Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Monday, November 3, 2008

What is a Yockanookany?

The Yockanookany is a river, one that is spanned by the first bridge crossed by a traveler when entering Kosciusko from the Natchez Trace. It begins in Choctaw County, Mississippi, near Ackerman, and continues on a course that runs through Attala County, near Kosciusko, and though Leake County, where it becomes a tributary of the Pearl River.

The name has always fascinated me, especially since I have never been able to find the meaning of the word. I know it must be of Choctaw origin, based on it similarity to other Choctaw words and its location in the heart of what was once the Choctaw Nation.

The river runs parallel to the Natchez Trace, and it was likely used by Choctaw people and early settlers long ago to travel through what later became Choctaw, Leake and Attala Counties. The earth and its waters, lakes, streams, and the Yockanookany were sacred to the Choctaw people.

The Yockanookany, its waters and its banks, must hold many stories about life among the people who first lived in that rugged country so very long ago.

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