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 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
Most common Native American last names
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.
|Smith||One who strikes metals|
|Sandoval||Groove of wood|
|Maizen||Occupational, meaning ‘the one that picks maize’|
|Locklear||A person who was a locksmith|
|Kipp||To swell; fat man|
|Jones||God has favoured|
|Johnson||Son of John|
|Holt||A small grove of trees|
|Eubank||One who lives near the ridge of a yew|
|Denton||From the town in the valley|
|Cornfield||Occupational, for those who worked in a cornfield.|
|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|
|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.|
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.
|Warcloud||From the words war and cloud|
|Vance||From the marsh|
|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|
|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.
|Kana′tĭ||the lucky hunter|
|Cheasequah||Red bird or cardinal|
|Chaske||First 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.
|Tsosie||Slender or slim|
|Tsinajinnie||Black streak clan|
|Todicheene||Bitter water people|
|Toadlena||Water that flows up and out|
|Etsitty||Smithy, pounder; to pound|
|Descheene||Clan designation, red-streak people|
|Bylilly||For him; magic power|
|Adakai||Gambler, card player|
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.
|Altaha||High or elevated|
|Cosay||Person who lived on the White Mountain|
|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.
|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|
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.
|Fineday||Derived from a good day|
|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:
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.
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.
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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.