Indian Names

Tips on how to choose an Indian name for a Native American or non-Indian.

Authentic indian names vary from region to region and tribe to tribe. In many instances, the chosen religion of a specific tribe dictates the popularity of a given name. Differnet religions worship varying gods and incorporate a vareity of mythological creatures into the worship, wherein members are named behind such influential figures. Due to differnet languages, a particular name may be spelled the same, but pronounced differnetly. Today, many people are fascinated the the uniquness of Indian names. For this reason, it is not unusual to meet someone with a name common to Native Americans, especially if their ancestors were members of the First Nation.

A large number of Native Americans have assimilated into American culture. In turn, younger generations may not have traditional Indian names. However, these individuals may bear Indian last names that indicate their heritage. Authentic Indian names are extremely unique, and often influenced by nature. For example, a tribe member might be given a name that has a meaning related to the sun, moon, wind, or season. Additionally, a Native American may be given a descriptive name. The tribe's chief may alter his name and adopt a more powerful title, which best identifies his position.

Several Native American names are generic. For example, an Indian couple may name their firstborn son and daughter Winona or Chaske respectedly. Winona means firstborn daughter, and Chaske means firstborn son. Other generic names for a little girl include Tanis, which simply means daughter, or Nizhoni, which mean beautiful. Some people choose tribe names for children such as Dakota, Cherokee, or Cheyenne. Unfortunately, many people, espeically non-Indians, randomly pick Indian names without giving attention to the meaning. Persons who want unique names for their children should set aside time and research the various meanings. This way, you can choose the most appropriate name for your baby.

The following lists catalog the specific articles, stories, legends and research materials of this website.
American Indian Topics | American Indian Products | American Indian Tribes
Native American Topics | Indigenous Peoples’ Literature

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