May 22, 2009

Trimble on "subtitled" Indians

Trimble:  More Indian namesIn recent times, the custom of conferring Indian names has been strained by Indians of marginal blood quantum, as well as wannabes. This is especially true with some self-styled leaders who want their audiences, especially the whites, to know they are reading an Indian author or reading about a genuine Indian leader. These are called subtitled Indians; those who always include their Indian name, often in Italics, under their European surnames.

Some of these people will seek out a tribal elder or holy man to give them a name, and will often ask for or suggest a name they would like to have, most of the time one with romantic or heroic connotation--like Brave Warrior or Flying Eagle. Others might ask for a name that has significance to the person’s profession, or to the position of leadership in which he sees himself. Seldom are the selected names those of the much respected, but not especially romantic, surnames of great leaders like Rain in the Face or Young Man Afraid of his Horses.

Women are seldom guilty of this practice. Some, like Cherokee Princess Pale Moon in Washington, D.C., take on the name perhaps for professional purposes. Otherwise, the growing number of outstanding women authors, journalists, political leaders, social activists and artists are seldom listed with an Indian subtitle.
Comment:  Trimble is talking mainly about Indians who adopt romantic "subtitles." But Indian wannabes do this constantly. As I've noted before, they always choose a name with a "romantic or heroic connotation"--usually involving an eagle, wolf, hawk, or bear.

For more on the subject, see "Funny" Indian Names.

No comments: