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What are some Native American last names? 2024

What are some Native American last names 2022

Native American last names

Last names are relatively new in all cultures. In Europe, many people in many places did not have last names until 1800 when bureaucracies demanded them. In many places, a patronymic was more common. Iceland still does this today. In other places only the elite had surnames.

Many Scottish and Welsh people did not adopt surnames until the 17th century, or later. In England, surnames became common in the 1400s. Nicknames, occupation names, descriptive names, place names, clan names, and patronymics eventually became surnames.

In North America, there were hundreds of utterly unrelated languages and cultures and naming traditions. Native people took the last name or were required to have last names at different times across what is now the country.

Native American last names are diverse and can vary significantly among different tribes and nations. The names are often linked to a person’s heritage, tribal affiliation, or characteristics associated with nature. It’s important to note that Native American naming traditions are diverse, and individuals from the same tribe may have different types of last names. Here are some examples of Native American last names:

  1. Cherokee:
    • Smith
    • Johnson
    • Wilson
    • Thompson
    • Brown
  2. Navajo:
    • Yazzie
    • Begay
    • Nez
    • Chee
    • Tsosie
  3. Apache:
    • Geronimo
    • Mangas
    • Victorio
    • Chihuahua
    • Delgado
  4. Sioux (Lakota, Dakota, Nakota):
    • Black Elk
    • Red Cloud
    • Sitting Bull
    • Crazy Horse
    • Spotted Tail
  5. Iroquois (Haudenosaunee):
    • Jacobs
    • Hill
    • Powless
    • Deer
    • Sky
  6. Hopi:
    • Polacca
    • Sekaquaptewa
    • Qotswisioma
    • Tewaquaptewa
    • Nuvayoiyava
  7. Ojibwe (Chippewa):
    • Bear
    • Whitefish
    • Little Thunder
    • Blackbird
    • Yellowhead
  8. Mohawk:
    • Smoke
    • Deer
    • Brant
    • Tekahionwake
    • Skenandoa
  9. Nez Perce:
    • Chief Joseph
    • Redheart
    • Yellow Wolf
    • Lawyer
    • Toohoolhoolzote
  10. Cree:
    • Beardy
    • Sanderson
    • Bird
    • Tootoosis
    • Ahenakew

These names represent only a small sample, and there are many more Native American last names across various tribes and nations. The significance and origins of these names can vary, and they often reflect the cultural, historical, and familial connections within Native American communities.

What are some Native American last names? 2024

There is not one pattern. In places with early contact, a man took “English” or “French” or “Spanish” names. In Alaska, some took Russian names. Friends, In some places, people translated the names of parents and made them surnames.

In other places, people took a “white” name and kept a Native language name for personal use. In other places, people used a clan name. Some places people tried to write the name in Latin letters or how an English speaker could say it.

Puerto Rican last name

There are many Native languages that have sounds that English does not have. So, for example, the name Seattle is an attempt to pronounce siʔaɫ. It has two syllables.

The mark that looks like a question mark without the dot at the end is a glottal stop as in “Uh oh.” It had a “glottalized barred lambda” at the end, which is an explosive sound.

What are some Native American last names? 2023

Later the pronunciation shifted to a lateral “l,” a sound something like “Alsh”. Hudson’s Bay Company traders gave him the nickname Le Gros (The Big Guy). He was also given the baptismal name of Noah Sealth.

When in some places names were translated, sometimes the translations were poor. For example, I stayed on the Young-Man-Afraid-Of-His-Horses property for a few weeks on Pine Ridge.

Tȟašúŋke Kȟokípȟapi who lived from 1836 – 1893 had his name translated as Young-Man-Afraid-Of-His-Horses.

It really meant that the person with that name was so feared in a battle that even the sight of his horse would inspire fear. Santana Young Man Afraid of His Horses was crowned Miss Oglala Lakota Nation at the 30th Annual Oglala Lakota Nation Wacipi, Rodeo, and Fair in 2015.

What are some Native American last names? 2023

In the Navajo Nation, many people have names that are clan names or descriptive names that were then attempted to put into English. Examples are Etcitty (from atsidí —smith) or Nez (big). Others were translated, like Many Goats (a clan). Others were from a grammar confusion. Begay (from biyeʼ) means “son of”.

In Navajo grammar, that comes at the end after the name of the person and was confused by Americans as a last name. Hopi’s last names are often simply attempting to write Hopi in English letters. Examples are Komelastewa, or Banyacya, or Loloma.

Inuit, Yupik, or Inupiat surnames can be Russian like Demientieff or transliterated like Uniuqsaraq or Tunutmoak or English words like Bell or Coffee or Beaver.

Native American surnames

Native Americans inhabited America even before the arrival of European settlers around the 15th century. Therefore, Native American surnames are a mix of different traditions and cultures.

The difference in their cultures arises because they were divided into several clans and tribes, each with its own culture, beliefs, language, and traditions.

Among the tribes, there was no set pattern for keeping names. Therefore, some natives retained their traditional surnames, while others adopted European surnames.

Traditional names also indicated their habitation, clan, and occupation, and eventually the influence of Portuguese, French, and Spanish names was also seen. Read on for a list of traditional Native American surnames with their meanings.

Some of these names are indigenous and have roots in other cultures and nations, including those belonging to people who settled in the Americas over the centuries.

1. Alberty

The last name Alberty represented someone who was famous in everything. This is the Americanized spelling of the Italian surname Alberti, a family that moved to the United States in the 1920s.

2. Alexander

The surname Alexander originated in Scotland and was initially an anglicized version of the Scottish Gaelic name MacAlasdair. The surname traveled to the Americas over the years with European settlers. 

Friends the surname means defender of men or conqueror of enemies. This can also be used as a first name, as in the case of Alex Eubank.

3. Bernardo

Bernard or Bernhard is a masculine surname originating from France and West Germany. It is a combination of two elements, bear and tough, referring to someone brave or resistant. This Native American surname denotes someone as strong as a bear.

4. branham

Branham is a combination of the Old English term brom, meaning broom, and ham, referring to farm, or hamm, meaning river meadow.

5. Cornfield

This occupational surname was given to Native Americans who worked in a cornfield.

6. Deere

This Native American surname is also an English surname. Deere is a variant of darling, which means precious. The surname also has Irish roots as a variant of Dwyer.

7. Dentex

The open streams and prairies of Denton County were home to many native tribes. These Denton County Native Americans adapted the Denton surname as a habitational or geographic surname.


Eubank is a topographical name of English origin. It refers to someone who lives near a bank or ridge of yew trees. It is a combination of the Old English words yew and bench.

9. Mr. Gay

The surname Gaylord means dandy or a lively and cheerful person. The name has an English origin. A variant of the surname is Gaillard.

10. Hensley

Hensley means stallion or horse in several Native American languages. This surname could also be a toponymic name referring to the settlers of many places called Hensley in the UK.

11. holt

Holt is a Proto-Germanic topographical surname referring to a small grove of trees. The name probably came to the Americas with European settlers and was later adopted by Native Americans.

12. irving

The last name Irving means water and comes from the Scottish. It could also be a toponymic name referring to someone from any of several places named Irving in the United States.

13. Kip

This Native American surname is derived from the Middle English word Kipp. It probably comes from the Old English word cyppe, meaning to swell.

14. Lewis

The surname Lewis is a Native American surname and means victorious. It probably comes from the old German name Ludwig, which means famous battle.

15. Corn


Corn is an occupational surname given to someone who gathers maize or maize. It originates from Maíz, the Spanish word for maize or maize.

16. paddock

The Native American surname Paddock has its roots in Middle English. It is derived from parrock, which means a small enclosure, usually for horses. It could also be a toponymic name that refers to someone who lived near a pasture.

Ancient Native American surnames

The old Native American surnames were quite old-fashioned and slowly fell out of fashion. Although they had an exciting history, these surnames can be hard to find in modern times.

17. Arrow

The ancient Native Americans were primarily hunters and used bows and arrows to hunt. This surname is given to such hunters. It is an occupational surname.

18. Black Rock

A Native American family living in or around the Black Rock area adopted the surname Blackrock.

19. brave bird

This last name was a combination of two elements, brave and bird. It was based on the features of a bird of prey, such as an eagle, and referred to someone with the gallant features of the bird.

20. Chubbuck

Chubbuck is the Americanized spelling of the German name Schubach, meaning skin. ‘. It was probably a professional name given to a furrier. Chubbuck is also a town in Bannock County, Idaho, and could be considered a toponymic surname.

21. Countryman

This Native American surname was given to a family that lived in the country. The toponymic surname stuck through the centuries and is still common in modern times.

22. Philemonsen

Filemonsen is a Scandinavian surname meaning son of Filemon. Philemon comes from the Greek name Philemon, which means affectionate.

23. Huaman

This indigenous surname has its origin in pre-Hispanic Peru. Huaman is also a variant of Guaman or Waman, and is the name of a species of hawks or hawks. The word is from the Quechua language of South America.

24. Pompey

It is the Americanized variant of Pompeii, an Italian toponymic surname referring to someone from the place called Pompeii in Italy. The name Pompeii probably comes from the sabellic languages ​​and probably refers to the number five.

25. Summer Hill

Summerhill is an English toponymic surname and a combination of the words summer and hill. The name probably refers to someone who lived on a hill used for grazing cattle during the summer.

26. Swift waters

Many Native American surnames originated from places located near bodies of water. Swiftwater is a toponymic surname referring to a family that lived near fast-flowing waters.

27. Thunderhawk

Ancient Native Americans were considered to be hunters. The Thunderhawk surname is a combination of the power of thunder along with the hard work of a hawk.

28. vance

Vance is a toponymic surname of Irish and English origin. It comes from the word fen, which means swamp. The surname refers to someone who lives in a swamp or swamp.

29. Cloud of War

The last name is a combination of the words war and cloud. The name may have been titular, given as a title to Native American war chiefs.

30. Welch

The Native American surname has English roots and refers to a person of Welsh origin. Another origin of the name could be the surname Walsh, which comes from Old English and means foreigner.

Navajo surnames

The Navajo tribe of Native Americans inhabited the southwestern United States. In the Navajo Nation, surnames were descriptive names or clan names adapted to the English language.

31. Acothley

The surname Acothley is of Native American origin and means cowboy.

32. Adakai

In the Native American language, Adakai referred to a gambler or card player.

33. Begay

The last name Begay is derived from the Navajo word biye, meaning his son.

34. Benally

The latter name has been adopted from the Navajo word binálí, meaning his grandson. Binali is further derived from the word análí, referring to a paternal grandson.

35. Bitsuie

Bitsuie is a title derived from bitsóí, which means his grandson. The surname is popular among Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

36. By Lilly

This Navajo surname comes from bá, which means he, and álilee, which means magical power. The native tribes believed in the magical powers granted to some members. The name Bylilly was probably given to those people.

37. Cly

Cly is a Native American surname derived from the Navajo word tlaai, meaning left-handed.

38. Wanted

Etsitty was a Native American surname given to a grinder, such as a meat grinder. This Navajo last name means to strike.

39. Hatathli

Hatathli in Native American Navajo means healer. The name probably referred to a shaman.

40. Nakai

Nakai means someone who wanders, and would probably have referred to hunters or gatherers within the tribe.

41. Nose

The meaning of Nez is tall or big. It is a common Native American Navajo surname.

42. Peshlakai

The surname Peshlakai is of Native American origin and means something shiny and silver.

43. Tabaaha

The last name Tabaaha is of Native American origin and belongs to the Navajo clan. The word comes from tabąąh, which means shore or beach. It referred to people or clans who lived at the edge of the water.

44. Tsinajinnie

This last name comes from the name of a Native American clan that spoke the Navajo language. Tsinajinnie means clan of black stripes.

45. Tsosie

Tsosie comes from the Native American suffix -tsʼósí, meaning ‘slender or thin’. It is also a Navajo surname.

46. ​​​​​​Uentillie

This Native American surname is derived from the Navajo title ayóí, meaning very, and áníldííl, meaning great.

47. Uskilite

This Navajo surname is a shortened version of Guyuskilith, which is derived from the word ashkiilgaii, meaning white boy.

48. yazzie

Yazzie originated from the Navajo Native American word yázhí, which means little or little one.

Apache surnames

The Apaches are Native American tribes that originally resided in the southwestern United States. They are culturally connected to many other tribes and are considered distant cousins ​​of the Navajo.

49. Altaha

Altaha is a Native American surname of the Apache tribe. This surname was normally carried by people who were ranchers.

50. apache

The surname Apache comes from the name of the Apache, a famous tribe of Native Americans. The name comes from the Native American Zuni language. It comes from the word apacu, which means Navajo.

51. Chatto

Chatto is a toponymic name originating from Scotland. It probably refers to places with the name of Chatto in the south of Scotland.

52. Cosay

The Cosay surname was given to Apaches who were residents of the White Mountain Apache Reservation.

53. Dosage

Dosela is a common Apache surname among First Nations tribesmen of the American Southwest.

54. Ethelba

This Apache surname was found among Native Americans who were residents of the White Mountain Apache Reservation.

55. Goseyun

Goseyun was a common Apache surname among the inhabitants of the White Mountain Apache Reservation.

56. Mezcal

He comes from the Mescalero Apache or Mescalero, an Apache tribe that lived around south-central New Mexico. The women of this tribe would collect a plant called the Mescal Agave while the men would actively process it, giving the tribe its name.

57. The nose

Nosie is a Native American surname given to various tribes living on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.

58. essay

This Apache Native American surname was given to the inhabitants of the White Mountain Apache Reservation.

Sioux Surnames

The Sioux are a league of various American tribes. They were predominantly divided into three tribes, the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota. (2) . They spoke several indigenous languages, with the Dakota language being the most common of them. The Sioux have a rich heritage

Native American last names

When the Federal Government forced all the Navajo into the Reservation at Bosque Redondo. They recorded each person’s name. Those who didn’t provide their own last name were assigned, Begay. So it kinda meant “no last name”. In reality, Begay was a transliteration of the word meaning “his son” or “her son”.

Here are some of the names tribespeople submitted and were recorded as last names

  • Alberty – famous in everything. Belonged to the Alberti family, who lived in the United States at the beginning of the 1920s.
  • Alexander – defender of the men. Bernard – as strong as a bear. Branham – from the habitation of the Bramham tribe in West Yorkshire.
  • Brown – based on skin color.
  • Chavos – child.
  • Cornfield – occupational, for those who worked in a cornfield.
  • Deere – precious.
  • Denton – from the town in the valley.
  • Eubank – one who lives near the ridge of a yew.
  • Gaylord – high-spirited, cheerful.
  • Hensley – stallion.
  • Howell – the sun.
  • Holt – a small grove of trees.
  • Irving – water.
  • Kipp – to swell; fat man.
  • Lewis – victorious.
  • Maize – occupational, meaning “the one that picks maize.”
  • Paddock – small enclosure.
  • Sandoval – groove of wood.
  • Yazzie=Little One
  • Nez =Tall
  • Tsosie=Slim
  • Chee =Red
  • Benally= Grandchild
  • Peshlakai =Sliver
  • Etsyddy =Metal worker

What are some Native American last names? 2024

In Northern Canada, the locals didn’t have last names before European contact, likely because they lived in such small groups that it was possible for everyone to have one unique name.

People are still sometimes given a name in their native language. I went to school with a girl who’s the name translated to “the sweet rain that falls at the beginning of summer” (it was much shorter in Chipewyan!) and she went by Honey Rain.

However, when it came time to sign treaties or attend school, it became necessary to adopt last names. Often, these names were simply picked by the priests who kept all the early records, many of whom were French.

Native American last names

Last names hold a lot of history behind them, which traces back to ancient times. Native American last names are not only pleasant-sounding but have a fascinating traditional backstory to them. What are the most exciting Native American surnames from various tribes?

One of the large families in town was called Catholique, and one was named Mercredi, the French word for Wednesday. Many of the people who came north in the early days were Scots, so one of the largest families in town was the MacDonalds. Another common native surname was Bourque/Bourke/Burke.

They were all pronounced the same, and all descended from the same Mr. and Mrs. Burke, but the story goes that a long-suffering postal worker got fed up with trying to sort all the letters addressed to one of the dozen Mr. Burkes in town, and assigned several people a new spelling.

What are some Native American last names? 2024

TL;DR: Many natives never had surnames, and so had them assigned by whoever kept records in the town, usually clergy.

Native American names come from many diverse tribes and landscapes, including the Hawaiian islands. Because of this diversity, naming traditions tend to vary as well.

A few names of places or tribes, such as Dakota and Cheyenne, have seen some popularity over the years, but most Native names—even famous ones like Pocahontas and Sequoyah—are rare.

If you are thinking about a Native American name for your child and you have a connection to the culture, consider researching the name or talking to a member of that tribe.

If you aren’t of indigenous heritage but love the idea of a Native name—or simply want to honor the culture—you’ll find inspiration in this list.

Just remember, when using a name from a background other than your own, you want to show respect by taking the time to understand the meaning and pronunciation of the name you are considering.

What are some Native American last names? 2024

Native Americans have been in the Americas for at least 15,000 years, and it’s easy to see their influence in art, music, food, games, products, words, and names throughout the United States. While many rivers, towns, and states have names that are Native in origin, Native American names are not as prominent in mainstream culture.

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.

  • Acorn.
  • Adair (C)
  • Adams.
  • Agnew.
  • Alberty.
  • Alexander (C)
  • Allen.
  • Allison
  • Arrow – given to a hunter.
  • Blackrock – a family from the black rock area.
  • Brave bird – based on a bird’s trait.
  • Chubbuck – fur. This one is of German origin.
  • Countryman – a man who lived in the country.
  • Filemonsen – son of Filemon.
  • Huaman – hawk.
  • Pompey – five.
  • Summerhill – a family that lives on a hill.
  • Swiftwater – a family that lives near swift water.
  • Thunderhawk – based on the power of thunder, combined with the word hawk.
  • Tsosie – slim.
  • Vance – from the marsh.
  • Warcloud – from the words war and cloud.
  • Welch – foreign.

What are some Native American last names? 2023

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