La Petite Roche: In 1722 French explorer Bernard de la Harpe landed near a small rock formation on the south back of the Arkansas River which he reputedly named La Petite Roche (the little rock). La Harpe built a trading post near the little rock. The Quapaw Indians resided nearby. Photo and dialog by Thomas23 on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).
What does "Arkansas" mean?
Many names of places in Arkansas come from the languages of the explorers who discovered and lived in the state. The Native Americans, Spanish, and French all helped name places in Arkansas. The word Arkansas came from the Quapaw Indians, by way of early French explorers. The explorers met a group of Native Americans known as the Ugakhpah (which means people who live downstream). These Native Americans later were called the Quapaw, who were also called the Arkansaw. This name came to be used for the land where these Native Americans lived (from Arkansas.gov).