The following quotation from a "Rum" River historical marker located between Milaca and Onamia states that the
"Rum" River name is thought to be a
"mistranslation". Because of a historical document that can be found in a book published by the Minnesota
Historical Society most people believe that
the "Rum" River name is actually a "faulty translation", not a "mistranslation". This historical marker
misinforms or covers up the full truth about how this
river recieved its current profane name. However, it does present a (somewhat truthful) negative explanation
of how this river recieved its current name.
"The Rum River history is as interesting as its name and thought to be a
mistranslation of the Dakota Indian name, spirit, to
Rum by white settlers.
The "Rum" River flows out of Mille Lacs Lake. And on the Minnesota DNR's website there is an article
about Minnesota's geographic place names
that are mistakes due to incorrect interpretations of non-English names as well as one deliberate
misinterpretation of an American "Indian" name
for a geographic place.
In respect to the deliberate misinterpretation of an American "Indian" name for a
geographic place, a Minnesota DNR website
article states: "Not so
the name for the river flowing out of Mille Lacs.
(The "Rum River" name is a deliberate misinterpretation name not an interpretation mistake name,
as some other MN geographic place names are.) The lake was known
to the Dakota as Mde Wakan, 'spirit lake.' They called the river by the same
name. But traders made a pun with the name of the spirituous liquor that caused such misery
and destruction during the