Sunday, September 15, 2013

Indian Tribe whose name sounds like "Shoe Shop"

Q: I was told of a tribe whose name sounded like "shoe shop" and told it could be different in English. This tribe should be located on the east coast of Canada. Is there anyway to determine what tribe "shoe shop" might be?

A: He probably meant the Shuswap tribe. Their own name for themselves is Secwepemc, but their English name, Shuswap, is pronounced "shoe swap," which is extremely close to what you heard. They live on the west coast of Canada though, not the east!

Hope that helps,
Native Languages of the Americas

Further reading:
Shuswap culture
List of American Indian tribes
Canadian First Nations map


  1. Thanks. I read about them but couldn't see any resemblance to my family history like I do with the Innu tribe.

  2. Well, if you're looking more specifically at Innu, then I guess there's Sheshatshiu (one of the Innu reserves.) That really sounds nothing at all like "shoe shop," though-- more like sheh shah choo to an English speaker. Was the person you were speaking to Innu? Or is he non-native? If he's non-native, then it's possible he could have truly mangled something like Sheshatshiu into "shoe shop"-- we have some river names in Canada and the US that have been corrupted that badly over time by people who didn't understand the language they were hearing!