Over the many years that I have walked this Earth, I have been asked “Is that really your name?” And I say, “It is what I go by.”
As with many Native American cultures, the Indian names in my family were given always by the Matriarch, or the oldest of our Clan.
The honor of my name was gifted to me from my Great-Grandmother, on the day I drew my first breath. She held me in her arms and sang, and spoke to me in the language that ‘paints pictures in your Mind.’ The language of the Ojibwe/Chippewa.
She would ask me a question, every once in awhile, and if I didn’t respond she would continue to sing. And each time she stopped she would ask another question. Silently, my sister, mother, aunties and uncles would watch and wait…until she asked the right question.
And when I smiled and laughed, everyone knew my name as Con-nos-sem-tig. That roughly translates to ‘TallTree.’
Of course, there were many other things that had to be done in preparation of the giving of an Indian names ceremony. But this gives you a general idea of how a name can define you. But a piece of paper can’t.
To discover how the ancient wisdom of Native American cultures can help you live on purpose, check out The Journey (Babamadizwin).
Miigwech. Thank you for listening.
Gakina-awiiya (We are all related),
“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth and heal each other.” – Ojibwe prayer