Indian Names

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Indian Names

Submitter: This is an odd book to be sure. The back cover explains how the author came to write his book, which was to answer a child’s simple question. Since the book is simply a listing of names, it lacks context and depth. When I found this book on the shelf, I was a bit confused as to what purpose it might serve. For anyone that may research this topic, they would want to know more. Likely a researcher would start with a Wikipedia article over this reference. Surprisingly this book has had 1 circulation since 2001. I tried to learn more about the author but an Internet search returns links for an Australian jazz musician.

Holly: This is literally just a list of names. There could be value in that, but the story on the back cover says that the author asked his teacher how many Indian tribes were on this continent when the Pilgrims landed in 1620, and she couldn’t answer his question, so he decided to write this book. IT STILL DOESN’T ANSWER HIS QUESTION.

Mary: As a person who was a teen in 1976, I feel I must note that EVERYTHING published that year was probably a Bicentennial Edition.

Indian Names back cover

Indian Names list

Indian Names list


  1. Based on that cover blurb, I kinda want to read more about Don’s journey (the South Pacific, Arizona, the Midwest, driver training, rollerskating….how very mid-to-late 20th century American!) Also, “Arizona State College” became Arizona State University in 1958.

  2. Why doesn’t it answer the question? All you’d have to do is total them up. I do think the title is misleading, though — I was expecting “Geronimo, Standing Bear,” etc.

    1. It doesn’t answer the question because there’s no information on time periods. Tribes don’t always last forever, and some of these listed might have died out or been taken into other tribes a thousand years ago.. From the pages shown we can see that groups/bands formed somehow separate or as a sub-set of existing tribes, but we have no way of knowing when that happened. Some of those bands may be more recent. There’s just no way to know when these tribes existed, where they were centered, how many members they had…this book is pretty remarkable for what it leaves out. The only use I can see for this book pre-internet is as a reference for writers wanting to make sure they don’t accidentally use real tribe names in their fiction. It would be quite helpful if you’re trying to make up a name for a tribe/ancient culture/lost culture/aliens and you don’t want to get sued or beaten up. That’s assuming the information is correct and/or complete, of course.

  3. Mound Builder is a really broad term for many societies we do not know the original names of. And why did he do it alphabetically instead of geographically or the way Linnaeus did? Either would be more useful.

  4. It’s always interesting to see when various schools switched from College to University, as it says for Arizona State. At least it was no longer called the Normal School then.

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