Chenocetah's Weblog

Cherokee Place Names

Connestee Falls, North Carolina

This page is in process; some revisions may be made later.  I have also posted the legend of Kanasta [ from which Connestee takes its name], above.

I see that Tellico Village, Tennessee, also has street names of Cherokee origin.

Connestee Falls is a large housing development near Brevard, North Carolina.  It occupies some 3900 acres, with about 1300 homes.  I understand that about half of those homes belong to year-round residents.  There are some 50 miles of paved streets in the community.  Some historical information on the area is found at this link; however, for correct translations of the street names, you should look below on this site.  Those on the otherwise excellent historical site are not always very good.  You might also want to read the comments following my translations here.

What makes Connestee Falls of some interest to us?  Almost all of its streets bear Cherokee names.

I have never visited the community, but I have exchanged information with some local people about it, and I have spent a good deal of time studying the map of its streets.

The street names are taken from the names of historical Cherokee towns or places, plants, animals, birds, and famous Cherokee leaders.

Here, I am going to list the names of all the streets.  For each one, I will give a phonetic spelling that could be used by Connestee residents to help with pronunciation.  The pronunciation is intended to preserve at least the flavor of the Cherokee sounds, but it will be one that can be spoken by modern English speakers; it is not intended to be a perfect Cherokee pronunciation. As often as possible, I try to use some rough approximation of the Giduwa [Eastern Cherokee] Dialect as a starting point, because that is the major surviving dialect in North Carolina.  However, Giduwa is a more conservative form than the somewhat homogenized Western Dialect of Oklahoma and its sounds are sometimes much more difficult for English speakers [and for me to represent here], so, in several cases, the pronunciation given here is closer to the Western speech.

I hope this will be a helpful guide for Connestee Falls residents and visitors.

In many words, the “v” is best pronounced as “un.”  I have chosen to suggest “ch” as a pronunciation of those syllables beginning with “ts”; some speakers actually pronounce the “ts” sound, but most pronounce as “j” or “ch” or even “z.”  Syllables beginning with “tl” or “dl” are most correctly pronounced with a sound best represented by “hl,” but this combination is not always easy for English speakers, so I have usually suggested some similar sound.  [The "correct" pronunciation of "tl" is very similar to the correct pronunciation of the Ll in Welsh Llanfair.]

After the pronunciation, there will be a spelling of the name that would be readable to a Cherokee speaker and which could readily be written using the Cherokee Syllabary.  Please note that the letter “v” is used to represent the sound that is close to the UH in <HUH?>.

The next entry will be an authentic translation or explanation of the name.  There are still a few of the names that I simply cannot decipher into some original meaning as yet, but I will continue the research and update those names whenever possible.

Anyone who wishes to print out this list is welcome to do so.  I would appreciate it if you would mention the source on the printout.

This is the format:

Street name  [best pronunciation] (Cherokee word, by syllables): meaning

Adawehi [ah-DAH-way-hee]  (a-da-we-hi):  Medicine man, magician, conjurer

Adayahi [ah-DAH-ya-hee]  (a-da-ya-hi):  Oak

Adelv [ah-DAY-la] (a-de-lv): Silver, money

Adohi [ah-DOE-hee] (a-do-hi): Woody place, forest

Agaliha [ah-GAH-li-ha] (a-ga-li-ha): It is shining, so: sunshine or moonshine

Ama [AH-ma] (a-ma): Water or salt.  Probably water was intended.

Amacola [ah-ma-KOH-la] (a-ma u-qua-le-lv-yi): An attempt at Amicalola, place where water makes rolling thunder noise.  The name of the famous water falls and state park in Georgia.  Some old maps spelled it Amacola.

Amayi [ah-MAH-yee] (a-ma-yi): In the water

Annakesta [anna-KES-ta]: I am still trying to decipher this one.

Anv [AH-na] (a-nv, modern form a-ni): Strawberry.  Please don’t pronounce it “Ann-vee!.

Atisvgi [ah-ti-SUN-gi]  Still researching this one

Atsadi [a-CHAH-di] (a-tsa-di): Fish

Awi [ah-WEE or ah-WHEE] (a-wi): Deer

Ayugidv [ah-YOO-gi-DUN] (modern yu-gi-da): Hazel or hazelnut

Catatoga [CAH-ta-TOE-ga] (from ga-du-gi-tse-yi): New town or new settlement.  In Macon County, the same word became Cartoogechaye.

Chagee [CHAH-gi] (tsa-gi): Perhaps from tsa-gi, “up the road” or “upstream”; one Cherokee village bore this name.

Cheestoonaya [CHEES-too-NAH-ya] (tsi-stu-na-yi): Crawfish place

Cheowa [chee-OH-wah] (tsi-yo-hi): Otter place

Cherokee [CHER-o-kee] (tsa-la-gi): the Cherokee people

Cheulah [CHEW-la] (tsu-la): Red Fox, the name of a Cherokee chief in TN, 1762.

Connestee [KAH-na-stee] (ka-na-stv-yi): Meaning unknown; there is a legend of a lost Cherokee settlement from which the name comes.  It is quite possible that it is only a Cherokee approximation of the name of the tribe or town which was there long before the Cherokee arrived.

Dalonigei [da-LAHN-i-GAY-ee] (da-lo-ni-ge-i): Yellow, gold; the same word that became the name of Dahlonega, GA

Dawatsila [DAH-wa-CHEE-la] (da-w-tsi-la): Elm

Dewa [DAY-wa or TAY-wa] (te-wa): Flying squirrel

Dotsi [DAH-chee] (do-tsi): A kind of water monster believed to live in the Tennessee River

Dotsuwa [doe-CHEW-wha or toe-CHEW-wha or toe-JEW-wha] (do-tsu-wa): Red Bird, Cardinal

Doyi [DOE-yee] (do-yi): Beaver

Dudi [DOO-dee; I prefer TOO-tee] (du-di): Snowbird

Duya [DOO-ya; I prefer TOO-ya] (tu-ya): Bean

Dvdegi [DUN-day-gi] (tlv-de-qua): Eel

Dvdisdi [dun-DEES-ti] (attempt at tlv-ti-sdi): Pheasant

Dvga [DUN-ga; I prefer TUN-ga] (tv-ga): Housefly

Echota [eh-CHOE-ta] (i-tsa-ti): Meaning unknown; New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee people at the time of removal.  Sautee is one rendition of the same word.

Elaqua [eh-LAH-qua] [e-la-qua]:  Still under research

Elseetos [el-SEE-toess]: One source claims that this was the Cherokee name of Mt. Pisgah, Haywood County, NC, but I cannot document that.

Enolah [ee-NOE-la] (i-no-li): Black Fox, a Cherokee chief in the early 19th Century; also, an old name for what is now Brasstown Bald in GA

Gadu [GAH-doo] (ga-du): Bread

Gagama [ga-GAH-ma or ka-KAH-ma] (ga-ga-ma): Cucumber

Galuyasdi [ga-LOO-ya-stee] (ga-lu-ya-sdi): Ax or tomahawk

Galvloi [gah-la-LOW-ee] (ga-lv-lo-i): Sky

Ganohenv [GAH-no-HAY-na or KAH-no-HAY-na](ga-no-he-nv): Hominy, which is not the same thing as grits!

Gasga [GAHSS-ga or GOSH-ga] (a-ga-sga): It is raining

Gawanv [ga-WOE-na or ka-WOE-na or ga-WAH-na] (ka-wo-ni): Duck

Gigagei [gi-ga-GAY-ee] (gi-ga-ge-i): Red

Gili [ghee-LEE or GHEE-hli or GI-li] (gi-tli): Dog

Gogv [KO-ga or GO-ga] (go-gv): Crow

Golanv [KO-la-na or GO-la-na] (go-la-nv): Raven; Cherokee name of Sam Houston

Guledisgonihi [GOO-lay dis-KAH-ni-hee] (gu-le-di-sgo-ni-hi): Mourning dove [literally, "he cries for acorns"]

Guque [kuh-KWAY or guh-KWAY] (gu-que): Bobwhite quail

Gusti [GOOS-tee or GUS-tee] (gu-sti): Meaning unknown, from a Cherokee settlement on the Tennessee River in TN

Gusv [goo-SUH) (gu-sv): Beech tree [probably]

Guwa [KOO-wah or GOO-wah] (gu-wa): Mulberry tree

Gvhe [GUN-hay or GUH-hay] (gv-he): Bobcat

Gvli [GUN-tlee or GUH-lee or GUH-hlee] (gv-li): Raccoon

Hokassa [ho-KASS-a] (perhaps intended for na-qui-si): Naquisi is the word for star.

Inadv [EE-na-DUH or ee-NAH-da; EE-na-DEE in some dialects] (i-na-da): Snake

Inoli [ee-NO-lee] (i-no-li): Black Fox; see Enola

Isuhdavga [ee-SUN-da-UN-ga] (i-sv-da-v-ga): Still under research

Iya [EE-yah] (i-ya): Pumpkin

Junaluska [JOO-na-LUS-ka] (tsu-nu-la-hv-sgi): “He keeps on trying unsuccessfully”; the name of a great Cherokee chief in the early 19th Century

Kalvi [ka-LUN-ee or ka-LUH-ee] (from di-ka-lv-gv-i): East

Kanasdatsi [KAH-na-STAH-chee] (ka-na-sda-tsi): Sassafras

Kanasgowa [KAH-na-SKOE-wa or KAH-nahs-GO-wa] (ka-na-sgo-wa):  Heron

Kanunu [ka-NOO-na] (ka-nu-na): Bullfrog

Kanvsita [kah-na-SEE-ta] (ka-nv-si-ta): Dogwood

Kassahola [KAHSS-a-HO-la or KASS-a-HO-la] (ka-sa-ho-la): Still under research

Kawani [ka-WAH-ni or ka-WOE-ni] (ka-wa-ni): Perhaps same as Gawanv, or possibly meant to be “April”

Kituhwa [kee-TOO-whah] (gi-tu-wa): Very important early Cherokee settlement; said to be the Mother Town of the tribe

Klonteska [klon-TESS-ka] (tla-ni-te-sga): Research continues.  I don’t believe it means “pleasant” as sometimes stated.

Konnaneeta [KAHN-a-NEE-ta] (ka-na-ni-ta): Possibly “young turkey hatchlings,” but I am still researching this one.

Moytoy [MOY-TOY] (perhaps ma-ta-yi): Cherokee chief in first half of the 18th Century.  The name is probably an English attempt at the shortened Cherokee form of “Ama-adawehi,” which could be translated as “water wizard” or, by implication, even “rain maker.”

Nodatsi [no-da-CHEE or no-DOTCH-ee] (no-da-tsi or no-da-tli): Spicewood [Lindera benzoin]

Nokassa [no-KAHSS-a or no-CASS-a] (probably na-qui-si): Star.  See Hokassa.

Notlvsi [no-TLUN-see or nah-TLUH-see] (one writer’s spelling of na-qui-si or na-tli-si): Star

Notsi [NAH-chee or NO-jee] (na-tsi or no-tsi): Pine

Nunv [NOO-na or NOO-nuh, not NUN-vee!] (nu-nv): Potato

Nvya [NUH-ya or NUN-ya] (ny-ya): Rock [not river]

Oakanoah [OH-ka-NO-a](distorted from u-ga-na-wa): South [also has come to mean "warm" and "Democrat"; pronounced oo-GAH-na-wa in modern Cherokee].  One of the seven Cherokees who went to England in 1730 was Oukanekah; the name of this street may be a distortion of his name.

Ogana[OH-ga-na or oh-GAH-na] (o-ga-na or a-ga-na): Groundhog

Ohwanteska [OH-hwahn-TESS-ka] (o-wa-ni-te-sga):  I am still working on this one.

Ortanola [ORR-ta-NO-la] (??): This name is badly distorted.  Still in research

Ossarooga [OSS-a-ROO-ga] (??): This one is in research, too.

Ottaray [OTT-a-RAY] (o-ta-ri): Mountain, in an extinct dialect

Qualla [KWAH-la] (qua-la): Cherokee attempt at the word “Polly”; now the name of the Qualla Boundary part of the Eastern Cherokee Reservation

Quanv [KWAH-na] (qua-nv): Peach

Sakkoleeta [SAK-a-LEE-ta] (Perhaps tsa-quo-la-da-gi): Bluebird; Sakonige [sa-KOH-nee-gay] does mean “blue.”

Sali [SAH-lee] (sa-li): Persimmon

Saligugi [SAH-li-GOO-gi] (sa-li-gu-gi): Mud turtle, also called snapping turtle

Salola [sah-LOW-lee or sha-LOW-lee] (sa-lo-li): Gray squirrel

Sedi [SED-i or SAY-dee] (se-di): Walnut

Selu [SAY-loo or SHAY-loo] (se-lu): Corn; corn goddess

Sequoyah [see-KWOI-ya] (si-quo-yi): Probably the most famous historical Cherokee; he invented the Cherokee Syllabary

Setsi [SETCH-ee] (se-tsi): Mound and settlement in Cherokee County, NC; meaning unknown

Sgili [SKILL-ee] (sgi-li): Witch

Soco [SOH-koh] (so-quo-hi): “Number One Place”

Soquili [so-KWEE-lee or show-GWEE-lee] (so-qui-li): Horse

Sunnalee [sun-a-LAY-ee] (su-na-le-i): Tomorrow or morning or evening

Svgata [sun-GAH-ta or SHUNK-ta] (sv-ga-ta): Apple

Taladu [ta-LAH-doo or TAH-la-DOO] (ta-la-du): Cricket [ta-LAH-du] or twelve [TAH-la-DOO)

Tawsee [TAW-see] (to-si): Name of a Cherokee settlement in Habersham County, GA.  Meaning unknown.  I suspect that the village may have been taken from the Catawba people; if that is the case, in the Catawba language, the name may have referred to a dog, or more likely, to a wolf.

Taya [TAH-ya] (gi-ta-ya): Cherry

Tellico [TELL-i-KOH] (ta-li-qua): Important Cherokee town in TN; Tahlequah, OK, is the same word.

Ticoa [tee-KOH-a] (ti-go-a): Could be a distortion of Toccoa?

Tili [TEE-lee or just TIL-lee as in Tilly] (ti-li): Chestnut or chinquapin

Tinequa [ti-NEH-kwa] (ti-ne-qua; probably ta-ni-qua): Literally, “big louse”; probably Taniqua [ta-NEE-kwa "mole"] was intended.

Tlugvi [tlu-KUH-ee or just TLOO-kuh] (tlu-gv-i): Tree

Tludatsi [tloo-DAH-chee or tlun-DAH-chee] (tlv-da-tsi):  Panther, mountain lion

Tsalagi [CHAH-la-KEE or JAH-la-GHEE] (tsa-la-gi): Cherokee

Tsataga [cha-TAW-ga or chee-TAW-ga] (tsi-ta-ga): Chicken

Tsayoga [cha-YO-ga] (tla-yi-ga or tsa-yo-ga): Blue jay

Tsisqua [CHEE-skwah] (tsi-squa): Bird

Tsiya [CHEE-ya] (tsi-ya or tsi-yo or tsi-yu): Otter was probably intended; also can mean canoe or boat

Tsisdu [CHEE-stoo] (tsi-sdu): Rabbit

Tsisdvna [chee-STUN-na] (tsi-sdv-na): Crawfish

Tsitsi [chee-chee] (tsi-tsi): Wren

Tsolv [CHOE-la] (tso-la) : Tobacco

Tsuganawvi [chew-GAH-na-WUN-ee] (tsu-ga-na-wv-i): South [toward the south]

Tsula [CHEW-la] (tsu-la): Red fox

Tsuyvtlvi [chew-yun-TLUN-ee] (tsu-yv-tlv-i): North [toward the north]

Tsvwagi [chuh-WAH-ghee] (tsv-wa-gi): Maple

Udoque [oo-doe-KWAY] (u-do-que, nv-do-que-ya intended): Sourwood [Oxydendron arboreum]

Udvawadulisi [OO-ta-na WAH-doo-LEE-see] (wa-du-li-si u-ta-na intended): Bumblebee [literally "big bee"]

Ugedaliyvi [oo-gay-DAH-lee-YUN-ee] (u-ge-da-li-yv-i): Valley or cove

Ugiladi [oo-gi-LAH-di] (u-gi-da-tli intended): Feather

Ugugu [OO-goo-GOO or oo-GOOG] (u-gu-gu): Hoot owl [Barred owl, Strix varia]

Uloque [oo-LOW-kway] (u-lo-que): Mushroom

Ulvda [oo-LUN-da] (u-lv-da): Poison ivy

Unoga [oo-NO-ga] (u-no-ga): Bass [fish]

Unole [oo-NO-lay] (u-no-le): Storm [or strong wind or tornado]

Unvquolad [oo-NUN-kwo-LAHD] (u-nv-quo-la-tv-i intended): Rainbow

Unutsi [OO-nuh-chee or OON-chee] (u-nv-tsi): Snow

Unvdatlvi [OO-na-dah-TLUN-ee] (u-nv-da-tlv-i; do-da-tlv-i):  Mountains [perhaps intended for "they are mountains"?]

Usdasdi [oo-STAH-stee] (u-sda-sdi): Holly

Usgewi [oo-SKAY-wee] (u-sge-wi): Cabbage

Utsonati [oo-cho-NAH-tee] (u-tso-na-ti): Rattlesnake

Utsuwodi [oo-chew-WOE-di] (u-tso-wo-di; I prefer a-la-su-lo): Moccasin

Uwaga [oo-WAH-ga] (u-wa-ga): Passion fruit [Passiflora incarnata, also called "old field apricot"]

Uwohali [uh-WOE-ha-lee] (a-wo-ha-li): Eagle

Uyasga [oo-YAH-ska; better OO-ska] (u-ya-sga or u-sga): Skull

Vdali [un-DAL-lee] (v-da-li): Lake

Wadigei [WAH-di-GAY-ee] (u-wo-di-ge-i): Brown

Waga [WAH-ka or WAH-ga] (wa-ga): Cow [Cheroke pronunciation of Spanish vaca]

Wahuhu [wah-hoo-HOO] (wa-hu-hu): Screech owl [Otus asio]

Walelu [wah-LAY-la] (wa-le-la): Hummingbird

Walosi [wah-LOW-see or wa-LOWSH] (wa-lo-si): Green frog

Wanei [wa-NAY-ee] (wa-ne-i): Walnut

Warwaseeta [WAR-wah-SEE-ta] (wa-wa-si-ta): Said to be the old Cherokee name for Pisgah Ridge in Haywood County, but I cannot document that.

Waya [WAH-ya] (wa-ya): Wolf

Wesa [WAY-sah or way-SHAH] (we-sa): Cat [domestic cat]

Wodigeasgohi [WOE-di-gay ah-SKOE-hee] (wo-di-ge a-sgo-li intended): Copperhead

Yanequa [yah-NEH-kwa] (yo-ne-qua, from yo-na e-qua): Big Bear, Cherokee chief in the late 18th Century

Yona [YO-na] (yo-na): Bear; more commonly spelled Yonah

Yuda [YOO-da] (perhaps gi-yu-ga or yu-ga intended?): Chipmunk [?]

Yunega [yoo-NEH-ga] (Intended for u-ne-ga): White  [Yonega is "white man" or "English"]

Note: In the Eastern Cherokee [Giduwa] dialect, most of the syllables beginning with <ts> are pronounced as if they begin with <z>.   In many words ending in -i, -hi, or -a, the last syllable is dropped in pronunciation.

Many thanks to Mike Heiser, who kindly provided me with a working list of the street names.  Any errors of commission or omission are my fault and not his.

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4 Comments »

  1. I live in Connestee Falls, and as you say, all of the streets have Cherokee names. Unfortunately, the majority of the people who live here cannot pronounce the names of their streets correctly, and it drives me crazy. You asked, regarding “Wodigeasgohi”, “How is that pronounced in Connestee Falls?” and I can tell you, with a high degree of certainty, that the answer would be “Wrong!” (*Smile*) I don’t speak Cherokee, but I know, for instance, that the street “Nunv” would NOT be pronounce “nun-vee”, as most people here pronounce it (I think it would be something more like “noo-nuh”…).

    When someone moves here, they receive a listing of all of the street names and what they might mean in English; for example, my street is “Uwaga”, which I am told means “passion flower”. Some street names are incorrectly named, such as Wodigeasgohi (which you pointed out should be Wodigeasgoli) and “Waldsi” (which should be Walosi). Since we have a web site for the development (www.connesteefalls.com), I think it would be fantastic if we could put links on a web page to the proper pronunciation for each street, spoken by a Cherokee language speaker. To do that, I have been trying to find a Cherokee language speaker who would be willing to record the words for me. There are about 150-160 street names that I would like to have in an MP3, WAVE, or WMA format. One file with all words in it would be fine – I could separate them out myself. I can provide the street name list in a Microsoft Word file or just in an e-mail, or whatever form would be best. I can work on getting the recorded words linked to a web page list of the street names.

    Back in April, I was put in contact with Anna Huckaby, and she said that she could help. I sent her the list of names, and I haven’t heard a reply from Anna yet. She has previously recorded some Cherokee words for various web sites, so I assumed that she had the necessary equipment or programs to do the recording, but maybe I made a wrong assumption.

    Since I am working on my own to try to do this, and I am only a Connestee Falls resident, I can’t really offer to pay for the assistance, so I haven’t pressed Anna for the status.

    If you would like to come see Connestee Falls sometime, let me know, and I will be happy to give you a complete tour. It’s very pretty here, and is a very pleasant place to live. I moved here from New Mexico, and for me, it is very different, but we love it here. We moved here because I wanted to live somewhere that water is not lacking, but since I came, we have been in a drought! Must be me…

    Comment by Mike Heiser | Friday, 24 October 2008 | Reply

  2. Have you found out what Echota means?

    Comment by Martha Lewis | Monday, 7 December 2009 | Reply

  3. Many many thanks for this. I visit with a relative in Connestee most years and have always found the name of the drive where she lives unprouncable. We went up to Cherokee itself last year and asked for the correct Tsali pronunciation of Tlvdatsi at the museum but the lady was unable to help. This at least gives me an idea of how it should be said, although most people there say Tildatsi. Tludahchee is something I can say without that much problem, and it is something that has been puzzling me every since I started coming there in 2001.

    Connestee is a wonderful beautiful place, in sunshine, rain or in fog, cool and pleasant always, and very well maintained.

    Comment by Tony Corley | Saturday, 21 April 2012 | Reply

  4. I was so pleased to find your site and confirm my feeling about the name SALOLA which I find on your Connestee Falls street name list as meaning “gray squirrel.” I have an ancestor from Shelby, Cleveland Co, NC who was named Salola McClintock Andrews. I have always liked the unusual name and even named one of my cats after my cousin. I think that my relative (1852-1873) went by “Clint” but I always wondered where his dad, Dr. William P. Andrews of Rutherford Co, got the name. His other children also had out of the ordinary names. “Doc” was born in 1823 – do you think there were possibly Cherokees in that area when he was growing up and he learned the meaning of the word then?

    Comment by Susan P. Graben | Friday, 1 June 2012 | Reply


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