Most common last names for American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the U.S.
I have no idea how the author compiled this list. I wouldn't have thought the US Census compiled or released data such as this. But let's assume the list is valid and take a look at it.
With the exception of two Navajo names (Begay, Yazzie) and a Lumbee name (Locklear), Indians have roughly the same last names as everyone else. There are no Soaring Eagles or Dances with Wolves in the top 20.
Because the Navajo tribe is so big, we continue to see a smattering of Navajo names. For instance, these names in the 21-200 range:
And a smattering of other names that knowledgeable people would recognize as Indian. For instance, these names in the 21-500 range::
But classic "Indian names" are well down the list. There aren't many of them. And they're usually one or two simple words, not a whole phrase.
Finally, there's this well-known Indian name:
Conclusion: When you see a "Indian name" like Bright Hawk or Spirit Wolf or Medicine Eagle, it's almost always made up. Real Indians usually don't have names like this.
For more on the subject, see Duluth Shop Sells "Drunk Indian" Shirts.
Below: Heather Locklear, part Lumbee.
As for the surname "Thompson", I believe they got this one from the Western Shoshone Tribe of Nevada(I may be wrong). As I am descendent of this tribe, there is a large family base, with this surname--"Thompson"(just like the Yazzies/Begays of the Navajo). Although, I don't share their last name but many of them are cousins and distant relatives of mine.
Another page on the site attributes the data to the 1990 Census: “The following tables include all surnames with over 0.001% frequency in the US population during the 1990 census. ... Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Population Analysis & Evaluation Staff"
The column headed “Occurrences per 100,000 people” seems to have been munged somehow. The numbers are meaningless. Maybe decimal points and zeroes got stripped away at some point.
I think Thompson is a popular surname with non-Indians as well as Indians, Geno. But yes, the Western Shoshones may have helped boost the Thompson numbers.
You're right, A la Rob. The "Occurrences per 100,000 people" column doesn't make much sense. The numbers should be proportional to those in the "Number of occurrences" column. Restating a number as the number of occurrences per 100,000 simply means multiplying it by 100000/300000000 (or a similar fraction).
But I'm not sure the column is meaningless. Look at it again. The biggest numbers are for the "real" Indian names--the names associated primarily with Indians. My guess is that this column shows the names' rankings among all Americans.
If I'm right, Smith and Johnson are ranked #1 and #2 on both lists. Begay is #3 on the Indian list but #2066 on the overall list. Thompson is #11 on the Indian list, perhaps because of the Western Shoshones, but #19 overall. And so on.
Form what I understand There where also many Tribes that "had" to adopt Western names because the pronunciation of their given Native name couldn't be written phonetically using Western characters from the alphabet...the Government came around and basically said "You're Thompson, Smith, Jones..."
Post a Comment