Indian Naming Ceramony


#1

I was wondering if anyone here has any knowledge about Indian naming ceramomies. My brother married a noncatholic girl who is part newengland area Native american, they want to take the baby to a powwow where he will be given an Indian name. Is it a good idea to attend this and does anyone know if they are like a voodoo thing?
My brother brings the whole family to mass every sunday and is hoping his wife will convert someday.
Thanks ahead for any advice anyone can give.


#2

Have you thought about asking your brother and his wife about the ceremony and what it entails. That would seem like the easeist way to clear things up.


#3

One would think asking them would clear things up, It hasn't.


#4

What have they told you about the ceremony. I have never heard of any northern indian tribes participating in Voodoo. If I'm correct Voodoo is an import from africa.

If it's just a naming ceremony it probably isn't a problem. There are lots of Catholic Native Americans that still practice many of their native ceremonies as well.


#5

My DH is NA. He has gone through his tribal naming ceremony. It's NOT a voodoo thing AT ALL. There is no religious anything either. It's really more cultural, as far as I've observed. Which is definately VERY different from a Catholic perspective.

PowWows are fun. Lots of singing and dancing.

I wouldn't worry about it. And since the children belong to them... it's really their call.


#6

[quote="faithfully, post:5, topic:234192"]
My DH is NA. He has gone through his tribal naming ceremony. It's NOT a voodoo thing AT ALL. There is no religious anything either. It's really more cultural, as far as I've observed. Which is definately VERY different from a Catholic perspective.

PowWows are fun. Lots of singing and dancing.

I wouldn't worry about it. And since the children belong to them... it's really their call.

[/quote]

Agreed


#7

[quote="faithfully, post:5, topic:234192"]
My DH is NA. He has gone through his tribal naming ceremony. It's NOT a voodoo thing AT ALL. There is no religious anything either. It's really more cultural, as far as I've observed. Which is definately VERY different from a Catholic perspective.

PowWows are fun. Lots of singing and dancing.

I wouldn't worry about it. And since the children belong to them... it's really their call.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

I too, have my name. :)


#8

Thanks Faithfull, I was worried about the whole spirituality aspect of it because i know some tribes have kind of morphed into a more Pantheistic view of the "Great Spirit", I was worried about pagan influance creeping into an otherwise cultural event. In the powwow youve been to are there any references to realigian? What is the dancing around the fire? What tribe is your husband from?(if you don't mind saying) We are part Mohawk and she is from a MA tribe with a huge name i could never spell.


#9

Please forgive. Too small a world to give out a tribal name.

The pow-wows I've been too seem a bit generic... they are more like all the tribes in an area getting together. The dancing style seems exhaustive to me. Lots of bouncing, and jumping. It's circular in nature. Perhaps because at one point it was around a fire. The singing, is in their Native tongue. I imagine the younger generation is losing that. They should be stories passed down. But I would have no way of differentiating between their language, and just a bunch of cries.

My in-laws don't seem to have any since of spirituality... So, there is just NOTHING there. Except a respect for the earth. A higher power, that is not defined. I suppose each tribe is different. I guess, I just call their "higher power" God. There doesn't seem ANYTHING pagan about them.

My Great Grandmother was also NA. Apparently, she and my GGF would hold powwows. They were protestant I guess. So, their religion was VERY Christ Centered.

It's entirely possible that any given tribe is more "spritiual" than another.

I have a feeling that since your brother is a practicing Catholic, he wouldn't allow anything pagan in nature. I know, I'd beat it to next weekend if that happened with anything I attended. Just chalk it up to culture.


#10

We cannot generalize about Native Americans. There are differences between tribes and also within tribes. The naming ceremony, as I know it, is a sacred ceremony. An elder will ceremoniously invoke a spirit. This spirit will tell him the name for the child.

We never know what spirit will show up. Sometimes the spirit claims to be a departed family member.

My thinking is it's a violation of the first commandment for Catholics to participate. The child already has a name given during Baptism. He does not need another name given by Native Americans.


#11

I'm part indian biologically and by adoption

I'm confused a bit becuase naming...your indian name...as far as I know dosn't occour until around puberty.

Maybe it's tribal.

I have a walking name...it's not the same as a Native American name.

Is it really a bad thing to give a child a name that was prayed over? Now adays many kids would be FAR better off if someone prayed...indian or otherwise...before they got a name.


#12

My wife's Indian name is Snarks While Shopping.


#13

[quote="Le_Cracquere, post:12, topic:234192"]
My wife's Indian name is ....

[/quote]

Your post is disgusting and rude, not to mention culturally insensivitve.


#14

My mother is NA. Most of us are Christians. The naming ceremony is simply a traditional means of connecting one to our roots. In our peoples' time, children were renamed after they were old enough to develop their own personalities and interests. This is how our ancestors got names like "Walking Bird" or, as in my Aunt's case, "Cherokee Dancing". It's purely optional - I don't have one because I don't practice the old customs much, but I've been told it would be nice since my birth name is Jewish and the letters do not translate into Tsalagi (our native language has fewer sounds, and letters like "b" are foreign to the language).

You may inquire about the ceremony to ask if anything will be recreated from the old traditions that include prayer dances and such. That may be eliminated if it is planned. My understanding is that most tribes will only celebrate these on stomping grounds, though I can't speak for all traditional groups.


#15

[quote="MtnDwellar, post:10, topic:234192"]
We cannot generalize about Native Americans. There are differences between tribes and also within tribes. The naming ceremony, as I know it, is a sacred ceremony. An elder will ceremoniously invoke a spirit. This spirit will tell him the name for the child.

We never know what spirit will show up. Sometimes the spirit claims to be a departed family member.

My thinking is it's a violation of the first commandment for Catholics to participate. The child already has a name given during Baptism. He does not need another name given by Native Americans.

[/quote]

I think it would be disrespectful and cause a scandal to make it a point to not show up, personally. I believe in being respectful of other peoples' faith traditions, especially when they are part of the family. No one is going to make you participate on a spiritual manner, and if they ask you can politely say 'no'. I am an eighth Native American, my great great great grandfather founded a local tribe. I won't give a name or tribe affiliation because I want to protect my privacy, but my super Catholic grandmother, who married into a family with strong Native American ties (my grandfather was 1/2 NA), had no issue with attending pow wows or rituals. She has a very deep respect for Native American spirituality.

Let the elder invoke a spirit, as long as the OP is not asked to help with said invocation than I do not see how this could be sinful.


#16

[quote="themeginthemoon, post:15, topic:234192"]
I think it would be disrespectful and cause a scandal to make it a point to not show up, personally. I believe in being respectful of other peoples' faith traditions, especially when they are part of the family. No one is going to make you participate on a spiritual manner, and if they ask you can politely say 'no'. I am an eighth Native American, my great great great grandfather founded a local tribe. I won't give a name or tribe affiliation because I want to protect my privacy, but my super Catholic grandmother, who married into a family with strong Native American ties (my grandfather was 1/2 NA), had no issue with attending pow wows or rituals. She has a very deep respect for Native American spirituality.

Let the elder invoke a spirit, as long as the OP is not asked to help with said invocation than I do not see how this could be sinful.

[/quote]

If you had a Jewish friend or relative who asked you to join them on a Jewish Holiday would you refuse to go? I completely agree that you can be true to your own faith while respecting others faiths and traditions.


#17

[quote="purplesunshine, post:13, topic:234192"]
Your post is disgusting and rude, not to mention culturally insensivitve.

[/quote]

Whom are you calling rude?


#18

[quote="themeginthemoon, post:15, topic:234192"]
I think it would be disrespectful and cause a scandal to make it a point to not show up, personally. I believe in being respectful of other peoples' faith traditions, especially when they are part of the family. No one is going to make you participate on a spiritual manner, and if they ask you can politely say 'no'. I am an eighth Native American, my great great great grandfather founded a local tribe. I won't give a name or tribe affiliation because I want to protect my privacy, but my super Catholic grandmother, who married into a family with strong Native American ties (my grandfather was 1/2 NA), had no issue with attending pow wows or rituals. She has a very deep respect for Native American spirituality.

Let the elder invoke a spirit, as long as the OP is not asked to help with said invocation than I do not see how this could be sinful.

[/quote]

When I referred to Catholics participating, I was thinking of the baby. Is the baby Catholic?

But, thinking further, I have been taught that participating in any religious service that does not recognize the Trinity is a sin against the first commandment.


#19

[quote="Le_Cracquere, post:17, topic:234192"]
Whom are you calling rude?

[/quote]

I didn't call you rude, I said your post was rude and culturally insensitive. It is digusting to me that you must turn something wich I hold dear...if not sacred in it's own regard...into a joke that degrades your wife.


#20

[quote="MtnDwellar, post:18, topic:234192"]
When I referred to Catholics participating, I was thinking of the baby. Is the baby Catholic?

But, thinking further, I have been taught that participating in any religious service that does not recognize the Trinity is a sin against the first commandment.

[/quote]

As long as the OP is not being asked to participate in any spiritual part of the ceremony it seems OK. As to the Baby, that's not really the OP's call as it is not their child. If the parents want to honor the child's Native American roots that is their decision.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.