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TYPE: Body of Water
Meaning & History
Lake Itasca in north central Minnesota.
While folk etymology likes to claim that Itasca is a "Native American" name, this is not quite true.
The Ojibwe name for this lake was Omashkoozo-zaaga'igan (Elk Lake); however, in the early 1800s, geographer, geologist, and ethnologist Henry Schoolcraft changed it to Itasca, "coined from a combination of the Latin words veritas ("truth") and caput ("head"), though it is sometimes misinterpreted as "true head." It is one of several examples of pseudo-Indian place names created by Schoolcraft."