ATAHUALPA m Native American, Quechua
Means "hen of fortune"
, from Quechua ataw
meaning "lucky, fortunate" and wallpa
meaning "hen". This was the name of the last sovereign Inca emperor. He was executed by the Spanish in 1533.
CUAUHTÉMOC m Native American, Nahuatl
Means "descending eagle"
in Nahuatl. This was the name of the last Aztec emperor, ruling until he was captured and executed by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in the year 1525.
GOYATHLAY m Native American, Apache
Means "one who yawns"
in Apache. This was the real name of the Apache leader Geronimo
(1829-1909), who fought against Mexican and American expansion into his territory.
HIAWATHA m History, Native American, Iroquois
From the Iroquoian name Haio-went-ha
meaning "he who combs"
. This was the name of a Mohawk or Onondaga leader who founded the Iroquois Confederacy, possibly in the 15th century. He was later the subject of a fictionalized 1855 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
IARA f Native American, Tupi
Means "lady of the water"
, from Tupi y
"water" and îara
"lady, mistress". In Brazilian folklore this is the name of a beautiful river nymph who would lure men into the water. She may have been based upon earlier Tupi legends.
IRACEMA f Native American, Tupi
Means "honey lips"
in Tupi. This is the name of an 1865 novel by José de Alencar, about the relationship between a Tupi woman and a Portuguese man during the early colonial period. Alencar may have constructed the name so that it would be an anagram of America
IXCHEL f Mayan Mythology, Native American, Mayan
Means "rainbow lady"
in Mayan. Ixchel was the Maya goddess of the earth, the moon, and medicine. She was often depicted with a snake in her hair and crossbones embroidered on her skirt.
MAHPIYA m Native American, Sioux
Means "cloud, sky"
in Dakota and Lakota. This is the first part of the names of the Dakota chief Mahpiya Wicasta (1780-1863), known as Cloud Man, and the Lakota chiefs Mahpiya Luta (1822-1909), known as Red Cloud, and Mahpiya Iyapato (1838-1905), known as Touch the Clouds.
MOACIR m Native American, Tupi
Possibly means "son of pain"
in Tupi. This is the name of the son of Iracema
and Martim in the novel Iracema
(1865) by José de Alencar.
NAJA f Native American, Greenlandic, Danish
Means "boy's younger sister"
in Greenlandic. It was popularized in Denmark by the writer B. S. Ingemann, who used it in his novel Kunnuk and Naja, or the Greenlanders
NANOOK m Native American, Inuit
Variant of NANUQ
. This was the (fictional) name of the subject of Robert Flaherty's documentary film Nanook of the North
ONANGWATGO m Native American, Oneida
Means "big medicine"
in Oneida. This was the name of a chief of the Oneida people, also named Cornelius Hill (1834-1907).
POCAHONTAS f Native American, Powhatan
Means "playful one"
in Powhatan, an Algonquian language. This was the nickname of a 17th-century Powhatan woman, a daughter of the powerful chief Wahunsenacawh
. She married the white colonist John Rolfe and travelled with him to England, but died of illness before returning.
SACAGAWEA f Native American
Probably from Hidatsa tsakáka wía
meaning "bird woman"
. Alternatively it could originate from the Shoshone language and mean "boat puller". This name was borne by a Native American woman who guided the explorers Lewis and Clark. She was of Shoshone ancestry but had been abducted in her youth and raised by a Hidatsa tribe.
SEQUOYAH m Native American, Cherokee
Possibly from Cherokee siqua
. This was the name of the Cherokee man (also known as George Guess) who devised the Cherokee writing system in the 19th century.
SKENANDOA m Native American, Oneida
Probably from the name of the Shenandoah River in the eastern United States, which is of uncertain origin. This was the name of an 18th-century Oneida chief.
TASUNKA m Native American, Sioux
From Lakota tȟašuŋke
meaning "his horse"
. This forms the first part of the name of Tasunka Witko (1840-1877), translated as Crazy Horse, a Lakota war leader.
TATANKA m Native American, Sioux
From Lakota tȟatȟáŋka
. This is the first part of the name of the Lakota holy man and chief Tatanka Iyotake (1831-1890), translated into English as Sitting Bull.
TECUMSEH m Native American, Shawnee
Means "panther passing across"
in Shawnee. This was the name of a Shawnee leader who, with his brother Tenskwatawa
, resisted European expansion in the early 19th century.
TEKAKWITHA f Native American, Mohawk
Means "she who bumps into things"
or "she who puts things in place"
in Mohawk. Tekakwitha, also named Kateri
, was the first Native American Catholic saint.
TENSKWATAWA m Native American, Shawnee
Means "open door"
in Shawnee. This was the name of a Shawnee prophet. With his brother Tecumseh
he led his people in resistance against European expansion in the early 19th century.
WAHUNSENACAWH m Native American, Powhatan
Meaning unknown. This name was borne by a 17th-century chief of the Powhatan people. He was also known as Powhatan, as a result of confusion between his name and his birthplace.
WICKANINNISH m Native American, Nuu-chah-nulth
Possibly means "having no one in front of him in the canoe"
in the Nuu-chah-nulth (or Nootka) language. This was the name of a chief of the Clayoquot in the late 18th century, at the time of European contact.
YUNUEN m & f Native American, Mayan
Possibly means "half moon"
in Mayan. This is the name of an island on Lake Pátzcuaro in Mexico.