O'-si-yo' O'gi-na-li (Hello, My Friends)
Although I would like to claim the distinction, the name Knowing Lady was not bestowed upon me because of my tremendous intellect or superior educational background – perhaps one day I will attain that goal. In reality, the name Knowing Lady, a short form of the Native American name, Lady of Knowledge
, was given to me by the spiritual leader of the Chickamauga Cherokee Indian Nation of Arkansas and Missouri. The phoenic Cherokee spelling for Lady of Knowledge
is Kali Awga tahna Awge yah.
This is my 'soul' name, which I received during a naming ceremony performed in the Chickamauga tradition in April of 1997, and it means so much more to me than any intellectual connotation the name implies. My daughters shared the experience with me, as they received their 'soul' names, and I believe it forged a bond between us that is difficult to explain in mere words.
As taught to me by Richard Craker, the spiritual leader mentioned above, the Chickamauga believe that your 'soul' name can come to you on a "Vision Quest;" they are also given by any Chickamauga "A-da-wi-hi" or "Medicine-Man" of other S.E. tribes in lieu of the actual ritual. Such names are not just a given name or a "handle" to use casually, but are to only be used in healings, ceremonies, and by the closest family or clan members. Other types of names are old 'clan names' handed down to an individual by their clan mothers; "war-names" given or taken for rank or personal protection in battle; and lastly, "familiar names" given to you by your own family upon your birth. These last kind often changed as you grew out of the, or into another, identity. It could be taken alone, and if the name stuck with the family and the tribe, then that was what you were called. With a "familiar name," you were safe from strangers who might wish to "bewitch" you! With your 'Soul' name you had a power to grow into, a ritual name to pray with, and any ceremonies done with your 'Soul' name and clan was far more effective in achieving your purpose. This is the reason I use my 'soul' name as my Web site name. I want this Web site to be an effective voice for awareness of critical issues, a catalyst for helping people to make right choices, a vehicle for sharing the past which inextricably links us all together and to the future, and an encouragement to honor the souls of one another.
My husband, former Deputy Chief of the Chickamauga Cherokee Indian Nation of Arkansas and Missouri, has the Indian 'soul' name of Rain Gate,
a name he received in April of 1995. The phoenic Cherokee Spelling for Rain Gate
is Agas kwa Stuti.
While Rain Gate has documented proof of his Native American ancestry; I do not. However, I am very proud of my Indian name and the heritage it represents, as it makes me no less a member of the Ani Yun'wiya, The Real People
, and a Native American in the heart.
Rebecca Hogue Bannon – 2007