Creek Naming

The first personal name was given to a child at birth in commemoration of an important event which might. have occurred then, or in remembrance of some good or ill fortune that had befallen one of the older clan people, some one of the mother’s brothers or sisters or their children. That is, it might refer to ail event which was connected with the person’s immediate family or members of his clan. For istance, if some person, perhaps the father or mother, ran away or was thrown down, or if the father was on an expedition and a remarkable event happened, the child born soon afterwards was named from that, occurrence. This was the first name. It was a baby name, and it did not amount to anything. It simply denoted the time of the child’s birth. Sometimes, when nothing unusual had occurred, the child was named from some peculiarity of the mother or father.

But when the child reached puberty it became necessary to give it a new name, and the right to select this inhered, not in the members of its own clan or moiety, but in the members of the paternal clan or moiety on the other side of the Council Fire. Certain persons within that clan had the matter in charge because of their relationship.

The proper notification of the, need for giving one of their offspring a name having been made to the officers of the paternal clan, a suitable name was chosen. A new name was not coined on each occasion, for each clan had a large number of names peculiar to it which were constantly in use, being bestowed again after the death of the bearer. On occasion two or more persons might have. the same name.

And so at the annual festival called poskita the Elder Man of the paternal clan stepped forth at the proper time and called out loudly a certain name four times in succession. The person to whom this name, was to be given did not know that it was to be bestowed upon him, and he was then informed. Thereupon lie stepped forth in front. of the said Elder Man and received the name along with a present. Sometimes the name indicated the rank conferred because certain names became attached to certain official positions, as has been explained elsewhere, and installation into an office carried with it the name attached thereto. If a young man was of great promise he might also receive a name belonging to the highest rank of clan chiefs, or the highest to which lie might be entitled by reason of his clan relationship.

A youth was likely to receive first the names hadjo or fiksiko. Hadjo signifies “excited,” “enthusiastic,” “mad,” “crazy,” and fiksiko “without a heart,” “brave.” Hadjo denotes a lively or active person, au athlete. Fiksiko means brave, courageous, literally “without feelings.” Bestowal of the first name meant that. the youth was now worthy of manhood.

The titles given subsequently, Imathla, Tastanagi, and Miko, have been described elsewhere. They carried with them official functions and special seats on the Square Ground.

Often men acquired two names or titles.

Hopayuki was the highest name of all. The bearer of it combined the qualities of a warrior and prophet and it was derived from hopayi which signifies “a. prophet.” Perryman added that it signified a traveled warrior, one who lead been in foreign lands. A Civil Chief might also have this title. Those who had it “did the thinking and the predicting,” but the warriors carried out their matured plans.

Creek, History,

Hewitt, J. N. B. Notes on the Creek Indians. Edited by John R. Swanton. Anthropological Papers, No. 10. Bulletin 123, BAE. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1939.

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