What Are Some Facts About Michigan for Kids?


Quick Answer

A fact about Michigan is that the its name comes from the words "michi-gama", which is a Native American phrase for "large lake." The painted turtle is the state reptile of Michigan.

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Full Answer

Native Americans are thought to have been inhabiting the Michigan area for as back as the Ice Age. One of the three main tribes is the Ojibwa, which is also commonly known as the Chippewa. The Ojibwa referred to the area as "michigamma" due to the 11,000 lakes within Michigan and its close proximity to the Great Lakes. When the French colonized the land in the 17th Century, they took the French deviation of "michigamma," "Michigan," and began to use it to refer to the land. It would later become the official state name.

In 1995, a group of fifth graders discovered that Michigan did not have a state reptile. The painted turtle was then chosen and is now the official state reptile of four U.S. states. In North America, the painted turtle is the most widespread turtle and is now a staple in Michigan history. Other official symbols of Michigan include the robin as the official bird, the white pine as the official tree, the brook trout as the official fish and the apple blossom as the official flower.

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