Greta Thunberg’s Tribal Name

November 19, 2019

Woman who came from the Heavens.

Has a ring.

Bismark Tribune:

When she and Iron Eyes finished speaking, Sioux spiritual leader Arvol Looking Horse bestowed a Lakota name upon Thunberg, “maphiyata echiyatan hin win,” which means “woman who came from the heavens.”

Former tribal chairman Jesse Taken Alive suggested the name, telling Thunberg “You have awakened the world. We stand with you.”

Thunberg’s visit to Standing Rock comes after she traveled to South Dakota, visiting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation over the weekend and Rapid City on Monday.

Indigenized Energy, a nonprofit responsible for the new solar farm in Cannon Ball, hosted her North Dakota visit.

9 Responses to “Greta Thunberg’s Tribal Name”

  1. redskylite Says:

    Awesome, that’s one award Greta won’t turn down and treasure in her memories, to be recognized by the ancestors of the folks who roamed the lands freely pre 1492, before the Europeans brought them smallpox, and industrial pollution.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      There was some common ground, though: Second-class citizenship for women.

      [Sorry, just don’t like virtue-izing peoples just for being victims.]

      • jimbills Says:

        You shouldn’t get a thumbs down, your comment isn’t unfair, but be careful there. Women’s roles varied dramatically between the tribes. Some tribes were matriarchal, like the Iroquois. The Sioux were much more war-like, and therefore had more rigid gender roles, but compared to U.S. women in the 19th century, they actually had more status and rights within their own societies. Contact with Europeans also changed many tribal cultures. The fur trade created a system where men, as the primary hunters, became basically the “bread winners” within their societies, and that changed the power dynamics.

        There’s a lot of stereotyping of the tribes. Some of it is warranted, but a lot is not (both pro and con), especially when understood from their own context. The Sioux today aren’t the best in women’s rights, although a few Sioux women have leadership roles. There is also a terrible epidemic of women rapes and murders on reservations right now (many unsolved, but those solved often have white assailants).

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          It’s just that I have encountered—probably as an overcompensation for the perception and treatment by colonizers—a tendency to romanticize minority cultures. Too often tradition (in any culture) becomes an excuse to avoid change for the better, or to restrict the freedom of the young to choose their own paths.

          Oh, and I do recognize the Iroquois as having one of the more respectable social philosophies.

          • jimbills Says:

            Sure, the “noble savage”. Europeans have over-romanticized the tribes to large degrees, thinking it helps, but it’s really just another stereotype that ends up alienating them.

            I’m mixed on your other part. Culture is the set of social norms as well as language that brings cohesiveness to a given set of people. Once that is lost, the cohesiveness is also lost. If, for instance, the tribes fully adopted Western ideas and culture, at what point does their former culture die, and should it?

            All cultures, including ours, have positives and negatives. It might actually be impossible to have a culture of only positives. In the end, people are just people – often flawed, often quite lovely.

            But given that, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong for us as belonging to the U.S. culture to judge another culture on certain things. For instance, we can judge a culture like the Taliban with their treatment of women. At some point, wrong is just wrong.

            And mixed up in all of this is the fact that the Indian tribal cultures changed dramatically with European contact. 90% of their populations died from Old World diseases – it’s impossible that the pre-Columbian cultures smoothly and continuously moved into the period after that. The introduction of horses caused many shifts, especially with the Plains Indians. Forced migration to the reservations, trade with Europeans, forced cultural adoptions, and on and on, have also had their affect.

            These have had many impacts, and many of them are negative. If one is familiar with the stories on the treatment of women on some (not all) reservations, it’s not pretty. “Tradition” in these cases might just be the affects of poverty and despair.

      • redskylite Says:

        Victims they may have been, but they are still a force, they still survive, and who knows what their future may bring. I hope they prosper in our future.

        “It was rare in the 1960s to have a political movement led by a Native woman and a Native man, and it would come to symbolise indigenous feminism. Both made the deliberate choice to bring their families with them as a constant reminder of the true goal of the movement: To protect the next generation.”

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