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The name Cheyenne

Q: Hello, I don't know if you can help me... but I decided to give it a try. Friends of mine named their daughter Cheyenne... and they were looking for some native symbol or word for Cheyenne. I don't know if there is one... I haven't been able to come up with anything. And from what I've read, it appears that the word "Cheyenne" might have been some unfortunate misinterpretation. Can you help me with this at all. It would be much appreciated.

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A: Cheyenne originally became a popular girl's name because it is the name of a city in Wyoming (many placenames have become girl's names in the United States.) The city was named after the Cheyenne Indian tribe. You're correct that this name isn't what the tribe originally called themselves. Their name for themselves is Tsitsistas. "Cheyenne" comes from a Sioux word meaning "little Cree" (another Indian tribe living further to the north.) It's not clear whether this was a mistranslation of the Sioux word, or whether the Sioux called the Cheyenne little Crees. But either way, there is not a special Cheyenne symbol representing this name, because it isn't a name from the Cheyenne language.

Your friend could certainly teach her daughter about the Indian tribe who shares the same name she does, though. We have a lot of information and links about them collected here:

Hope that helps, have a good day!
Native Languages of the Americas

Related Links

 Native American girls names
 Cheyenne language
 Cheyenne words
 Cheyenne Indians

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