W. Stark (1969), Boone County Historian. However, there are other 
stories about the meaning of Keewasakees. What is the truth? It is a mystery.
Here is another feisty morel – now that our big article in the 
May, 2015 Indianapolis Star and the May 9, 2015, Thorntown 
Alumni Keepsake Booklet have already been published. This is 
a quote from the 1978 Sentinel Dispatch written by Mr. Stark -
“mistakenly, it was once recorded that Ka-wi-a-ki-un-gi was 
called kee-wa-za-kee, the name the Indians gave to a favored 
spring of clear, cold water that bubbled from the earth within 
the precincts of the village (meaning the Eel River Miami Indian 
Village near Thorntown.) From the spring’s name, the Thorntown 
High School basketball team had its nickname –
Keewasakees.” Following this statement, Mr. Stark had one 
other myth with which to discuss having to do with the first 
white and black Boone County and Thorntown settlers.

Submitted by Larry M. Campbell, August 2015
(Further research by Martha {Maiden} Randel cannot confirm Mr. Stark’s conclusion above.)



Adopted in 1928-29, Thorntown began using  a Miami-Illinois speaking village and French trading post word from the Eel River tribe for our school team name, but what does it mean??  From “Native American Place Names of Indiana” by Michael McCafferty, page138,  (a)kaawinsaahkwimeans thorn tree {honey locust tree.} The Miami word for ‘eels’ iskineepikwameekwaki. So are we the Thorntown “Eels?”  Per a footnote in the book about Hough’s map – it bears the toponym (name of a place) asKowasikka, also spelled Kaawiahki. It is also stated the name for Thorntown has a strong spirit …as does our beloved mascot name, Keewasakees.

Some Thorntown folks say it simply means Indian.

From Shane D. Fox (www.miamiindians.org) the name of the tree {pronounced kawinshawkwee} could have morphed to Keewasakee.  So did we call ourselves the “Thorntown Thorntowns” or maybe the “Thorntown Thorn-Trees” (similar to Indiana State Sycamores)?

Whatever the meaning…we are proud to be KEEWASAKEES!

   Source for Shane D. Fox who DOES NOT claim to be an
   interpreter:  Peconge Clan - Holds the Grandfather seat,
  Engineer at Eli Lilly. Lead singer for Twigh Twee and
   actively involved in many of the Miami Nation Projects.