Tribal Protocol and Asking for Help
The process for a person to receive an Indian name varies depending on which family is giving the name to the person. The birth order is important to the Dakota; so, the first born son, first born daughter, second born son, and third born siblings all have special birth order names given by the family. The custodian and foster or adoptive parent should place great importance on name giving ceremonies and should seek out a respected tribal elder or identify a contact person who is a Tribal member.
It is important, if possible, to contact a Tribal family member who can provide the necessary information and assistance in the name giving process on behalf of the young person. Finding the right Tribal member to perform the name giving ceremony is important as this person will become another “parent” to the child and will continue to pray for the person throughout their life journey. It is important to gift this person with tobacco, food, blankets or other special items; again at the powwow, the family will give away blankets or special items for the opportunity to announce the Indian name and honor the young person with an honor song announcing the Indian name to the community.
Native people also have the opportunity to earn their name by doing something honorable; for example, a person may enlist in the military and have warrior experiences, which the Indian name may represent.
To learn of ceremonies requires a person to go to a respected elder, bringing tobacco and other gift items to visit about the various traditional ceremonies of the Tribe. Preparation to participate in some ceremonies may involve a full year or longer depending upon the type of ceremonies.
The Dakota Studies program at Cankdeska Cikana Coumunity College (Little Hoop Community College) provides opportunities for people to learn of the culture, traditions, language and ceremonies of the Dakota Oyate.
Powwows are gatherings of Native American families and children; they come together to celebrate, renew relationships and to interact with one another. Powwows are scheduled to honor each other with give-aways, feasting together, singing honor songs, and engaging and observing competitive dancing.
People and families initiate give-aways to honor relatives. The family determines who are the recipients of the give away. When a family is giving away, they will many times give to relatives and community members who are in mourning and have recently lost a family member. When an honor song is sung, all the people in attendance are expected to stand to show respect with the men removing any head cover. These represent only a few of the protocols of the powwow activity.
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