Anyone who knows me knows how crazy I am about name collecting. I’ve done it ever since I was a little girl—probably because my own name has such an odd pronunciation. Bear with me if you’ve read this before—it won’t take long. My parents named me Cheryl—but not pronounced SHARE-yl like most people would say. No, my name is pronounced CHAIR-yl. But wait, there’s more! As if that wasn’t bad enough—my dad had the bright idea to use “Kathlyn” for my middle name—not Kathryn or Kathleen—but his own combo. I think he did it on purpose so he could roll the entire thing off his tongue when he got perturbed with me.
Is it any wonder that I named my daughter Jessica and my son Casey? Though that proved to me nothing is fool-proof—Jessica was on a little league softball team with 8 other Jessicas, and Casey had 2 girls in his kindergarten class named Casey. The thing that saved the day was that there was also a girl named Michael—so he didn’t have to listen to “Casey’s a girl’s name”—since it really hadn’t been until the year he was born, evidently.
I wanted to talk a bit about Indian names we are all familiar with and what the meanings are—I thought that might be fun. Though no one really knows what their children will grow up to be, many of us choose names that have “meaning” behind them. My dad’s name was Frederic—which meant “Peaceful Ruler”—we had great fun with that over the years. Mom’s name was El Wanda—which she always told us meant “The One”—and my dad would say, “Well, THAT’S the truth! You’re THE ONE for me!”
But what about some of the famous leaders in history who were Indian?
GOYATHLAY m Native American, Apache Means “one who yawns” in Apache. This was the real name of the Apache chief Geronimo, who fought against Mexican and American expansion into his territory. Here’s a picture of Geronimo in his later years.
HIAWATHA m History, Native American, Iroquois From the Iroquoian name Haio-went-ha meaning “he who combs”. This was the name of a 16th-century Mohawk leader who founded the Iroquois Confederacy. He was later the subject of a fictionalized 1855 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
QUANAH m Native American, Comanche Means “fragrant” in the Comanche language. This was the name of a 19th-century chief of the Comanche. This is a picture of Geronimo (left) and Comanche chief, Quanah Parker (right).
SACAGAWEA f Native American Probably from Hidatsa tsakáka wía meaning “bird woman”. Alternatively it could originate from the Shoshone language and mean “boat puller”. This name was borne by a Native American woman who guided the explorers Lewis and Clark. She was of Shoshone ancestry but had been abducted in her youth and raised by a Hidatsa tribe.
TECUMSEH m Native American, Shawnee Means “panther passing across” in Shawnee. This was the name of a Shawnee leader who, with his brother Tenskwatawa, resisted European expansion in the early 19th century.
These are just a few of the names and meanings that I found at this site. You might find it interesting to check out the others!
I’m curious–is there something odd about YOUR name? Do you wish you had a different one, or are you perfectly satisfied with the one your parents gave you?
The hero of my latest novella, Johnny Rainbolt, is half Cherokee. He needs a wife–and Gabrielle Mason needs a husband–quick!
I’m giving away a DIGITAL COPY of THESE ROUGH DREAMS to one lucky commenter! Take a sneak peek!
When Southern socialite Gabrielle Mason discovers she’s pregnant, she takes her future into her own hands. She has her family name to consider, and a husband is what she needs. She answers an ad for a mail-order bride in Indian Territory. But the man who proposes isn’t the man she ends up marrying.
Johnny Rainbolt is not a family man by any stretch of the imagination…but Fate is about to give him no choice. His late sister’s three children will be arriving on the next stage, and he has no idea what to do with them. When cultured Gabby Mason is left waiting for her prospective groom at the stage station, Johnny sees a way to solve everyone’s problems.
Some dreams get off to a rough start. A mail-order marriage is only the beginning. When one of the children is stolen, Johnny and Gabby are forced to depend on one another in an unimaginable circumstance that could turn tragic… or show them what might become of THESE ROUGH DREAMS.
If you just can’t wait to see if you’re my winner, here’s the Amazon link–it’s also available at Barnes & Noble!