Native American Naming Ceremony in Michigan

October 28, 2001

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On October 28, 2001, The St. Petersburg Times featured an article on "a sacred Indian naming ceremony in Michigan. Medicine man C.W. 'Sings Alone' Duncan, a Cherokee Indian storyteller and shaman, performed the traditional ceremony. Although Cherokee, Duncan studied the Lakota Sioux traditions and perfers to use their ceremonial ways over the Cherokee ways... The naming ceremony began when the shaman, or healer, built and then lit the ceremonial fire. The group gathered in a circle around the small ritual fire as the shaman beat a drum to drive out unclean spirts, a purification he explains... Duncan explained the naming ritual, telling the group that the elder or chief of a tribe has the ability to rename you, giving you an Indian name. Your Indian name can be used publicly, and it should say something about you personally. 'Your Indian name needs to fit who you are and who you can grow into,' said Duncan. A spiritual name is private and totally different. 'It is between you and your maker.'"