Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sleepy Eye, Minnesota: There's a History to the Name

Sleepy Eye, Minnesota
official website

"This is the official website for the City of Sleepy Eye! Our website is used to communicate with our residents, businesses, and visitors. We hope you will find the site to be user friendly and a service to the people of Sleepy Eye...."

It's a well-developed website for the Minnesota municipality - but doesn't explain the town's name.

This outfit does:

"Historical Facts on Sleepy Eye"
Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society

"...The City of Sleepy Eye was named after the Dakota Chief named Ish-Tak-Ha-Ba, which means Sleepy Eye or Dropping Eyelid...."

The place was re-named Loreno from 1880 to 1881 - fallout from a series of incidents in 1862.

There's more, mostly about the town, on that page - along with photos.

The name Sleepy Eye is easier to pronounce than Ish-Tak-Ha-Ba, for folks who grew up speaking American English. Easier to pronounce correctly, at any rate. As for assertions that "Sleepy Eye" sounds funny - well, most Americans aren't used to seeing names that still mean something in the contemporary language. There are exceptions, like "Victor" and "Rose:" but those are few and far between.

The Lemming figures that some folks would make fun of the name, if it was Ishtakaba, too - or however the words would be rendered in this alphabet. Oh, well.

Then there's my name - which would be Speaks With Loud Voice, if my parents had decided to translate it into contemporary English. Happily, they didn't - and I use the sequence of sounds that was frozen in time, centuries back, over in Ireland.

As for the Lemming's interest in Sleepy Eye, Crazy Horse, and other greats of the Lakota - there's a family connection, and that's another topic.

Not-completely-unrelated post:

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