We regularly receive requests for help with Anishinaabe names. For many people, receiving an Anishinaabe name is a very personal life-changing ceremony so we encourage you to work with elders you may know if you are asking for a name for yourself or a baby. There are many traditions so be sure to take time and get it right because the best Anishinaabe names are given with love and wisdom. It is also important to remember that names are given at different points in life and sometimes have a story that does not always match the literal translation. We are happy to help with the translation of names, but it is best to be sure you work with people from the community where they name was received if at all possible.
Many people working to revitalize Anishinaabemowin are happy to hear the language used correctly in poems, plays, songs, films and other creative works. So, if you are looking for an Anishinaabe name for a pet, a literary character, or need a nickname for a friend or the spelling for your next tattoo, here are some name suggestions we have gathered over the years.
In the spirit of more use of the language being for the best we have put together this page and would love to hear contributions to our list. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to include a name.
Note: You may notice that it is common to add “ikwe” or “inini” to indicate gender but it is not necessary and many names can be used by either gender.
Meaning & Notes
|Asiginaak||Blackbird. Variations include memiskondinimaanganeshiinh (red shouldered bird) in Ojibwe and memeskoniinisi as an Odawa variation.|
|Baamewaawaagizhigokwe||Woman of the Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky. This is the English name for Jane Johnston Schoolcraft. You can read more about her on our Nindinendam (Thinking) song page.|
|Baswewed/Baswewe/Beswewe||Echo maker. It can also mean sandhill crane.|
|Bemised||One Who Flies|
|Bizaan||Peace or Quiet|
|Boonikiiyaashikwe||One Who is Like The Land That Stops The Wind From Blowing|
|Ettawageszhig||Both Sides of the Sky|
|Gekendaasod||One Who Has Knowledge|
|Kishkedee||This is a name from the Gull Lake Ojibwe tribe in the 18th century. It has been said that it could mean beautiful bird or tree stump.|
|Naawakwegiizhigokwe||Noon Day Woman. From the book St. Mary’s Catholic Church Baptisms: Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, 1811-1900 (Kathleen M. Hendricks). Note: The common Anishinaabe surname, Nakwagiizhig, is closely related.|
|Nenaginad||One Who Prevents Others|
|Ogijibani’okwe||Woman Who Scrambles to the Top|
|Ogimaabinesikwe||Chief Raptor/Thunderbird Woman|
|Wejiigewegaabawikwe||Woman who stands along the edge. From the book Sacred Feathers: The Reverend Peter Jones (Kahkewaquonaby) and the Mississauga Indians by Donald B. Smith (original citation spelling Wechekewekapawiqua).|
|Zaagaasikwe||Light shining (female). From the book Firekeeper’s Daughter, the name that Daunis uses (to refer to herself) when she speaks to the Creator.|
|Zhaabiiwose||One Who Walks Through Water|