Native American Names

Published on January 7, 2012 by Amy

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Ancient Native Americans
Ancient Native Americans

Native American names are more than just a simple way to address one another. In fact, like many other culture, Native American had a systematic way of naming people. Native American names were given to imply status, class, and occupation.

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Native American would often have several names over their lifetime. This is because Native American names were used to describe a man or woman’s life. They would be used to classify actions they took, physical traits, personality characteristics, and other important aspects of their lives.

Native American names were often presented to the tribe in the form of a ceremony. There would often be a celebration that included dancing, singing, and praying to honor the name that was being bestowed on a member of their tribe. The Native American name would be kept by that individual until they meet another milestone in their life, at which point a chief of elder may rename them to suit their new accomplishments. In many aspects the more names that you were given during your lifetime meant that you had accomplished a great deal, and had a wide spectrum of talents and abilities.

Native Americans believed firmly that their actions shaped their destiny. Therefore being named after their actions in life was a great honor. They took great pride in their unique names as they symbolized their individual accomplishments and achievements. In addition, Native American names were representative of what a specific tribe believed in and stood for.

Native American names are still seen throughout Native American culture today. However, because they are often lengthy and hard to pronounce in many cases they have been truncated to a shorter version. In fact, many individuals may be surprised to find that their own names have Native American origins or influences. In addition Native American names will undoubtedly continue to be seen throughout American culture.

Source: native-net Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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