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Starting near Mena in Polk County and flowing south through Howard and

Sevier Counties until it empties into the Little River is the Cossatot River, the

name of which has a French and warlike heritage. An old story says that

Cossatot is an Indian word for “skull crusher,” which is close but not quite on

target. In fact, the French word Casse-tête means “crushed head” or “brain

teaser,” which could be owing to the river’s dangerous rapids. Most likely,

according to journalist and historian Ernie Deane, Casse-tête was a French

slang word for “tomahawk.” The name Cassetete Mountain is recorded as

early as 1819. This heritage is kept alive in a Hot Springs beer called Skull

Crusher, as well as in the name of the University of Arkansas Community

College Cossatot in DeQueen.

Daniel Boice, University of Arkansas at Monticello