Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs: Arranged from American Indian Ceremonials and Sports

By Alice C. Fletcher | Go to book overview

BESTOWING A NEW NAME

The bestowal of a new name upon an adult generally took place at some tribal ceremony when all the people were gathered together. In this way as much publicity as possible was given to the act. Among the Pawnee tribe there were three requirements that had to be met in order to take a new name:

First, a man could only take a new name after the performance of an act indicative of ability or strength of character;

Second, the name had to be assumed openly in the presence of the people to whom the act it commemorated was known;

Third, it was necessary that it should be announced in connection with such a ritual as that here given.

These three requirements indicate (1) that a man's name stood for what he had shown himself to be by the light of his actions; (2) that this was recognized by his tribesmen, and (3) that it was proclaimed by one having charge of mediatory rites through which man can be approached by the supernatural.

The old priest who gave the following ritual and explained it said: "A man's life is an onward movement. If one has within him a determined purpose and seeks the help of the powers, his life will climb up." Here he made a gesture indicating a line slanting upward; then he arrested the movement and, still holding his hand where he had stopped, went on to say: "As a man is climbing up, he does something that marks a place in his life where the powers have given him an

-126-

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Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs: Arranged from American Indian Ceremonials and Sports
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction vii
  • Preface xxi
  • Contents xxiii
  • Part I - Dances *
  • Indian Games and Dances With Native Songs 1
  • Dance V 9
  • Calling the Flowers 40
  • Part II - Games *
  • Indian Games 63
  • Hazard Games 67
  • Ball Games 98
  • Part III- Indian Names 115
  • Bestowing a New Name 126
  • Taking an Indian Name in Camp 132
  • Indian Names for Boys - All Vowels Have the Continental Sound 135
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