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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Friday, April 07, 2006


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By Jon Spieles, Park Interpreter, Tahquamenon Falls State Park

The word Tahquamenon rings with the language of the Native American. The name, as it currently appears, seems to have gone through a series of transitions from its original Algonquin roots. On a Jesuit map of the Upper Great Lakes printed in 1672, the island off the mouth of the river seems to be labeled “Outa-koua-minan”. It is generally accepted that this is the earliest form of the word we use today to label the Tahquamenon River. Since that time, missionaries, treaty makers and writers have all spelled the word phonetically, spelling the word Otahquamenaw, Otikwaminag and Taquamenaw until it finally came to rest at Tahquamenon.

The difficulty does not lie in finding a relationship between the present day spelling and its 1672 version. The trouble is the translation. Many scholars have attempted to translate the term “Tahquamenon”. Bernard c. Peters wrote, “The Origin and Meaning of Place Names Along Michigan’s Lake Superior Shoreline Between Sault Ste. Marie and Grand Marais” published in May 1994 Michigan Academician. In that article, Peters states that the name on the Jesuit map refers to a “short cut” across Whitefish Bay and was not originally intended to label the river.

Herman Cameron, a member of the Bay Mills Tribe, and relative of Waub-O-Jeeg, a famous local Chief, says the translation refers to an incident involving some lost women. It seems, according to Cameron in a 1959 Hiawathaland interview that some lost women were located near the river. The stream naturally became known as “the river where the women were lost”.

Virgil J. Vogel, author of Indian Names in Michigan, discounts the popular “Marsh of the Blueberries” and speculates that the name is a misspelling of outaouac, and menon meaning “good land or place”. Mr. Vogel, however, concludes in agreement with the Jesuit Father William Gegnieur who after searching in 1930 for the meaning of the name state that it must be a very old word “and the original meaning appears to be lost in the past”.

After reading numerous descriptions and translations, each having some merit but no overwhelming evidence, I am inclined to agree.

(Again, please note the author’s name at the top of this article)

I have many vacationers try to pronounce the name of the Falls and some come pretty close while others trip over their tongue. The best way I can tell you to pronounce it is to think of the word “phenomenon”, only substitute a “Tahquam” for the phenom”.

I’ve included a couple of links for you (you may need to copy and paste):

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