Petoskey is more than a stone

Petoskey Stone by Christopher Cerk

About 20 years ago, Rose Petoskey shared this story about her name. As a lot of you head to the beaches seeking Michigan’s state stone, I thought it was an excellent time to re-share this essay from Rose about her name and the importance of names in Native culture:

My name is Noozeen (Rose) Nimkiins (Little Thunder) Petoskey (Rising Sun) and I am Anishinaabek. Many people would associate the word Petoskey with the souvenir stone found on the northern Lake Michigan shorelines. However, to my family, the word Petoskey represents much more than a souvenir. In the Odawa language, the word Petoskey (Bii-daa-si-ga) means the rising sun, the day’s first light, or the sun’s first rays moving across the water. The Petoskey stone is a fossilized coral created by impressions made in limestone during the last Michigan ice age. These stones were named “Petoskey” because the impressions resembled the rising sun coming up over the water. Just as the image of the rising sun is implanted within the Petoskey stone, the archaeology of a person’s names is implanted within. All names within our Anishinaabek culture reflect an individual’s personal history. Rocks go deep, but names go much deeper to reveal the stories of the past.

As an update, Rose Nimkiins Petoskey is now Senior Advisor to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Director of Tribal Affairs for the Biden-Harris Administration which is pretty darned cool!!

Christopher took this photo back in 2012. See more in his Flickr.