April's Real Blog

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wait a minute, what?

Liz sent me a v. v. short e-mail: "April, at the end of the naming ceremony, I realized, 'I don't remember my first baptism, but I'll never forget this one.' When/if I feel like it, I'll tell you my Spirit Name. Take care, Elizabeth."

OMG, can U believe this? Spill, Liz, we all sed we were sorry eh?



  • At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Constable Paul Wright said…


    Boozhoo (Hello).

    I read your writing about your sister’s comment on how her naming ceremony was like a baptism. I wrote in my writings yesterday how giving the spirit name is like a baptism for Christians. Many of the people in Mtigwaki are also Christians and they mix the traditional beliefs of the Anishinabek and Christianity. For example, among some Christian churches the baptism occurs in the first year of the baby’s life. For most Anishinabek, the naming ceremony occurs in the first year. For some Anishinabek, the naming ceremony can occur later in life, just as a baptism can occur to an adult.

    The Naming Ceremony remembers the sacrifices of Original Man in naming everything. At a Naming Ceremony the medicine person burns tobacco as an offering and pronounces the new name to each of the 4 Directions and everyone present repeats the name when it is called out. The Spirit World then accepts and can recognize the face of the person as a living thing for the first time. This is the same as a baptism, where God recognizes the baby and if something happened to the baby, the family assumes God will take care of the baby in the afterlife.

    In Mtigwaki (Land of Trees), the naming ceremony was different than ones I have attended before. Susan Dokis agreed, but told me since it was being done only for your sister and no one else was named, that may be the reason why it was different. For one thing, the person being named usually has 4 sponsors in the community, symbolizing the 4 directions, who pledge to support that person as they live in the community. Of course, your sister is going to leave the community, but I thought they should still maintain the tradition. Jesse Mukwa and his aunti Marg were your sister’s sponsors, but I did not see any others. There should have been 2 more. Also, before the naming ceremony began, a young lady, who is a shawl dancer, performed. I remember thinking, “This is a naming ceremony, not a powwow. Whose idea was this?” I asked Susan, but she did not know.

    Also, the giveaway blanket was loaded down with giveaway items and was lying right in the middle of everything. Usually the giveaway blanket is out in the open but not in the way where people plan to stand to do the naming ceremony. I had this feeling that in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) they like to put all the Native traditions together at one time so anyone looking at a small panel of the ceremony would not mistake it for anything other than an official ceremony. I think I have said before, but I should repeat: Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) is a little different from every other Anishinabek First Nation in Ontario. Susan said to me, "Suds. A native community without all the usual problems that native communities have, like cars that don't run. Who cares if they get some of the traditions a little wrong? I am going to love living here." I could see her point.

    As for your sister’s spirit name, she should be the one to tell you. She told me in very clear terms, which is not usual for your sister, that I was not to write her spirit name on your Blog, until she had officially announced it. I expect you will know what it is before Saturday, but with your sister it is hard to tell. She tells me that no one keeps secrets as well as she does. My experience with my sweet girl tells me that is true.

    Gi'-ga-wa-ba-min' na-gutch! (See you later!)
    Constable Paul Wright

  • At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…


    Little sis. Whatever you do, don’t say, “I don't remember my first baptism” to mom. Ever since she retired and found that slide projector, she will pull it out and show pictures at the slightest provocation. Believe me, when Lizardbreath comes home, if she talks about her Naming Ceremony performed in wherever it that she is just about to stop living, in front of mom; she will find herself in a dark room, looking at slides of her baptism with a colour commentary by mom and possibly dad. I don’t even live in Milborough anymore, but during my last visit to do research for my play, I made the mistake of saying I didn’t remember my first scraped knee, and it took quite a few hours before the slides of me with “boo-boos” were all shown.

    Speaking of my play, I found my original copy of my script and just as I suspected, I used ripe tomatoes and not explosives to terrorize the Milborough neighbourhoods of my youth. I showed that alteration to the director Mr. Miroirbelle, and he admitted the mistake without any problem. Apparently, the young scamp who plays the part of me, made the alteration in order to satisfy some sort of personal incendiary desires of his own. As Mr. Miroirbelle explained to me, “At first it seemed like it might be a good way to spice up the show, but after awhile I realized that Charles Wallace would probably blow up the entire school, if he is given half a chance.” Mr. Miroirbelle is prone to exaggeration.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 10:11 AM, Anonymous shannon lake said…


    I don't remember my first baptism either. My mom said it was because it was done when you are a baby. I wish I could remember it, but it is hard for me to remember things people just told me.

    Does this ceremony mean your sister worships Anishinabek gods now? That would be so cube, to worship a god of the coyotes or a god of the turtles.

    I read a book about other gods your boyfriend dropped one time. It had whole chapter about the hall of the gods, called Valhalla. Don't worry. I gave the book back to him. He said he was happy to have it back. Does your boyfriend worship the Norse gods?

    Everyone is more interesting than I am.

    Shannon Lake

  • At 10:22 AM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, this iz so typical 4 ur sis. she duz not like 2 talk ‘bout thingz. like last summer, wen that anthony guy asked her 2 w8 4 him, & she wudn’t say wut her answer wuz? u’ll prolly nevah find out wut that spirit name iz. i rilly don’t care wut it iz. if i evah c ur sis, i am not gonna call her by it. i will call her miss patterson or april’z sis, just like normal.

    eva iz rilly innerested n ur sis’ spirit name. she likes that whole cowboy / indian thing. she sed, “april’z sis duzn’t tell her spirit name, cuz that wud give u power ovah her, man.” i sed, “wut do u mean?” eva sed, “u don’t think eva iz my real name, do u?” i sed, “eh? i sure do.” eva sed, “well it iz. but wen i told u my last name wuz abuya, did u b-lieve that?” i sed, “yeah!” eva sed, “thass gud, man. thass gud.” i sed, “so abuya iz not ur last name?” eva sed, “it iz, but u notice it took a long tyme 4 me 2 trust u enuff 2 tell u my last name, eh?” i hadda admit she wuz rite there. 4 sum reazn, i seem 2 remembah learnin’ eva’z last name pretty recently. mebbe ur sis’ spirit name iz like that. mebbe she will nevah tell u & u will accidentally find it on sum mtigwaki website.

    neway, i am v.v. bizzy theze days preppin' equipment 4 rebeccah'z tour. i dunno if i will have the tyme 2 post nethin' 2u, but mebbe rebeccah will. ttyl.

  • At 10:36 AM, Blogger howard said…


    I remember my first (and only) baptism quite well. I was little and I got cold water splashed on me and I cried because it was cold. Then the priest carried me around and showed me to a lot of strange-looking people. Then he gave me back to my mother and I pooped my diaper. I am sorry your sister does not remember hers. However, when I mention this memory to other people they say, “You remember the strangest things, Howard.”

    My beau, Graham Sheppard, had his final performance of his musical play last night in Toronto. Marjee Mahaha and I saw it again and spent the evening and early morning with Graham. He transfers out with his play today. I am going to miss him and I can’t wait until he comes back. He says that if the musical theatre is successful, he won’t come back, and I will have to visit him in New York City. That would be a fun trip and Marjee says she would love to go too. Sometimes with work and the other things that go on, it is difficult to find time for a trip like that.

    In the meantime, Marjee said she really wants to go on tour with Becky and me, but Becky is adamantly opposed. She said, “If Luis can’t go and give me hickeys, then Marjee can’t go and give you (loving).” Loving is my word. Becky’s choice was a little cruder. Apparently, Jeremy Jones wanted to take his friend Eva Abuya along too, because he is afraid of leaving her alone with Duncan Anderson. I told him that he did not have much of a relationship, if he couldn’t trust her to be faithful to him over a few weeks. Becky said, “That’s Jeremy. Aside from me, his taste in girls stinks.” It should be an interesting tour.

    Howard K.

  • At 11:03 AM, Blogger duncan anderson said…

    Hey, Apes, Zed asked me 2 ask u if u will come 2 the Larsons bbq on Canada Day. Pls say yes?


    Fish Boy

  • At 11:04 AM, Blogger duncan anderson said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 2:56 PM, Anonymous liz patterson said…


    If I tell you my spirit name I am not going to tell you it here on this blog. A spirit name is a very sacred thing and I am not sure if I am allowed to blab it everywhere. Besides I am sure Mike will just find some clever way to make fun of it. After all those years of suffering through his vicious "Lizardbreath" abuse I am not going to add on another layer you know? Because that stuff really scarred me. Every time Candace goes on about how hard it was to live with a mom whose boyfriends tried to molest her or I hear someone talk about how Gordon overcame his poor alcoholic abusive parents I think my experiences with Mike calling me you-know-what are at least as bad as that.

    Anyway, I am not going to share my name yet. But I will tell you some more about the ceremony. As you know I gave away all my non-teacherly dresses to you before I moved up here. So I was wearing a dress that Mom was kind enough to give me. It is a little big for me, so I will have to gain a little weight for it to fit better, but I think it looked nice especially after I had my hair in a fancy bun holder. There wasn't a whole lot to the ceremony. We watched some shawl dancing, and the chief smoked a pipe, and we shook hands.

    Paul tells me that this ceremony is like a baptism to the Asisb...Akshin...Ahsni...Ojibway people. That is kind of interesting. I pointed out to Paul that I don't remember my first baptism because I was just a baby, so it is nice that this one happens when I'm an adult so I will probably still remember it a few years down the road. Paul, Susan, and Auntie Marg kind of all looked at each other with their foreheads all wrinkled up. I think that is because my statement showed them just how deep Mtigwaki and its people have touched me.


  • At 3:08 PM, Anonymous susan dokis said…

    Dear April and friends,

    During the ceremony, I noticed that your sister Liz was very stoic and serene-looking. I thought this was unusual because I hear that most outsiders who are so honored by a tribe as to be given a spirit name often get extremely emotional during the ceremony. Your sister had an almost dreamy, far-away look on her face.

    Then I remembered an incident that happened in my village a few years ago. There was a young white girl who came up from the Big Smoke for a couple of years to work as a nurse in our village. During a pow-wow, some of the naughtier children gave her a dessert that they told her was some kind of special pow-wow brownie. Of course the brownie was actually made with some hashish the kids stole from Billy Strongblood's secret grow operation. The nurse was stoned out of her mind for two weeks.

    Anyway, I went and grabbed Jesse Mukwa by the scruff of his neck and interrogated him, but he promises me that no one played that kind of trick on your sister. I didn't believe him at first, but he insisted.

    Then, later, I spoke to your sister. Now I am conflicted. On one hand, she is speaking coherently, which is more than the nurse could do. But she sounds very dreamy and emotionally detached. She said something about how she thinks she will be able to remember this ceremony. I'm worried that maybe Jesse or some of the other kids did slip her some illicit substances, but Paul says he would need more probable cause to get a warrant to search their homes for evidence.

    Could you please help me and Suds keep an eye on her, just in case?

    Sincerely, Susan

  • At 6:29 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    dunc, bbq soundz cube, pls tell zed i'll b there!

    liz, i hope u decide 2 share yr spirit name. if mike makes fun, we can just make fun back. that's always amusing, eh?

    susan, i'll do what i can 2 watch out 4 liz. liz, do u feel out of sorts @ all?

    howard, that's surprising u can remember yr baptism fr. when u were a lil baby like that!

    shannon, ger likes 2 know all abt the norse godz, but when he asked his mom if he cd worship them, she sed no. i don't think liz has started 2 worship anishinabek godz.

    mike, i will b sure not 2 say stuff that will make mom get the slide projector out. or @ least i'll try, cuz it's hard 2 know what will set her off. like just the other day, i found an old jumper of mine from when i was around 4, that sumhow had gotten mixed up w/sum other stuff i didn't know i still had. i was all, "mom, i'm gonna don8 this--" and b4 i even had a chance 2 finish my sentence, she'd snatched it outta my hand, stuck it in2 a keepsake box, and started a slideshow of "april in her cutesy-wootsy little jumper". omg!

    paul, thanx 4 the info on naming ceremoniez an' how mtig doez theze thingz diff.

    jeremy, yeah, i thot it was kinda weird how long it took b4 we knew eva'z last name. i wonder if that's the same reason we don't know luis's last name yet?



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