100 Native American last names and their meanings: 2023 update

100 Native American last names and their meanings: 2023 update

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
Williams Resolute protector
Smith One who strikes metals
Sandoval Groove of wood
Paddock Small enclosure
Maizen Occupational, meaning ‘the one that picks maize’
Locklear A person who was a locksmith
Lewis Victorious
Kipp To swell; fat man
Jones God has favoured
Johnson Son of John
Irving Water
Howell The sun
Holt A small grove of trees
Hensley Stallion
Galord High-spirited, cheerful
Eubank One who lives near the ridge of a yew
Denton From the town in the valley
Deere Precious
Cornfield Occupational, for those who worked in a cornfield.
Chavos Child
Brown One with brown hair, complexion, or clothing
Hilliard One who lives on the hills
Branham From the habitation of the Bramham tribe in West Yorkshire
Bluebird Happiness
Bia Blessed or white
Bernard As strong as a bear
Bahe The gray man
Alexander Defender of the men
Alberty Belonged 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.

Name Meaning
Welch Foreign
Warcloud From the words war and cloud
Vance From the marsh
Tsosie Slim
Thunderhawk Based on the power of thunder, combined with the word hawk
Swiftwater A family that lives near swift water
Summerhill A family that lives on a hill
Pompey Five
Huaman Hawk
Filemonsen Son of Filemon
Countryman A man who lived in the country
Chubbuck This one is of German origin and means ‘chubby one.’
Bravebird Based on a bird’s trait
Blackrock A family from the black rock area
Arrow Given 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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Name Meaning
Yansa Buffalo
Wesa Cat
Waya Wolf
Wahkan Sacred
Utsidihi The mankiller
Tskilekwa Big wizard
Tsiyi Canoe
Rayetayah Hanging maw
Onacona White owl
Moytoy Rainmaker
Kanagagota Standing turkey
Kana′tĭ the lucky hunter
Gawonisgi Speaker
Cheasequah Red bird or cardinal
Chaske First born son
Austenaco Chief
Atsadi Fish
Atohi Woods
Ahyuini Swimmer
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.

Name Meaning
Yazzie Little
Tsosie Slender or slim
Tsinajinnie Black streak clan
Tsinaji Black
Todicheene Bitter water people
Toadlena Water that flows up and out
Tlizilani Goat
Tabaaha Shore, beach
Peshlakai Silver
Nez Tall
Lapahie Gray
Hatahle Medicine man
Etsitty Smithy, pounder; to pound
Descheene Clan designation, red-streak people
Daisy Younger one
Claw Left-handed
Bylilly For him; magic power
Bitsillie Younger brother
Benally His grandchild
Begay His son
Adakai Gambler, card player
Acothley Cowboy

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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.

Name Meaning
Altaha High or elevated
Cosay Person who lived on the White Mountain
Dosela The commoner
Mescal One from the Mescalero clan
Tessay One 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.

Name Meaning
Maka A Lakota surname that means soil, ground, or earth
Howahkan A strong voice or sacred voice
Galihai A Lakota last name that means gentle or delicate
Chaska This Dakota last name means son
Angpetu It 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.

Name Meaning
Fineday Derived from a good day
Decorah Serpent
Declay The charming one
Coriz Cheerful and friendly
Claymore Big 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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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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