What’s in a Name?

I am awake, I am alive, and this morning I smile as my mind asks, “What’s in a name?”

I unpack slowly as I come to terms with my reality. My first name gifted me by my Mother, a testament to the kindness of the lady she had met in the hospital.

But I had always thought to myself, “What if she was a b**ch?” My Mother would not have approved.

But my last name, that has proved to be a totally different story. A confession of sexual encounter more than identity, it shared with the world first that my parents had conceived, then who I was currently sleeping with. It discreetly yet somehow also loudly proclaimed that who I was didn’t matter, just who slept with whom.

But then came my spirit name and suddenly it didn’t matter who I laid with. It was all about me, what I must be, what I must do and it fit good, real good.

Announced proudly at the beginning of each video, speech, workshop or seminar, my Ojibwe name serves as my land acknowledgement, my identity acknowledgement, my responsibility …

Speaking my name … reintroduces Ojibwe to a land that should never have been robbed of the sound.

Speaking my name … announces that I come from a different land than those listening (more often than not), the land we are standing on, the land of my ancestors long before it was the land of theirs

Speaking my name … reminds me (and hopefully those listening) that my words are coated in responsibility, never speaking solely for myself but rather always with consideration of those that came before and those that come next.

Speaking my name … reminds me of my Mother’s words, “No matter where you stand or who you stand beside, remember who you are”.

Think of this my friend, the next time you hear me say my name.

Think of these things when someone asks you …
What is your name?

I love you!