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Article: Personal Names

PIAPOT As ominous storm clouds grumbled overhead, the wail of a newborn boy child rang through the lodge of a Cree family on the Saskatchewan plains.
Lightning lit the countryside and the infant was given the name "Flash in the Sky Boy" the first of many names to be borne by the Cree Chief, Piapot.

One day, the far riding warriors of the band to which Flash in the Sky Boy belonged chanced upon a solitary white man, lost and close to death. With the best of intentions they carried the ailing frontiersman to their camp where his illness was recognized as smallpox, the scourge of the West. In panic the lodges scattered to the four winds, leaving behind the youngster and his grandmother. Some days later, a Sioux war party discovered the old woman and her charge and the two were carried off to the land of the Dakotas. There the boy grew to young manhood.

In his fourteenth summer a Cree raiding party struck the Dakota camp. Flash in the Sky's grandmother ran toward her countrymen, shouting in her native tongue. She was recognized and she and the boy were restored to their own people. Henceforth, Flash in the Sky Boy was to be known as "Hole in the Sioux" or "The Sioux Piapot.

Having seen examples of the avarice of white men while among the Sioux. Piapot was ever after suspicious of the overtures of the friendship made him by Europeans, and lived to the end of his days an Indian in whom the spirit of independence and freedom burned with undiminished ardor. Yet it could be truly said that once his word was given, it was his bond.

The moment a child was born, the midwives heralded, "A woman or man has arrived!" For a time, the child will be called iskwesis or napasis. (Little girl, little boy) or simply netanis, my daughter or nikosis until a naming ceremony is given, and used a nickname in the meantime.

The person who gave the name was affectionately called nekweme by the child and nekwemes by the name giver. Names were given ceremonially when a child was sick.

Nicknames were given freely, children did not call relatives by name:
Ostasinmow- eldest boy
Asemow- youngest child. ~
My eldest uncle (others described)
Ostasimow nocawes
Nikawes- aunt. (Described)
nimosom - my grand father
Nokom - my grand mother