late 14c., "natural, hereditary, connected with something in a natural way," from Old French natif "native, born in; raw, unspoiled" (14c.) and directly from Latin nativus "innate, produced by birth," from natus, past participle of nasci (Old Latin gnasci) "be born," related to gignere "beget," from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.
From late 15c. as "born in a particular place." From early 15c. as "of one's birth," also used from mid-15c. in sense of "bound; born in servitude or serfdom," also, as a noun "a bondsman, serf." Native American attested from 1956.