Anishinaabe Word of The Day

Lake Vermilion (onaminii zagi’igun)

Lake Vermilion is a shallow freshwater lake in northeastern MinnesotaUnited States. The Ojibwe originally called the lake Onamanii-zaaga’iganiing (occasionally anglicized as Nee-Man-Nee), which means “the evening sun tinting the water a reddish color”.[1][2] French fur traders translated this to the Latin word Vermilion, which is a red pigment. Lake Vermilion is located between the towns of Tower on the east and Cook on the west, in the heart of Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region at Vermilion Iron Range. The area was mined from the late 19th century until the 1960s, and the Soudan Mine operated just south of the lake.


Audio Piece

Anishinaabe Stories or Other Interesting Facts!


Lake Vermilion derived its name from the translation of “Onamuni”, the Ojibway name, meaning the “Lake of the Sunset Glows”, which the French translated to “Vermilion” a Latin word for a color ranging from yellow to red.  Fortunately for us, the sunsets are still beautiful.

Well known for great fishing and panoramic views, Vermilion is a lake also rich in history. In fact Lake Vermilion has had more to do with the development of our north woods area than any other factor.

In the mid-1600s, even before the original colonies were fully settled, French explorers and fur traders became the first Europeans to view the shores of Vermilion. They quickly built a friendly and lucrative trading relationship with the Sioux Indians and several decades later, with the Chippewa who still reside in the area today. This fur trade flourished and led to the French establishing the first port on Lake Vermilion in 1670.


Related Words


zaaga’igan ni a lake

gichigami ni

  1. a sea, a large lake
  2. Lake Superior

across the lake

agaaming adv loc on the other side of a body of water (a lake, a river), across a body of water (a lake, a river)

agaami-zaaga’igan adv loc across the lake

at the lake

agamiing adv loc at the lake; at the water; on the shore

by the lake
jiigi-zaaga’igan adv loc by the lake