By Luella Brien

Clan aunts or uncles traditionally gave Apsáalooke their names. Many s still ask clan relatives to name their babies. In my family the naming usually runs its course as follows. It generally takes someone a year to find the right name for the baby. A lot of thought and prayer goes into deciding a name and the story behind it is just as important as the name itself. Without the story there is no explanation about the meaning of the name. The family hosts a dinner for the person giving the name, which often coincides with the child’s first birthday. The first birthday is a big event. Many Apsáalooke organize large family dinners to celebrate the first year of their child’s life. The person who names the child is given four gifts. Generally, they are given a small amount of cash, a blanket, a piece of fabric and loose tobacco or cigarettes. The gifts can be expensive but they don’t have to be, they are a token of the families appreciation and a guarantee the receiver will continue to pray for the child.

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