Indian Names


Indian Names Image So the old one’s said there is something that happens when you get an Indian Name or Spirit Name. And along with that the person who gets the name has a responsibility for receiving that name. Before you get the name you have to go an offer tobacco to those who do those things like that and ask them to name you. If they accept your tobacco and provide you with a name that person becomes your namesake. He or she will advise you what the next steps are. Usually he or she will tell you when the name comes to them and ask you when you want to do the ceremony. They will usually tell you that you have to find sponsors for each direction and each one of them usually speaks for that direction and also gives the person being named the sacred medicine for which they speak for. They are like god-parents and are supposed to offer guidance and direction throughout the person’s life that is being named. When going to offer that tobacco always open the package and put your fingers into it first, this is done so that a part of your spirit is in the tobacco offering. Offer all tobacco for whatever occasion with your left hand because that hand is closest to your heart. Your future Namesake may tell you that when you get your name you are responsible for keeping that spirit happy and dressed. You do that by providing a spirit meal for all of those that you invite to your naming ceremony. If at all possible cook some wild rice, venison or other wild meat, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. If there is going to be a water ceremony that has to be done first and the water should come from a spring. Before giving the water to the participants a little maple syrup should be added to the water and a woman must speak for the water. Men cannot speak for the water. Once the name is given then it will be time to feed the spirit of your name and to do that all will eat the prepared meal. But, before anyone eats a spirit meal is prepared by the one getting the name. They usually use a wooden bowl and a spoon for this part. The one getting the name takes a little bit (about a half a teaspoon of each food item) and puts it in the wooden bowl and then goes and offers it to the Fire. When offering this food offer it the same way you picked it up about a half a teaspoon at a time. Do not just dump it all at once. Once this part is done then all the rest of the people can eat and usually to honor the one getting named they get to eat or go through the line so they can eat first. When all are done eating it will be time to dress that spirit. We typically have a giveaway for that giving those things that a person would wear. If a female is getting a name then she will give things that a woman will wear. Likewise, it is the same for a male, giving things that a man would wear. Sometime you have to be prepared to give both because your sponsors might be of both genders. Be prepared. The old ones said that if one cannot provide a meal then that person should at least use a piece of toast with strawberry jam not jelly and put it on a piece of red cloth that is cut just a little bit bigger than the piece of toast and put some tobacco on it and offer it outside west of your house if there is no Fire. They said a little bit goes a long ways in the spirit world, that food will feed all the spirits and the red material will be used to make clothing for all the spirits. Next morning go outside with smudge bowl and smudge yourself off and introduce yourself to each direction and saying your new name. This tells the Guardians the Grandfathers and Grandmothers who you are. And when it’s time to enter into their world you will need to use that name. Ahou, Mi Gwetth.