Cowboy Prairie Style First & Middle Baby Name Combos

Joy asked:

We are due for our 5th baby end of June and have absolutely no names picked out! We don’t know the sex. We like unique names. Any ideas for us??? My fave name forever has been Prairie Rose but hubby hates it! He thinks Prairie is weird. Lol

These are the names of our 4 children:
Jack (family name) Wyatt
Corwyn Joy
CheyAnne Faith
Ainsley Eden


“So close!”

Which name do you think Joy should choose to join these siblings? (Choose carefully– you can only choose once.) Names are not divided by sex, they are in random order, and the suggestions came from me and from fans.

There is definitely a sort of modern cowboy/prairie feeling here, as fan Angel pointed out on our page. The style is definitely modern but inspired by dusty boots Americana– I call it Western nouveau. It can be really charming and you can take your inspiration from ancestors in the South during the 1800s, state, city and county names (appropriate to geography and era), and outdoorsy concept words.

Now some tips..

  • Try to avoid overuse of brand and object names next to each other (Lincoln Axel might sound like a car part).
  • Be cautious when choosing Native American words– especially if you are not a tribal member and are using an authentic personal name. It can be disrespectful or ignorant. Although many Native American names are also place names and you may be naming a child after a place and not a tribe, being aware of the true origin of a word and its meaning will help you navigate its usability. Your best bet is: whenever in doubt, steer clear of trends. Our fan Joy named her daughter “CheyAnne”, and while in many cases I would refer to something like this as a “bastardization of a Native word” and lecture on cultural integrity, this time it actually serves us well by changing the name enough to make it her own. In this sense, CheyAnne is closer to Shy Anne (good old shy Annie of the plain) than any original word referring to an “Indian” tribe.
  • Listen to the sound of things. Although some fans recommended Owen and Meadow, the last name will be Owens. An alternative to Prairie or Meadow might be Savanna or Dusty.
  • If you love the name Prairie, consider this thought from fan Aileen: “Well…you wouldn’t want anyone calling a beautiful girl Prairie Dog lol. Maybe he’s right, there are other nice cowboy themed names.”
  • Middle names Rose and Dawn would be popular choices for this theme. Virtue names Love, Hope, and Grace seem next in line. One of the suggested first name choices was Felicia, but perhaps Felicity would be more keeping with the theme. Another virtue name that could work would be Amity. It’s seldom used and has a good meaning, and fits well with the theme (could that be because it reminds us of Calamity Jane?).
  • Fan Angel said, on Juniper:  “I thought it was a nice tie in with June and the middle name style.” If you are due in June and enjoy this style, June would be a great middle name. For something a little longer with more modern and fresh appeal, Juno or Juneau works (but not next to surnames like Owens).

For more on Cecily or Cece Lia, make sure you check out When Names You Love Mean Bad Things.

If you’re curious about Silas, we have a post about that, too.

If you’re into vintage Southern names, try this.

One fan recommended the name Phoenix for either sex. What do you think? Is it unique enough? Does it fit well with the siblings? What middle names would you pair with Phoenix for a boy or a girl?

UPDATE, JUNE 30, 2014: Joy shares, “Our baby boy was born at home on June 24th. He’s 9# 5oz!! And we actually came up with a name for him after he was born….
Weston Arrow
Weston is his daddy’s middle name, and Arrow for psalm 127:4,5 of the bible. he is the
last arrow in our quiver of five children. “

Weston was actually also recommended by us. (Combo Weston Huck, as seen in this post, got the top boys vote.)

Congrats, Joy and family!



The Bastardization of Native American Names

On our page, after the Thanksgiving holiday, we asked our page with much hesitation what their favorite Native American names were. I did specifically ask people to be careful, and keep respect for authenticity. Our friend Hazel said:

Kai – Navaho; willow tree
Kaya – Hopi; my elder sister
Luna – Zuni, Span; the moon
Lusita – Zuni, Span; bringer of light
Malila – Miwok; salmon going fast up a rippling stream
Mika – Ponka; the knowing racoon
Nascha – Navaho; owl
Nita – Choctaw; bear
Nova – Hopi; chasing a butterfly

. . . So many more but don’t have time I’m not American, these are from a book, so cannot verify myself.

Luna and Lusita are definitely not Native American, but maybe used by the population due to Spanish influence. Kaya does not mean elder sister in Hopi. The Malila thing is so ridiculous I can’t believe it. The Miwok word for salmon is ko-sum, btw. Mika does come from Ponca & related languages but only means “raccoon”… “knowing” is a romanticism. Ne-ahs-jah is the Navajo word for owl (close…). Nova is the Hopi word for “food”. These were made up by white people.

Nita is Choctaw for bear, so that was right. Kʼai is Navajo for willow (close enough?).

Baby name books or sites in general do not respect Native languages (or anything non-Euro, for that matter), so this is what I cautioned about.
Don’t trust those.

Usually I hesitate to bring up Native American names here, and this is why. I truly love real Native American names, but so much misinformation is out there that if the topic comes up, I’m going to have to make some corrections. We just had Thanksgiving in the States, so I wanted to suck it up and do it, but what a dishonor we are still doing to the people with the BS that gets circulated. No offense, but I’m kind of glad Hazel ran out of time– less work for me!

Please remember that usually Native American words are longer than English words, so if something has some long elaborate meaning, it would take a lot more syllables than 2 or 3 to express that thought.

Most baby name books you really can’t trust, in varying degrees. Some are 75% garbage, some are only 5% untrue. I’d recommend mine, but it hasn’t been published yet! Mine isn’t really a dictionary per se, either… but I digress. Before you choose a Native American name, do a little legwork and find out about the language you are taking from– make sure via cross referencing that you have an authentic name/word with correct pronunciations and respect for the culture and their language. If you can’t do that, honestly a Native name should not even appeal to you at all. And don’t pick one because you “are” “Native American” unless you’ve confirmed via DNA test or were raised in Native culture, since family legend has us all part Cherokee princess.