FROM THE ARCHIVE
Yellow Bird: Those really long Indian names
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MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2003

"I am Sahnish (Arikara) and Dakota/Lakota. Here are some of the long names of my ancestors on both sides: Bull Stands in the Water, Strikes the Lodge, Young Eagle Chosen, Gourd Rattle and Red Foolish Bear. Son of the Star was one of the last traditional chiefs of the Sahnish. Bob-Tail Bull was a scout who died in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Some of the Lakota names are of the warriors Rain in the Face, Touch the Clouds and Afraid of the Bear, but the names most familiar are Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse of the Lakota and White Shield, old chief of the Sahnish.

When translated correctly, all these names have deep meaning. But sometimes, the meaning is lost in translation. I heard some of the old people tell us that there were some Native words that can't be translated.

You can see examples of poor translation some of the Indian people's humorous stories that have been translated into English. They just lose their punch and fall flat. Native words are very descriptive. A few words can set an entire scene that in English may take many words."

Get the Story:
DORREEN YELLOW BIRD COLUMN: A (Prairie) Rose by any other name (The Grand Forks Herald 6/28)

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