American Indian Names
Many people are interested in giving their babies American Indian names. They may be of Indian heritage or they may just like the sounds of American Indian names. If you are not of Indian heritage and looking for a name, be careful when using the Internet. Many web sites out there contain lists of so-called American Indian names for babies that are not actually accurate.
If you truly want a traditional Native American name for your child, it would be best to seek advice from an elder leader in a tribal community. In some tribes, the child is not actually named until it is born. Other babies are given a true name once they reach adulthood (puberty). Some babies are given names that are spiritual and unique to each child.
If you do not live in an area where you can access an Indian reservation to speak with an elder, you can still use American Indian names for your child. Many people like to use the Native American version of a Christian name. For example, Kateri is the Indian version of Catharine.
Some people believe they are giving their children American Indian names when actually they are not. Native Americans often consider the use of names such as Dakota and Cheyenne disrespectful for cultural and religious reasons. Just as a Christian would not find it appropriate to name their child Christ, Native Americans find it spiritually unacceptable to name children after tribe names.
In an attempt to help those truly looking for American Indian names for their babies, there are web sites that will take information from you and make name suggestions. While they will not give you a spiritual name (it is often against their religion to do this without meeting the parents and baby in person), they will help you find a more appropriate name for you baby rather than your just looking at an Internet name dictionary.
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Disclaimer: The American Indian Heritage Foundation or Indians.org do not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.