100 Native American Last Names With Meanings And History

Native American names are given in a lavish ceremony steeped in tradition.
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Last names or surnames are as crucial as the first name.

The surname is what makes a name 'complete.' Native American surnames have a deep-rooted history as the importance of being the bearer of a surname during ancient times depended on a lot of factors, including the family background and history.

The Native American naming traditions vary depending on each tribe, but they're usually derived from nature and represented using animals with suitable traits/temperaments. They conduct a lavish ceremony depending on the tribe they belong to, and firmly believe that the names given to children hugely affect their personalities and moods. For example, the Salish tribe follows a "naming trail" system where the newborn is given a name by the parents replaced by the tribal leader at a "Jump Dances" ceremony. In the early 1900s, the tradition of naming kids after animals or a physical phenomenon, and men after their achievements underwent a phase of evolution. It adapted to attaching surnames and last names that were their family names, or names derived and translated from English, French, and Spanish of non-Indian origin.

On that note, here's a comprehensive list of Native American names! And for more last names, take a look at Dominican Last Names and Haitian Last Names.

Famous Native American Last Names

Native Americans did not have last names until the 1900s. Most tribal people served during the civil war, and that was among the key reasons they adapted to having surnames, as the army required two names. They were given the name by the army, or they picked it themselves.  Over time, surnames got passed on from generation to generation, depending on the family bloodline, location, and several other factors. That's why a lot of American names have Native American origin!

Here are some of the popular surnames:

1.Alberty: meaning "famous in everything," originates from the Alberti family found in the United States in the early 1920s, UK, and Canada.

2.Alexander: Families with last names meaning "defender of the men" and originates from the Native American ancestors found in the United States, Canada, and Scotland from 1840 to 1920.

3.Anderson: meaning "Son of Anderson".

4.Baker: An occupational surname.

5.Ballad: Derived from the physical characteristic of being "bald," from the Old English word "Bal-lard," meaning "Bald man".

6.Barns: A famous American name meaning "Warrior".

7.Branham - Name derived after the habitation of the tribe, here - Bramham in West Yorkshire.

8.Bridegmaker - These families were found in the US and Scotland during the early 1840s.

9.Broken hand -Surnames are given to families based on a physical trait or phenomenon and do not have a specific meaning linked to it.

10.Chavos - Families with these last names were historically found in North Carolina and in Spanish, it means "Child".

11.Claymore - Surname based on occupation with an unknown meaning.

12.Clyne - This last name means "Slope".

13.Conrad - Surname after a trait, means "bold".

14.Cornfield - Families named after their occupation and here, probably as they lived near and worked in a cornfield.

15.Davis - Biblical reference meaning "Son of David".

16.Dawson - A biblical reference, meaning "beloved of Jehovah".

17.Deere - Surname meaning "precious".

18.Duncan - Families with last names meaning "Head".

19.Easup (Esup) - Unidentified meaning, but the families were found in the USA in the 1800s.

20.Eubank - The name was given to the people living near the "ridge of a yew".

21.Evans - Surname meaning "Son of Evan".

22.Fawn - Means "A young deer".

23.Firekiller - A surname given to an individual who causes interruptions.

24.Flee - Surnames based on a trait; here, the family was probably named after moving through several habitational areas.

25.Garlow - Origin and name meaning are unknown, but these families were historically seen in Canada and the UK during the 1900s.

26.Gaylord - Families with these last names mean "High spirited" and "cheerful".

27.Goose - Surnames adapted to sort people into groups and naming them after their occupation. This is an example.

28.Hensley - Surname meaning "Stallion," given to a family who was meant to succeed and be strong like a stallion.

29.Hitchcock - Surnames adapted to sort people into groups and naming them after their occupation, tribe affiliation, the color of their hair, patronage, and ancestry. This name is an example of the same.

30.Holt - This name means "Small grove of trees", given to a family that resided near a grove of trees.

31.Inola - a Cherokee name meaning "black fox".

32.Irving - Surname meaning "water".

33.James - This name has a biblical context, and is derived from "Jacob".

34.Kipp - The surname means "to swell," mostly given to a "fat man" based on physical appearance.

35.Lacey - Surname based on geographical location.

36.Lasley - An adaptation of the Scottish name "Leslie" meaning  "Holy Garden".

37.Lewis - Surname meaning "Victorious in Athletic games".

38.Lindsay - Surname meaning "Lake," probably after the placement of the particular family.

39.Longboat - Surnames are based on the characteristics and traits of an individual.

40.Maize - Name based on the occupation of the family;  here, maize picking.

41.Malvern - This name was given after a place in West England.

Unique Native American And Cherokee Names

(Cherokee last names carry meaning and history with them which have been passed down many a family.

Listed beneath are some unique Native American last names adopted in the early 1920s. It was a tradition of giving a last name to each individual by translating words from different languages. These names were mostly derived from the individual's family names, family, birthplace, and even physical characteristics. One of the unique Native American names includes the Cherokee -an indigenous group of people who are known to be the inhabitants of the Southeastern woodlands of the United States since time unknown. They are considered to be the most authentic and relevant tribe among the Native Americans. The unique native American surnames include:

42.Adsila - Cherokee families with these last names mean "Blossom".

43.Arrow - Name derived from the object "arrow" to depict a family of hunters.

44.Atohi - Of Cherokee origin, this name is suitable for boys meaning "woods".

45.Bernard - A family name with a German origin meaning "as strong as a bear".

46.Blackrock - Family named after living along an area with black rocks.

47.Brave bird - The Bravebird family ancestors migrated to the USA, and the name is derived from a trait about a bird.

48.Brown - Family names were given based on their skin color.

49.Chubbuck - Name means "fur", and is the Americanized spelling of a German name, "Schuback".

50.Cling - Of Scottish-Gaelic origin, the name means "the one who does".

51.Clown - The clown family is seen in the USA, Canada, and Scotland from the 1840s to the 1900s.

52.Countryman - This name was given to a family that lived in the country for a long time.

53.Crawford - Example of names based on the place where the family resided.

54.Delwood - Family that has its roots in the UK, US, and Pennsylvania.

55.Denton - A name of English origin, meaning "From the town in the valley".

56.Drum - Of Scottish origin, a habitational name for a place in Aberdeenshire.

57.Dyle - The Native American version of the name "Doyle" of Irish origin, means "descendant of Dubhghall."

58.Effort- The Effort family name was mostly found in Canada and the USA in the 1870s.

59.Elliot - Families with last names meaning "With strength and bravery" of Scottish origin.

60.Fox - The  name originated in England and is based on the cunning animal.

61.Frye- These families lived in the UK, the US, Scotland, and Alabama.

62.Galilahi - Cherokee families with last names meaning "Attractive".

63.Garcia - Iberian origin name found in Spain and known for its patronymic origin.

64.Garlow - Between 1840and 1920, the Garlow's were found in the US, UK, Scotland, and Canada.

65.Griffin - Welsh name derived from "Griffinus," meaning "Dangerous person".

66.Hopkins - A welsh patronymic surname meaning "Son of Hob".

67.Howell - Families with last names meaning "The Sun" and of Welsh origin.

68.Hoyt - Name meaning "stick / skinny" based on physical experience.

69.Littlewolf - Found in Montana in 1920, based on the place where the family resided.

70.McHorse - Family found in Texas, and they looked after Horses.

71.Merrel - Of English origin meaning "Sparkling Sea."

72.Notafraid - Families found in Montana in the 1920s.

73.Nowife - An individual named after his status.

74.Paddock - Of English origin, meaning "Small enclosure".

75.Patrick - Derived from the Latin name "Petricious," meaning "King".

76.Red bow - Named after the features and traits of the family.

77.Redcloud - This family was found in Wisconsin in 1920.

78.Sandoval - Of Spanish origin, this name means "Groove or wood".

79.Sardine - Sardine families were found in Scotland and Minnesota.

80.Snake - Snake families were found in the UK, the US, and Nebraska.

Ancient Native American Last Names

81.Aeneas - A native American name of Greek origin meaning "Praised".

82.Bylilly  - A name meaning "Magic power" given to the family known to possess the same.

83.Cly - A well-known last name meaning "to be left-handed", based on a physical trait.

84.Creeping bear - Name holds no specific meaning, but is derived from characteristics and human traits.

85.Filemonsen - Families with last names mean "Son of Filemon".

86.Huaman - One of the native American names derived from a bird, meaning "Hawk".

87.Nakai - Name meaning "The one who wanders," given to a family that kept wandering through neighborhoods without settling in one place.

88.Other eyes - A name with the family ancestry rooted deep in the United States; this name is derived from one of the naming factors involved - a place of origin, patronage, etc.

89.Pompey - As of 1840, Massachusetts has seen the highest number of Pompey families, and the name means "five".

90.Red lightning - A surname that is referring to a phenomenon trait.

91.Sakagut  - Japanese origin name meaning "entrance".

92.Summerhill - Surname adapted /given to a family living on the hill.

93.Swiftwater - Name derived by the family living by water that flows swiftly.

94.Thunderhawk - A name based on the power and strength of thunder combined with the bird "hawk".

95.Tsosie - The last name derived from a distinct physical characteristic meaning "Slim".

96.Tyner - Families with this last name mean "dark" and are of Celtic origin.

97.Vance - Families with last names meaning "From the marsh", given to the family or person whose ancestors were from the marsh.

98.Warcloud - When native Americans adopted surnames, it was done to sort people into groups and were named after their occupation, tribe affiliation, the color of their hair, patronage, and ancestry. Here, the name does not hold a specific meaning.

99.Welch - derived from the word "Welisc," meaning foreign and describes a person's origin.

100.Yazzie- Name adapted based on the place of being, ancestors, and/or their occupation without a particular meaning connoted to it.

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Native American Last Names then why not take a look at Indian Last Names, or for something different take a look at Short Boys Names.

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