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Native American Names, Round 2 — Choctaw traditions

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choctaw2

By Angel Thomas, aka Dantea

We’re back for Round Two of names from my Native American background. The other piece of my Native American side is Choctaw. Though the naming traditions and pronunciations of the Cherokee and Choctaw are very similar, I’ll give a brief overview all the same.

As a Choctaw child, you could have many names over the course of your life. The first name you were given was bestowed at birth by your parents and usually was related to an event that happened around the time of your birth or something that was seen during the event. The women birthed outdoors near streams and so the names tended to be related to nature and animals seen during the process. During the rest of your life, many namse could be added, based on anything from a small happening to a great victory in battle. Many names came from specific groups of names (color, animal type, etc), but there were exceptions to this, too. The red or humma group was one of distinction. Taking a red name called on the Choctaw to act with honor and courage, and was probably one of the largest name groups. Holahta was another name group, roughly meaning “leader,” and was reserved for special use.Here is a selection of Choctaw names:

Girls:

Atepa –  ah-TEE-pah — wigwam

Coahoma –  COH-ah-HOH-mah — red panther

Fala –  FAH-lah — crow

Issi — IHS-see — deer — The double S is pronounced with a pause between like in dress suit

Kinta –  KIN-tah — deer

Nita –  NIH-tah — bear

Opa –  OH-pah — owl

Panola –  pah-NOH-lah — cotton

Poloma –  poh-LOH-mah — bow

Talulah –  tah-LOO-lah — leaping water

Tula — TOO-lah — peak

Boys:

Chito — CHIH–toh — handsome

Chochmo — CHOCH-moh  — mud mound

Chochokpi — choh-CHOHK– pee  — throne for the clouds

Hattak — haht-TAHK — man — The double T’s are both pronounce with a slight pause between them like in night-time

Koi — KOH-ee — panther

Kostini –  kohs-TIH-nee — wise

MincoMIN-coh  — chief

Nashoba — nah-SHOH-bah  — wolf

Shikoba –  shih-KOH-bah — feather

Talako –  tah-LAH-koh — eagle

Here’s the pronunciation guide:

a = like the a in father

e = like the i in police

i = like the i in pit and sometimes like in police

o = like the o in note

u = like the u in put

v = like the u in cup

au = like the ow in cow

ai = like eye

lh — like the breathy ll in Llewellyn

 

 

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About the author

Dantea

Angel Thomas, better known on Nameberry as Dantea, is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for onomastics who writes fantasy novels in her spare time. Her knowledge of Greek names stems from her ancestry and her religion.
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