bulletin board
events calendar
business directory

best friend
news briefs



Heart of the Methow Powwow

Tribal elders, family members and others present at the three-day Heart of the Methow Powwow in Twisp were asked to bear witness at two special naming ceremonies held Saturday (Aug. 18).

“All tribes nationwide – we have the same things, the same ceremonies, to pass these names on,” said emcee Grover Topaum, a well-known artist and teacher who lives in Omak. Once a family passes on a name, the bearer “carries the responsibility for that name,” he added.

The families prepared for the ceremony by spreading a blanket on the ground and covering it with gifts. A tulle mat was spread for those being named to stand upon. A song was sung. And then, as everyone watched, Spencer Martin, a spiritual leader from Omak, explained the ceremony in which a grandfather and two of his grandchildren were given the Indian names of their ancestors.

“In our old ways they say these names are coming back to life again today... Today is a celebration,” Martin said. He said families get together and determine whether the person who is to be named has the traits of those whose name they’ll share. He then pronounced the names and their meanings.

Phillip Grunlose, 75, received the name of his maternal grandfather, Koxit George, a cattleman in Okanogan County whose Indian name was Lahoont (spelled here as it sounds, not as it is properly written in native language). Lahoont means big heart, to cry, and typifies compassion. “I feel honored and blessed to have that name,” Grunlose said.

His granddaughter, Jaissa Grunlose, 14, received a spiritual name through her great-grandmother, Maddie Grunlose, that means “using dirt to dust themselves” or to smudge as in to bless or purify.

Grandson Phillip Flett, 10, who is the fourth Phillip in his family lineage, received a name that means “good heart” that came through his grandfather’s family.

Gift-giving and personal congratulations followed the naming. Martin asked that everyone in attendance take something from the blanket full of gifts “to help this family remember this day.”

On a day of music, dancing and abundant food, a second naming ceremony was scheduled for late afternoon. At that time Crystal Smith and her daughter, Aleeka, were to receive their Indian names, according to elder Mary Marchand, who is Aleeka's grandmother.

Numerous members of Marchand’s family were at the powwow, including her brother Louie Miller, who is the last Methow Band descendant living in the Methow Valley. His home is in the lower valley near Pateros.

  (click images to enlarge)

see our previous story >>


Have a comment? >>