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Native American Names for Your Pets

A lot of people write to us asking for American Indian names for their dogs, cats, horses, boats, houses, role-playing characters, and so forth. After turning down so many requests, we have decided it might make a nice fundraiser. So if you donate $10 to our non-profit organization (which will then be used to preserve and promote endangered Indian languages), our volunteers will now suggest three possible Native American names from a language of your choice, along with the meaning and pronunciation of each name.

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Languages we can currently use for translations include Abenaki, Algonquin, Apache, Athabaskan, Bella Coola, Blackfoot, Caddo, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chipewyan, Chippewa, Choctaw, Comanche, Cree, Creek, Crow, Dakota Sioux, Dene, Delaware, Haida, Hopi, Inuktitut, Kiowa, Lakota, Lenape, Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, Mesquakie, Mohawk, Mojave, Munsee, Muskogee, Navajo, Nez Perce, Nuxalk, Ojibway, Oneida, Osage, Pima, Potawatomi, Salish, Sauk, Seneca, Shawnee, Shoshone, Tohono O'odham, Tlingit, and Yaqui. We may also be able to provide Indian names from other languages; please inquire first if you have a different language in mind.

Please note that suggesting Native American animal names is only a fun way to raise money for a good cause. We will not give you or anyone else a "spirit name," nor will we bless you, the name, or your dog. These requests are offensive to Orrin; please respect his beliefs and do not misrepresent him or our role in suggesting these names. The names we suggest are no different, spiritually speaking, than American Indian names you found in a naming book or looked up in a language dictionary. If you are looking for an American Indian name with spiritual significance for yourself or for a child's naming ceremony, please talk to an elder in your community. The giving and receiving of medicine names is a serious religious tradition and really can't be done over the Internet any more than a baptism could. If you are looking for secular Native American names for a new baby, then see our page on American Indian baby names for more information and suggestions.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a Native American name for your pet, boat, small business, fictional character, house, or some other creative but non-religious purpose, then please fill out the form below. After you send it you will be prompted to make a $10 donation. If you prefer, you can also write down this information and send it along with cash or a check (made out to Native Languages of the Americas) to our postal address:

Native Languages of the Americas
PO Box 385291
Minneapolis, MN 55438

We will email you three possible American Indian names that match your criteria, along with their meaning, language, and pronunciation, and you can pick the name that appeals to you the most. It normally takes us at least a week to suggest Indian names and meanings, since we need to get in touch with speakers of a few different languages to make the best name suggestions. Please realize that some native Indian names may be difficult for you to pronounce, since tribal languages are so different from English. We can try to give you short animal names to make it easiest for you, but if you don't like or can't pronounce the names we suggest, you may have to adapt one of these words into a more pronounceable dog name and simply say it was inspired by a Native American word. That is how half the rivers in America got named, after all.

Native American Pet Names

1. Who or what will this American Indian name be referring to? (Dog, horse, motorcycle, ranch, etc.
A detailed description is helpful if you want us to pick a good name meaning ourselves.)

2. Should the names be male or female? (Some American Indian languages mark the gender on a name,
so male or female names would be different. If it's a boat or something just click 'no gender.')
Male names
Female names
I don't know yet
No gender

3. Do you have a preference for which American Indian language you are interested in,
or do you want us to suggest the native names we think are best regardless of tribe?

4. Do you have a preference for the meaning of the name, or do you want us to suggest the
name meanings we think are best?
(Please bear in mind that it is impossible to translate something long
like "stallion running free in the wind with a red mane and brown eyes" into a single horse name.)

5. How concerned are you with being able to pronounce and spell the animal's name easily?
(If this is an important concern, we will suggest Indian names that are shorter and more similar to English pronunciation,
but they will also probably match your preferences less well.)
Doesn't matter, a long or complicated Native American name is fine
Somewhat important, please give me names most of my friends will remember
Extremely important, my children will need to say this dog's name

6. We will get three suggested American Indian animal names to you within two weeks after receiving your payment. Is that soon enough?
No, I need the pet names as soon as possible--please ignore my language and meaning preferences if it will get me the names faster
Yes, two weeks is fine, it's more important for you to follow my preferences as closely as possible

7. Email address you want us to send the pet names to:
Please note this field is necessary. We are not psychics, we can't send you any Native American names unless you tell us where to send them to!

8. We can accept credit card payments via PayPal, or you can mail us cash or a check. We ask for a $10 donation for our nonprofit work in exchange for the naming suggestions. (Donations are tax-deductible.) If you don't want to give money, you can put a link to our organization on your website instead, or volunteer to help out with one of our projects.
I will make a credit card/PayPal donation
I will mail you a donation
I will link to your website or volunteer some time
No thanks, I'd rather not do any of those things

Additional American Indian Name Resources

Here is a list of our specific online resources for finding Indian language names:

Animal Picture Dictionaries: Animal names translated from Indian languages to English, with pictures.
Indian Pronunciation Guides: Charts showing how to pronounce words and names in Indian languages.
Cherokee Indian Names: Online tutorial on how to spell and pronounce native names in Cherokee.

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