Traditional Cherokee Indian Baby Names and Meanings

Updated March 15, 2022
Mother laying on bed cradling sleeping baby son

Because of factors like the colonization of the Americas, many Native American cultures were watered down and lost. This can make it difficult to find traditional Cherokee names and their meanings today. Your best resource for finding Cherokee names and their true meanings is to consult a member of a modern Cherokee tribe.

Cherokee Names for Girls

Cherokee girl names translated to English are often very short or very long. They tend to end in vowels and provide unique baby name options for parents.

Beautiful Cherokee Nature Names for Girls

Cherokee female names that come from animals, plants, and other natural aspects sound beautiful and have lovely meanings. You could choose a nature name for your little girl based on how she looks or acts.

  • Adsila: Blossom (A common Cherokee Indian name for girls)
  • Agasga: Rain
  • Ama: Water
  • Amadahy: Forest water
  • Awinita: Fawn
  • Dyani: Deer
  • Enu: Waterfall
  • Fala: Crow
  • Gola: Winter
  • Hiawassee: Large meadow
  • Kamama: Butterfly
  • Noya: Sand
  • Odina: Mountain
  • Pavati: Clear water
  • Salalai: Squirrel
  • Selu: Corn
  • Tayanita: Young beaver
  • Tsula: Fox
  • Walela: Hummingbird
  • Woya: Dove
  • Yona: Bear

Powerful Cherokee Names for Girls

Although Cherokee tribes were matriarchal, finding strong baby girl names can be a challenge. However, there are a few that could make your little girl powerful from the start.

Mom Holds Baby While Leaning In To Kitchen Counter
  • Ahyoka: She brought happiness
  • Atsila: Fire
  • Catori: Spirit
  • Galilahi: Attractive
  • Nanye-hi: Unknown; Famous "beloved woman" Nancy Ward
  • Qaletaqa: guardian of the people
  • Tsianina: Unknown meaning; famous singer

Cherokee Names for Boys

Since Cherokee tribes often had male chiefs and men in centuries past typically documented more things about men, it's a little easier to find male Cherokee names. Boy names with Cherokee roots also tend to end in vowels.

Strong Cherokee Names for Boys

Take a look at the names of Cherokee chiefs, leaders, and famous Cherokee men to find strong baby boy name options.

  • Conocotocko: Standing turkey
  • Danuwoa: The warrior
  • Gălă-gi′na: Male deer or turkey; editor of the Cherokee Phoenix
  • Junaluska: He tries repeatedly, but fails
  • Kana′tĭ: The lucky hunter
  • Moytoy: Rainmaker
  • Sequoya(Sikwayi): Sparrow; Writer of Cherokee alphabet
  • Takatoka: Unknown meaning
  • Tsali: Charlie
  • Uku: Chief
  • Yonaguska: The bear drowns him

Meaningful Cherokee Nature Names for Boys

Like Cherokee girl names, many Cherokee boy names are inspired by the natural world. Choose a name associated with the traits and characteristics of beloved woodland creatures or peaceful and serene earthly elements.

Family in nature
  • Adohi: Woods
  • Ama-Edohi: Water goer
  • Enoli: Black fox
  • Jistu: Trickster rabbit
  • Kanuna: Bullfrog
  • Onacona: White owl
  • Salonitah: Flying squirrel
  • Waya: Wolf
  • Wohali: Eagle
  • Yona: Bear
Newborn Sleeping on Fur Rug

Cherokee Naming Traditions

Hundreds of years ago, every Cherokee child would go through a naming ceremony. This typically involved being named by one of the tribe's "Beloved" women within seven days of birth. The number "7" carries deep, sacred meaning for the Cherokee people, as there were seven clans, and it was believed there were seven levels to the universe. In this culture, a person's name could change at one or more points during their life if they achieved or accomplished great things. The Cherokee believed that names could evolve along with a person's identity. Traditional Cherokee names were spoken and written in the Cherokee language and later translated into English by settlers who used the sound of the name to create an English version.

Native Names

Native American baby names, Cherokee names included, are traditionally reserved for members of Native American tribes. If you want to be culturally sensitive and you're not a member of the Cherokee Nation, consider using these names only as inspiration to invent your own baby name.

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Traditional Cherokee Indian Baby Names and Meanings