Share this Story

Native American Baby Names for Girls Beautifully Celebrate a Rich Culture

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

When you pick a Native American name for your baby girl, you're picking a name with real meaning

The Native American culture takes baby naming very seriously. Though specific naming traditions vary greatly from tribe to tribe, names usually reflect a certain trait in the person — and sometimes aren't given until the child reaches puberty when the name is innately linked to the child's identity. Now, that's a long time to wait to name your baby girl — but if you chose to celebrate Native American culture through her name, she'll be blessed with one that is beautiful and has a special meaning.

Native American peoples put a lot of thought into naming their offspring, while still following their intuition. For example, the Miwok tribe has a custom of using water names, often chosen by the way the stream flowed when a baby was born — how gorgeous is that?

Follow your intuition while perusing these names. There might be one in here perfect for your baby.

Traditional Native American girl names

Here are some examples of authentic Native American girl names that would make beautiful first or middle names:

  • Na'estse: Means "One" in Cheyenne (Maybe this is your first child?)
  • Nese: Two in Cheyenne
  • Nistu: Means three
  • Neewa: Means four
  • Niaran: means five
  • Enemene: Means sing in Cheyenne
  • Enesta: Means hear in Cheyenne
  • Toma: Means sun in the Wiyot
  • Tepkunset: Means Moon
  • Seke: Means Black
  • Nagamao: Means Sing
  • Maji: Means Leave
  • Winona: First daughter
  • Tanis: Daughter
  • Nizhoni: Beautiful
  • Meli: Daughter
  • Kateri: Mohawk version of Catherine

Popular Native American Baby Names

This list of Native American names includes those that are often seen on lists of "Top Native American Name" lists. Some Native American baby name experts caution that not all of these names may be authentic. However, they are still beautiful.

A note on Indian tribes as first names

Although the names Dakota, Cheyenne and Cherokee are beautiful names, some Native Americans take offense to these being used as first names because they are also the names of their tribes. They find it inappropriate and compare it to naming a baby God or Christ.

Another idea

You can still give your child a more authentic Native American name by going through the Native American dictionary and picking out words that correlate with something in your life.

More: Unusual Irish Baby Names That Are Over-The-Top Beautiful

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

When you pick a Native American name for your baby girl, you're picking a name with real meaning
Image: Farley Baricuatro/Getty Images

Originally published November 2010. Updated April 2017.

New in Parenting

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!

b h e a r d !

Welcome to the new SheKnows Community,

where you can share your stories, ideas

and CONNECT with millions of women.

Get Started