An honour bestowed (Continued)

A couple of years after my husband was given his Indian name we were invited to another banquet. Chief Louis Miranda was passing down his chieftainship to Phillip Joe.

The dinner was held in the basement of St. Paul’s Church in North Vancouver on November 4, 1973. It is one of the oldest churches in B.C. We were taken to the head table, where they always put us. Jessie Miranda, Chief Louis’ wife, sat next to Mickey, then me, then two non Indians, the in-laws of Lenny George, Chief Dan’s son.

The woman said to me, “Isn’t it wonderful, they are giving us Indian names.”  I replied that it was indeed an honour.

We went to a leather class and made these outfits that we wore when we were with any of our friends on art displays. Mickey made his pants and vests, but I made his gloves and my own dress and vest.

At the other end of the room, they were preparing for the naming ceremony. They laid out a blanket on the floor, and put two chairs on it. Then four people headed for our table, two of them to lead each of the recipients to the chairs. They had to pass me to get to the two they were after… but they stopped at me, instead! They took me, and the other woman, and led us to the two chairs. They tied a kerchief around my head, then put a blanket around me, and gave me my Indian name. Hautsqualwon. It means a person who helps people. Mickey and I were now both adopted into the Squamish Nation!

By this time I was crying with happiness, and I couldn’t stop. I had to go around the room giving kerchiefs, money and blankets to some of those that had witnessed the name giving. There was no written record, so the witnesses were to remember what had taken place.

.

Chief Louis Miranda and his wife, Jessie, paid for all the gifts that I gave away! They knew by the tears I shed that I fully appreciated what they did for me.

1967 - Ruth Seward, Jean James, Sally Paull & Norma McGuire

A few years later, their daughter, Normaline, knit a Cowichan sweater for Mickey, and a Cowichan poncho for me. She wasn’t able to do them for the naming ceremony as she had been ill.

Chief Louis Miranda was one of the finest people that I ever met. And I feel it was a great privilege to know him.

*

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5 thoughts on “An honour bestowed (Continued)

  1. A beautiful story – I can just imagine your emotions being so fully accepted by our wonderful First Nations people. I loved seeing these pictures today, Norma!

  2. Heather and Carol, Thanks for stopping by and for your much appreciated comments. We spent many happy times with these friends, and learned a lot from their wisdom. Let’s have that cup of tea. I’ll pour.

    Ra, Thank you! I am so proud of you three boys. You have achieved more fame, but each of you is a treasure in your own right. I am proud of the man that you are. I love you. Mom.

  3. Sorry Norma that I was unable to stop by yesterday for that cup of tea but I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed this story.Like Carol said we are fortunate & enriched by the diversity of cultures in this country.Keep shining my friend!

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