In case you’re only here because you saw a section of the paper called Owashtanong and wanted to know what the hell that even means, you deserve to have the answer right away. We thought about having you click through a couple more screens, and a few dozen banner ads in order to get the answer, but I put my foot down.
Owashtanong means “far flowing waters”, and was the word for the Grand River used by Native Americans (or Indians, if you’re over a certain age) in the western Michigan area, before there was a falling out over the naming of the river, and we had to kick them out in order to name it the Grand River. We wanted the Grand River, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Grand Haven, Grand Ledge – we white folks wanted everything to be GRAND, and all those hard-to-pronounce words of theirs simply didn’t work. Who wants to stop at a gas station and ask, “Can you tell me how to get to the far flowing waters…?” It could almost be described as a break-up over ‘creative differences’.
We decided the Grand River Times would use Owashtanong for anything that doesn’t easily fit another section, and we’re too small to over-clutter our Menu-bar for no good reason. Far flowing waters…, it does have a nice ring to it. So we’re also paying homage to our local heritage, and giving out some retroactive admiration and respect to those Native Americans – they gave the river a great name! You could even say it’s a Grand Name. [Ed.]