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Navajo last names

Q: I'm writing a story and there's a Native American character in there who is Navajo, so I just had this question, do Native Americans have a last name/surname?

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A: It depends on the time period your story is set in. Before the arrival of Europeans, Navajo people did not have surnames. For a formal introduction, they would give the clan names of their mother and father. In modern times, Navajo people have Western-style last names. Some of them have last names that came from English or Spanish, while others have last names that are corruptions of Navajo words or names.

Here are a couple of good books about Navajo culture that you could read to help you with your story:
Diné: A History of the Navajos
Songs From the Loom

Good luck!
Native Languages of the Americas

Related Links

 Navajo language
 Navajo tribe
 Native American Indian names
 Native American books



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