The Name Nebraska

“Ne-bras-ka was the original name of the river, given it by the Otoe Indians, who lived near where it empties into the Missouri. Ever since the first French trappers came into the valley it has been known simply as the Platte. The two names, however, are synonymous. Mrs. E. G. Platt, of Oberlin, Ohio, was long with the Pawnees, as teacher in the missionary schools. She wrote me, August 22, 1899: ‘I lived with the Pawnees when the territory (Nebraska) was named, and spoke their language, so am free to say Nebraska is not a Pawnee word; but a gentleman who had lived some years among the Otoes and spoke their language fluently informed me it is an Otoe word, which literally translated is weeping water, the stream upon which lies the town of Weeping Water being (by the Otoes) named ‘Nebrathka’ because of the sad tones of its waters as they rushed over their rocky bed.’”