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Wisdom of the Ages: From Houses to Monsters, the Naming Practices of the Coast Tsimshian Nation

Wisdom of the Ages: From Houses to Monsters, the Naming Practices of the Coast Tsimshian Nation

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Title: Wisdom of the Ages: From Houses to Monsters, the Naming Practices of the Coast Tsimshian Nation
Author: Thunderbird, Shannon
Abstract: Prior to European contact, there were no written indigenous languages. Canada’s First Peoples relied on the
‘truth’ of ancestral oral narratives passed down through thousands of years of observation, knowledge,
wisdom and experience. The cultural practices of the Coast Tsimshian people were deeply rooted in our
reverent relationship with nature. Place, geographic and tribal names that included clans, crests, sub-crests,
wonders and privileges were based on this close relationship. For example, the thoughtful giving of a name
reinforced and accelerated each person’s progress toward her/his highest destiny. As a result, at the time of
birth, weather patterns, the time of year and the role of the family in tribal life formed the basis for naming.
As it is, the widespread use of traditional indigenous names all across Canada is commonplace. 'Canada'
itself comes from the Mohawk word, 'Kanata' meaning ‘Community.’ The central focus of the presentation
will be on the indigenous principles of naming that include cultural and spiritual insights, and the historical
understanding of the meaning of the name at the time of bestowal.
Subject: Tsimshian Naming
Coast Tsimshian
Type: Article
Rights: The following articles are © 2009 with the individual authors. They are made available free of charge from this page as a service to the community under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivative Works license version 3.0. For full details go to http://creativecommons.org.licenses/ny-nd.3.0
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/4039
Published: York University
Citation: Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences
ISBN: 978-1-55014-521-2
Date: 2009

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