Where did the baby name Nakia come from in the 1970s?

Title of the TV series "Nakia" (1974)

The once-rare baby name Nakia burst onto the scene in 1974, when it was suddenly given to hundreds of babies of both genders:

Girls named NakiaBoys named Nakia
1976490 [rank: 414th]110 [rank: 792nd]
1975972 [rank: 251st]514 [rank: 337th]
19741,134† [rank: 226th]613*† [rank: 302nd]
*Debut, †Peak usage

Nakia was the top baby name debut for boys in 1974, and would have been the top debut for girls as well, if not for those 7 baby girls in 1973.

Where did it come from?

The character Nakia Parker from the TV series "Nakia" (1974).
Nakia Parker

Nakia (pronounced na-KEE-a) Parker, the fictional Navajo deputy sheriff played by actor Robert Forster in both Nakia the TV movie (April, 1974) and Nakia the short-lived TV crime drama (September to December, 1974).

Though the character was Navajo, I’m doubtful that Nakia is a genuine Navajo name. It’s certainly a Navajo word — it means “Mexican” — but I haven’t found any evidence that it has ever used as a Navajo name.

Nowadays, the baby name Nakia is still in use, but it’s not as popular as it once was. Last year, 41 baby girls and 8 baby boys were named Nakia.

P.S. Singer Nakia Reynoso, who appeared on NBC’s The Voice in 2011, was born in 1975.

Sources: Navajo Code Talkers’ Dictionary, SSA

Top image: Screenshot of Nakia

3 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Nakia come from in the 1970s?

  1. Tracing Nakia on familysearch, I was able to find some people named Nakia from some reservations in the region, so it might be an original Navajo name (or belonging to another indigeneous language).

    For female Nakia’s there is an arab etymology; Naqiyya means “pure, stainless”.

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