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Updated January 25, 2024

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Native Americans have inhabited the Americas for 15,000 years, so naturally, they have cultures and languages that run deep. Their influence is seen throughout North and South America in music, food, art, games, and language. As a result, many places bear Native American names. For example, two of our states have the word Dakota in them; derived from the Dakota tribe, it means friend or ally. This same name has also become a common name for boys and girls. 

If you have Native American roots or perhaps wish to honor the indigenous tribes that inhabited the Americas first, using a Native American name as a first or middle name is a beautiful way to pay homage. However, when taking a name from a culture not your own, be sure to understand the meaning behind the name and the proper pronunciation. 

Native American Baby Names & Traditions

Traditions surrounding Native American baby naming are as diverse and rich as the many tribes themselves. Often, these names are bestowed based on dreams, spiritual visions, or significant events occurring around the time of a child's birth. They are deeply symbolic, often reflecting the hopes, aspirations, or observations of the parents for their child. Some tribes also practice the tradition of receiving a new name at different life stages, symbolizing the individual's growth and personal journey.

Below is our complete list of Indigenous names inspired by various Native American tribes and nations. We have done our best to represent various native groups and the meanings behind their names. Some names may stem from multiple tribes or languages, and we have attempted to represent all possible interpretations. 

Native American Boy Names and Meanings

You might be wondering—what is a Native American male name? Family Education has compiled the following names and meanings to answer that question!

  1. Adriel - Navajo. Symbol of skill. Adriel is also a Hebrew name that means God is my master.
  2. Bodaway - Unknown origin. Fire maker. A cool meaning for a little boy.
  3. Chayton - Sioux. This unique name means falcon
  4. Cochise - Apache. Oak or hardwood.
  5. Comanche - A tribal name. It also means stranger. 
  6. Dustu - Cherokee. Spring frog. 
  7. Enapay - Sioux. Appears bravely. 
  8. Hiawatha - Iroquois. He who creates the river. 
  9. Jacy - Blackfoot. The moon. This is one of the more modern-sounding baby boy names and has a cool meaning. 
  10. Jamari: A handsome man.
  11. Kele - Hopi. Sparrow.
  12. Keokuk - Sauk. One who is alert and watchful. 
  13. Kosumi - Miwok. Fishes for salmon with a spear. 
  14. Lonan - Zuni. Cloud.
  15. Nahele - Hawaiian. Forest.
  16. Mato - Mandan. Bear. 
  17. Misu - Miwok. Rippling water.
  18. Nodin - Unknown origin. It means wind—a unique-sounding Native American boy name. 
  19. Onacona - Cherokee. White owl. 
  20. Paco - Unknown origin. Used commonly in Spanish, it means eagle. 
  21. Sahale - Exact origin unknown, possibly Salish. It means a high place. 
  22. Seattle - Salish. Man of high status. 
  23. Tahoma - Salish. Giver of water. 
  24. Tatonga - Sioux. A large deer. 
  25. Tauri - Laguna. Young eagle. 
  26. Tokala - Sioux or Dakota. Fox.
  27. Viho - Cheyenne. Chief. 
  28. Waban - Algonquin. East wind. 
  29. Wapi - Sioux. Lucky. 
  30. Wicasa - Dakota. Sage. 
  31. Yuma - Quechan. The chief’s son. 

Native American Girl Names and Meanings

As distinct as the many tribes and languages they come from, these Native American female names are known for their evocative and descriptive qualities. Do any stick out to you?

  1. Aiyana - A variant of the Kiswahili name Ayanna it means forever flowering. 
  2. Aponi - Algonquin. Butterfly. 
  3. Bena - Unknown origin. Pheasant.
  4. Bly - Unknown origin. Tall or high. 
  5. Chepi - Algonquin. Fairy. 
  6. Chenoa - Unknown origin. White dove. 
  7. Cheyenne - One of the more popular names on the list, it is either Algonquin or Sioux. It is a tribal name. It also means unintelligible speakers.
  8. Donoma - Omaha. Visible sun. 
  9. Elu - Zuni. This simple name means beautiful. 
  10. Enola - Unknown origin, but it means magnolia. 
  11. Isi - Choctaw. Deer.
  12. Kaya - Nez Perce. It means pierced nose. Kaya is the name of a Native American, American Girl doll. Nez Perce was the name adopted by the French fur traders.  
  13. Kiowa - A tribal name. 
  14. Koko - Algonquin. The night. An adorable choice for a little one. 
  15. Lomasi - Hopi. Pretty flower. 
  16. Lulu - Exact origin unknown, possibly Creek, Apache, or Choctaw for rabbit. 
  17. Malia - Hawaiian. Calm waters. 
  18. Moana - Hawaiian. Ocean, sea. We have Disney to thank for making this name pop up on more name lists!
  19. Nahimana - Sioux. Mystic. 
  20. Nina - Kichwa. Fire or mighty. Nina is also Spanish for little. 
  21. Nokomis - Chippewa. Daughter of the moon. 
  22. Odina - Algonquin. A lovely name meaning mountain.
  23. Oneida - Iroquois. A tribe name. 
  24. Pavati - Hopi. Clear waters.
  25. Poloma - Choctaw. Bow. It is also Spanish for dove. 
  26. Sauk - A tribal name. It also means she is beautiful, a magic one, or one who is alert and watchful—a meaningful baby girl name. 
  27. Soyala - Hopi. This name means time for the winter solstice. 
  28. Tallulah - Iroquois. Leaping water. 
  29. Tiva - Hopi. To dance. 
  30. Urika - Omaha. Useful to all. 
  31. Winona - Sioux. The first daughter. A name that has seen trending patterns in the past because of actress Winona Ryder and singer Wynonna Judd. 

Native American Unisex Names and Meanings

Native American names carry significant meanings and spiritual connotations, reflective of the culture's deep respect and connection with nature. And this is no different when it comes to a variety of the following gender-neutral and unisex Native American baby names.

  1. Achcauhtli - It means leader.
  2. Aucaman - Meaning wild condor.
  3. Awena - This Native American name means loving.
  4. Awinita - This name means one who loves social life; fawn.
  5. Axayacatl - A water-faced individual.
  6. Dakota - Originates from the Sioux tribe and means friend and ally.
  7. Dyani - Sioux. This name means deer.
  8. Hosa - Unknown origin. Little raven or crow.
  9. Jaycee - A healer.
  10. Kai - Hawaiian/Navajo. In Hawaiian, this name means ocean. The Navajo meaning is a willow tree. Either way, a beautiful choice.
  11. Kaliska - From the Miwok tribe, Kaliska translates to coyote chasing deer.
  12. Kiona - Sioux. Brown hills.
  13. Lakota - A tribal name. It means friend or ally. 
  14. Latrell - Someone who laughs frequently.
  15. Metzli - This name means moon.
  16. Mika - This Sioux name means raccoon. It may also mean rabbit.
  17. Mosi - This Native American name means cat.
  18. Nuna - Inuit. Meaning land.
  19. Nova - In Hopi, it means chaser of butterflies. In Latin, it means new. It is a more traditional name for girls, but it is also used for boys.
  20. Onida - Sioux. Meaning the one searched for, the expected one.
  21. Opa - Choctaw/Hawaiian. It means owl in Choctaw and Moonfish in Hawaiian. 
  22. Sequoia - Cherokee. Giant redwood tree. 
  23. Shawnee - A tribe name.
  24. Shikoba - A unisex name sometimes chosen by Native American parents meaning feather.
  25. Shoshone - A tribal name that means grass house people. 
  26. Simi - Chumash. Valley of the wind. 
  27. Soma - Miwok. Meaning to plan.
  28. Tala - Meaning wolf. Or, in Samoan, story.
  29. Tyee - Chinook. Chief or leader.
  30. Wabanang - This name means Eastern Morning Star.
  31. Weayaya - Sioux. Setting sun or sunset. 

What Is an Example of a Native American Name?

One beautiful example of a Native American unisex name is Dakota. Originating from the Sioux Nation, Dakota means "friend" or "ally". This name resonates with the tribal community's values of kinship, harmony, and unity. As with many Native American names, Dakota embodies a profound spiritual message, reflecting the hopes and aspirations of the parents for their child to grow into a person who values relationships and stands as a friend or ally to their community.

L. Elizabeth Forry

About L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom… Read more

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