Conventional Theory: "It is generally accepted that the historic Native American tribes who hunted in what is now Kentucky referred to the region as Catawba, or some similar variant. Some have said that the land was described in this way to Daniel Boone by a native Chief. According to The Kentucky Blue Book,Dragging Canoe, a young Cherokee chief opposed to selling ancestral hunting grounds, warned the whites that they were purchasing a "dark and bloody ground." The origin of Kentucky's modern name (variously spelled Cane-tuck-ee, Cantucky, Kain-tuck-ee, and Kentuckee before its modern spelling was accepted)comes from an Iroquois word meaning "meadow lands", referring to the buffalo hunting grounds in Central Kentucky's savanna." Wikipedia.
My Take: The Iroquois Indians are of Asian genetic stock (B Haplogroup). And there is this theory that the Haplogroup B could have been from the lost continent 'Mu' which many people believe to be the cradle for India, China and Japan. Now, the spoken language of this hypothetical civilization could have either been Sanskrit or Tamil (two of the oldest languages). 'Kantaka' in both these languages meant 'thorny'. And Kantaka Kshetra meant a 'thorny field or meadow'. It is possible that the Iroquois Indians used the same root words. So my surmise is Kantaka gave us Kentucky.