10 Indigenous baby names to reconnect with your roots

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I traveled back home to Peru where I was able to tell my family, in person, that I was expecting my first child. It was a lovely trip, but the thing I remember the most is how my cousin shared her little book of baby names with me, so I could get some ideas. Among the countless names in the book, there was a special section on names in Quechua (the indigenous language of my peoples) and I remember following in love with Urpi, which means dove, or paloma in Spanish. 

I didn't use the name with my daughter, but it got stuck in my ahead along with these other 10 indigenous names that you may want to consider if you're looking to reconnect with your roots:



  1. Nayeli — A Zapotec name that means "I love you". I never knew it existed until I met a co-worker (now a great friend) with that name and I feel in love with it. 
  2. Citlali — From the Nahuatl for star. A bit difficult to pronounce for some, but beautiful nonetheless.
  3. Anacaona — For the Taíno cacica (chief) of that name whom together with her siblings ruled the island of what is now called Hispaniola. 
  4. Inti — This was the name for the most important Incan god and it comes from the Quechua for Sun or Sunshine. At one time, when I was little, it was also the name of the Peruvian currency.  
  5. Itzel — A Mayan baby name that means "rainbow goddess." It would've been perfect for my rainbow-loving daughter.


  1. Pachacutec — The name of one of the greatest Inca rulers. It stands for "he who changes the world" in Quechua.
  2. Cuauhtémoc —Very popular Nahuatl name in Mexico that means "descending eagle" and was the name of the last of the Aztec rulers.
  3. Balam — It means "jaguar" in Mayan and how cool is that?
  4. Tonatiuh – The sun god in Aztec mythology.
  5. Newén or Nehuén — A mapuche name that means strong because who doesn't want their child to have that characteristic?

Image via Thinkstock

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Topics: baby names