Giving your child a Native name was something that was used by our ancestors. However, this tradition was almost wiped out when we were introduced to Christianity. Most churches and missionaries refused to consider Innu names, so we took on English names. That’s when names like Peter pronounced as Beechil or Robert as Lobit started appearing.
Today as young people start their own families they seem to be interested in giving their children names that our ancestors had. It is still hard for the Elders to pronounce most English names so new parents have come up with names that our Elders / ancestors would have given their children.
The following are some that are found in Kevin Brousseau’s book, “Iynu Names For Your Baby” available through Nikan Publishing. Âpikusîs means mouse and is usually given to a little girl. Wâpaskw means Polar Bear. Wîskacân means Gray Jay. Depending on the family members or even the child is how it was decided what name to give.
As for the names that start with Cise- or Mista- meaning great usually followed by another name. Such names, or what we call nicknames today, were likely to have been more popular in the past. There is almost no limit what you can come up with.
As for the person who gives or decides upon a name, this is a great privilege and one yet to be achieved by myself. I greatly encourage new mothers to consider giving your children Innu names to remember our ancestral background.
If you need help in finding a name, you can use Brousseau’s book or come up with a name of your own, or you can contact me at the Nation office. Agooda Chiyameyihtamiwin = Peace