Native names may have a nature-based significance, what about the other side of this coin?

Native Humor: What Some Native Names Might Mean

Vincent Schilling

Taking into consideration the fact that Native people often have names relating to earthly forces and nature, such as Elk Dog, Crazy Horse, Roaming Buffalo or Tall Tree, we often celebrate the awesomeness of our names. But what about the other side of this coin?

When my Mohawk grandmother (Tota) Carole Ross gave me my native name of Tsio’:kwaris (Black Raven), I thought, ‘Oh great, that is an awesome name! Raven’s are dark and sinister and just all-around cool!”

My Tota added, “That is great, Tsio’:kwaris, but they are also noisy and get on my nerves!”

On that note of wisdom, here are a collection of awesome Native name parts, and if they are part of your name, what else they MIGHT say about who you are.


Don't even think about changing the mind of a buffalo.  (Photo  iStock)

If your name has Buffalo in it, people might just have to forget about trying to change your mind if it is set on something, because you are stubborn. You have a lot of friends, but if they don’t want to go with the flow? Your words will probably be: Later, dude! I’m out!

On Thursdays, you think about going vegan.


Yes, wolves are tough ...  (Photo iStock)

Yes, you’re tough, but aren’t tired of always trying to be right about EVERYTHING? If you are a guy wolf and single, you need to chill on the mackin’. All the girl wolves know what you are up to. A girl wolf? Well, don’t get on her bad side. In fact, run!

You are allergic to latex band-aids.


Ravens are easily distracted and ... ooh look, silver jewelry!  (Photo iStock)

Like I said, you are noisy, get distracted by shiny objects and though you are smart, you are easily thrown off track with a simple compliment. All of the Tsio:kwaris out there know exactly what I’m talking about.

You are always looking for bargains on silver jewelry.


Yes eagles, we know you have one of the awesomest names... (Photo iStock)

Ok, Mr. or Mrs. King or Queen of the World, yes, we know you have one of the awesomest names in Indian Country … because you’ve told us all about it since you first got it when you were eight (or earlier.) Actually you are right about things most of the time - we just wish you would stop telling us about it.

You also might have 8 or 9 chihuahuas that share the couch with you.


Yes trees, kids love you... (Photo iStock)

Yes, kids like you, Yes, you have the wisdom of the ancestors and the ability to stand still for hours at a time without bothering anyone. But would you please stop dropping things on our head? Meaning: you really know how to give a well-placed, backhanded compliment.

Your roots need lightening again.


Your innocence can be used as a weapon dear deers... (Photo iStock)

You are the most innocent of all the names - but this is a complete disguise. Yes, you can get over on anybody with those sad eyes of yours, but let me … tell … you … something. Oh, never mind. You have a beautiful name.

You are overly-obsessed with your eyebrows.


AAAAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!! Oh...hey... spider. Nice to see you again. I have to get going now. (Photo iStock)

Well quite frankly, just about everything that you do scares the complete bejeezus out of everyone in Indian Country. Oh, and nice head to toe tattoos you have there. You might be mad at your relatives, but they love you, please come back home sometime soon.

You actually like Winnie-the-pooh.


Ahhh, the freshness of wind ... sometimes.  (Photo iStock)

Wind is light and airy, and your attitude is pleasant but sometimes loud. You make people feel better - but there is one small little thing everyone in the community has wanted to tell you for some time now...

Please consider slowing down on eating beans.


Have a name you want to add to our Native Humor list? Follow ICTMN A&E, Sports and Pow Wow's Editor Vincent Schilling on Twitter and let him know - @VinceSchilling


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I'm pleased to know that you're associated with the Raven, Mr. Shilling! The Corvids are among my favorite birds and the Raven is at the top of the Corvid list. They are incredibly intelligent and far more family oriented than most people realize. There may be drawbacks to ravens, but they, of all animals, care the least what others think.