100+ Native American last names and their meanings

100+ Native American last names and their meanings

Native Americans were the inhabitants of much of North America long before the arrival of European settlers in the 15th century. Like numerous other cultures, these people had traditions that governed their practices, names, beliefs, and associations. Most Native American last names were derived from a person's time of birth, occupation, temperament, clan, and habitation.

native american last names
Native Americans walking in parade. Photo: pexels.com, @Beatriz Braga (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Native Americans are comprised of numerous sub-groups or tribes. The best-known ones are the Navajo, Cherokee, Apache, and Sioux. Over time, the Native Americans' names got passed down the generations. Today, there are a lot of picks that have a rich history and a deep meaning.

Native American last names and meanings

Here, you can check out some of the most interesting names, from the most common indigenous last names to the ones that are exclusive to every tribe.

Most common Native American last names

Cherokee last names
A Native American in traditional clothing. Photo: pexels.com, @Ron Graham-Becker
Source: UGC

These options are normally used by Native American people regardless of their tribe. They are quite common but no less interesting. Some of them have originated from other nations and cultures that settled in America.

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Name Meaning
WilliamsResolute protector
Smith One who strikes metals
SandovalGroove of wood
Paddock Small enclosure
MaizenOccupational, meaning 'the one that picks maize'
LocklearA person who was a locksmith
KippTo swell; fat man
JonesGod has favoured
JohnsonSon of John
HowellThe sun
HoltA small grove of trees
GalordHigh-spirited, cheerful
EubankOne who lives near the ridge of a yew
DentonFrom the town in the valley
CornfieldOccupational, for those who worked in a cornfield.
BrownOne with brown hair, complexion, or clothing
HilliardOne who lives on the hills
BranhamFrom the habitation of the Bramham tribe in West Yorkshire
BiaBlessed or white
BernardAs strong as a bear
BaheThe gray man
AlexanderDefender of the men
AlbertyBelonged to the Alberti family, who lived in the United States at the beginning of the 1920s.

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Traditional Native American last names

Some examples are rather old-timey, and today, it may not be easy to find a person who bears it. However, they have an exciting history. Here are some of the oldest Native American names and their respective meanings.

WarcloudFrom the words war and cloud
VanceFrom the marsh
ThunderhawkBased on the power of thunder, combined with the word hawk
SwiftwaterA family that lives near swift water
SummerhillA family that lives on a hill
FilemonsenSon of Filemon
CountrymanA man who lived in the country
ChubbuckThis one is of German origin and means 'chubby one.'
BravebirdBased on a bird's trait
BlackrockA family from the black rock area
ArrowGiven to a hunter

Unique Cherokee last names

The Cherokee are an indigenous group of the United States that live in the Southeastern Woodlands. When it came to Cherokee surnames, they used their imagination in the best way. Here is a nice Cherokee last names list to help you get an idea.

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UtsidihiThe mankiller
TskilekwaBig wizard
RayetayahHanging maw
OnaconaWhite owl
KanagagotaStanding turkey
Kana′tĭthe lucky hunter
CheasequahRed bird or cardinal
ChaskeFirst born son
Adahy Close to the Cherokee word adahi’i which actually means poison

What are some Navajo last names?

The Navajo are a Native American nation that resides in the Southwestern United States. It is the largest tribe in the United States, followed by the Cherokee Nation. Here are some indigenous surnames from the Navajo people.

TsosieSlender or slim
TsinajinnieBlack streak clan
TodicheeneBitter water people
ToadlenaWater that flows up and out
TabaahaShore, beach
HatahleMedicine man
EtsittySmithy, pounder; to pound
DescheeneClan designation, red-streak people
DaisyYounger one
BylillyFor him; magic power
BitsillieYounger brother
BenallyHis grandchild
BegayHis son
Adakai Gambler, card player

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What are some Apache last names?

The Apache originally resided in what is now the Southwestern United States. The Apache people are subdivided into various subtribes. These include the Jicarilla, Chiricahua, Salinero, Lipan, Mimbreño, Mescalero, and the Ndendahe people. Here are some Apache names and their meanings.

AltahaHigh or elevated
CosayPerson who lived on the White Mountain
DoselaThe commoner
MescalOne from the Mescalero clan
TessayOne who lives in the reserve

What are some Sioux last names?

The Sioux tribe is made up of three subtribes, namely the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota. The Sioux people were known for being skilled warriors. Here are some names from the Sioux tribe.

MakaA Lakota surname that means soil, ground, or earth
HowahkanA strong voice or sacred voice
GalihaiA Lakota last name that means gentle or delicate
ChaskaThis Dakota last name means son
AngpetuIt means radiant or daytime

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Unique Native American names

While most Native Americans are not exactly what one would consider commonplace, some are rarer than others. If you are looking for cute surname that completely stands out, here are some excellent unique options.

FinedayDerived from a good day
DeclayThe charming one
CorizCheerful and friendly
ClaymoreBig or great sword

What are Blackfoot's last names?

The Blackfoot people, or the Siksikaitsitapi, are Indigenous people primarily residing in North America. Examples of Blackfoot last names are:

  • Siksski
  • Sikonskiwa
  • Sikimiotasi
  • Sikaattsista
  • Stamiksiipokai

What is the most common Native American last name?

Some of the most common Indian-American last names include Claymore, Brown, Alberty, Arrow, Lewis and Johnson.

Do Native Americans pick their own name?

Selecting a name among Native Americans varies depending on tribe and community. Individuals may have traditional names from elders or spiritual leaders within their tribe or group. These names are highly meaningful and frequently based on personal attributes, life events, or spiritual connections.

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Native American last names
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: Original

In today's world, Native American last names are among the unique names one can give their child. This is because most of the Native American tribes have since adopted the influences of other cultures, an attribute most reflected in their modern-day naming traditions.

Legit.ng recently published an article about the best nicknames one can give a boyfriend. Sweet and unique nicknames are not for women alone. Men also love being called sweet names by their loved ones or partners because they are a way of showing affection.

Coming up with a unique nickname for your boyfriend is essential for a romantic relationship. Check out this list of unique nicknames for guys that you can choose from.

Source: Legit.ng

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