How Can You Find Your Indian Name?


Quick Answer

The only way to receive a true "Indian" or Spiritual name is by consulting with Native Americans; in addition, most groups have special by-laws for the name to be recognized as authentic. Many lists of Indian names online are very inaccurate, and include nonsense words, or misattribute the name's origins.

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Full Answer

"Indian" names, also known as Spiritual or Spirit names, are special descriptive names that express something about the person's personality or goals. Traditions differ from group to group on how to bestow these names. Some groups require that tribal elders give the names. Many require that the person being named undergo a religious ceremony.

Other groups find it acceptable for family and friends to bestow a person's Spiritual name, or even for a person to name himself. However, naming one's self can be difficult, as lists of "Indian" names often contain names with incorrect definitions and misspellings, or names that aren't from any indigenous American language at all.

As of 2015, Native Languages of the Americas, available online at native-languages.org, offers help to anyone seeking to consult actual Native Americans on naming themselves or their children.

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