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Traditional Cherokee Names and Meanings

Michele Meleen
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 names for girls translated to English are often very short or very long. They tend to end in vowels and provide unique baby name options.

Beautiful Cherokee Nature Names for Girls

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

  • Adsila: Blossom
  • Ama: Water
  • Amadahy: Forest water
  • Awinita: Fawn
  • Gola: Winter
  • Kamama: Butterfly
  • Noya: Sand
  • Salalai: Squirrel
  • Selu: Corn
  • Tayanita: Young beaver
  • Tsula: Fox
  • Walela: Hummingbird
  • Woya: Dove

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.

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

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.

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

Cherokee Naming Traditions

Hundreds of years ago, every Cherokee child would go through a naming tradition that typically involved being named by one of the tribes "Beloved" women within seven days of birth. However, a person's name could change at one or more points during their life if they achieved or accomplished something great. This is because the Cherokee believed names could evolve with your 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.

Newborn Sleeping on Fur Rug

Native Names

Native American baby names, like Cherokee names, 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.

Traditional Cherokee Names and Meanings