Six different ways a person could be named
The traditional practice of ‘naming’ was not always done in the same way. In general, there were six different ways in which a person could receive a name in Ojibwe society. These included the following:
The first type of name was given ceremonially to either an infant or adult by someone who had received the name in a dream or vision. The child or person receiving a name from a person who dreamed the name was supposed to receive a spiritual benefit from it that would protect and guide them throughout their life.
The second type of name was a dream name acquired by an individual during their own dream or vision. This was usually received in during a fast and isolation. Such a name was associated with a spirit who gave them the name. This name was seldom mentioned and the person might use a different name most of the time instead due to the sacred nature of such a name. The experience of this dream name would give its possessor a ‘spirit power’ or protection. A person who received their name this way had the right and power to name others.
The third type of name was a “namesake name” given by parents, but not bestowed in a ceremonial manner. In most cases a namesake name was not in any way associated with a dream or spirit, but was just a common name.
The fourth type of name was the most ‘common’ type given to Ojibwe children. The common name or nickname was a name by which an Ojibwe was known throughout their life. This type of name was usually short and might contain an element of humor. A child might be given a name derived from some circumstance at the time of its birth, or from some event or animal that was nearby, or even because they bore a resemblance to something or acted a certain way. Humor was usually involved, such as one person who was named “without teeth” because it took a really long time for their teeth to come in as a baby, or another person who was named “stump” because they were very short. In both instances, the people who bore these names carried the names their entire lives.
In the fifth way, a person – usually a hereditary chief or clan leader – was sometimes known by the name of their family or clan group.
Lastly, a person might be given an English names and later have that name adopted or translated into Ojibwemowin. In some instances such names might just be done by (mis)pronouncing the English name to sound or be more Ojibwe. For instance, a girl named Josephette or Josephine might be called ‘Zozed’, a person named Margaret might be called ‘Magid’ or ‘Magidins’, meaning “Little Margaret.” Sophia might be rendered as ‘Sope’, and the name Minnie could become ‘Minin’. In other cases this is reversed and a person will be known by their Ojibwe name translated into English.
So what’s your name?
Learn more at Densmore, Frances. 1929. “Chippewa Customs.” Bulletin. Washington: U.S. Govt. print. off.
Native Americans have always been industrious and creative. Few people, however, are aware of the full impact Native American inventions have had on our day-to-day lives. Maple syrup, kayaks, the game and sticks of lacrosse, and hammocks-these are some ready examples of everyday inventions mainstream society has adopted from Native American tribes. But the story does not end there. Native Americans are still inventing useful items today that we will no doubt depend upon tomorrow.
Brad Rousseau is a celebrated independent inventor, small business owner, and enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe in North Dakota. He grew up on the Walhalla reservation in North Dakota, and he attributes his business success to the cultural values instilled in him as a young boy. Native Americans are convinced that everyone is a potential inventor if given the opportunity to analyze and solve a problem, and that was certainly true in Brad's case. Brad was taught to always look for ways to make things better and to find solutions to complicated problems. He had the opportunity to put such lessons to work when his mother, diagnosed with diabetes, was confined to a wheelchair and her doctor recommended she be transferred to a nursing home.
Brad had a strong desire to help his mother remain close to the family, but he knew in order to do that, her mobility would need to be improved. Faced with such a challenge, Brad relied on the values he learned as a child and pushed himself to find a solution that would help his mother navigate the multiple-level house more easily. As a result, Brad came up with a device that could attach to his mother's wheelchair and allow her to be carried up and down the stairs with ease. The invention allowed Brad to better care for his mom in the comfort of their home. Most importantly, it allowed her to stay close to her family.
In 2011, Brad received U.S. patent number 8,240,691 for his invention and named it the Easy Lifter. This device allows people with mobility impairments and their caregivers greater safety and freedom of movement in any location, and it provides them a handy tool in case of emergency or an unexpected evacuation.
From this invention, Brad's company, Safe and Secure Products Inc., was born. Today, Brad's goal is to inspire other Native Americans to follow his lead-to develop their ideas, patent them, and allow everyone to benefit from their inventions.
In addition to growing up on the Walhalla reservation, Brad worked for the Tribal Council as the Director of Utilities and has traveled extensively to other reservations in the United States and Canada. His experiences give him first-hand knowledge of the disadvantages many Native Americans encounter every day. In particular, he found there was little access to resources and knowledge in the area of intellectual property.
Brad is now working to help the Native American community embrace the concept of intellectual property by mentoring other Native American business owners and inventors and sharing his acquired knowledge and experiences in the field. Recently, he joined the advisory board of the Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council (NAIPEC), an organization that supports the Native American community by providing assistance in patenting, trademarking, and copyrighting. According to Brad, the resources NAIPEC provides are much needed in the Indian reservations today.
"Native American businesses and individuals would benefit from knowing how to commercialize their ideas through corporations and create full employment in the reservations," said Brad. "This would allow reservations to create economic security and create jobs with content, meaning, and empowerment."
Brad Rousseau understands that a true innovator doesn't draw the line at inventing; he looks for new ways to help his community and society in general by creating opportunities and spreading the dream of invention to others.
Read more: https://www.uspto.gov/custom-page/inventors-eye-spark-genius