A new blogger friend Yayo asked me a question the other day and I’d like to answer it.
First let me say I love her writing and you would too. Grace from an illness found here: http://wp.me/p5nd8u-4X was the first thing I saw of hers. I loved her style and the hope that just poured out of her words. Go check her out, you won’t be sad you did.
She asked me about my handle aghostdancer, my name Michelle Styles and my Lakota name Kuwa Sumanitu Taka. So I’ll start with the last first.
Kuwa Sumanitu Taka is my Lakota name. It was given to me by my elders and means pursuing wolf. It’s a warriors name because they saw a warriors spirit in me. The things they said they saw where these.
They said I had a sharp intelligence, deep connection with my instincts. I am often driven more by instincts than thought alone. The wolf will follow its instinct; combined with wit a wolf is formidable. They saw an appetite for freedom and a lack of trust in others not of my pack.
They told me I would do great things in the hunt of life. They warned me of my distrust being a liability in some things. I was told to trust my instincts, follow my heart to freedom and above all never forget the great intellect given me by the Great Spirit.
It is important to note at the time they gave me my name I hadn’t been raped yet. My uneasiness around people not my pack (family) was simple. I was deaf and there were communication barriers I was still learning to overcome. But the name fits.
At the time of my naming (age 12) I was an avid free hand climber, surfer and all round nature girl. I loved the wild and wanted nothing more than to be outside. I already could read lips in 2 languages, could read and write 3, spoke sign and about 250 simple English words.
You can see my nature to seek freedom, intellect and distrust (shyness) because of language barriers why I got my name. The wolf. They added pursuing because they saw great strength in my spirit and a desire to right the wrongs of the world. They saw a warrior and honored me as such.
I do find it amazing they knew even then I’d need a pack to find myself, my place and my strength. But that’s a whole story by itself.
Well my given English name is Michelle. Because of my past and the fact that 4 of 5 men who raped me still live and breathe I don’t give my real last name. The wolf is using her instinct to protect herself to some extent. So why the name Styles?
Blame Sarah (the woman who would become my wife) for that. She always said I had my own Style in all things. When I started writing she would say you haven’t found a single writing style yet. So I adopted the pen name of Michelle Styles. Because I had multiple Styles of writing at the time.
Not very exciting but that’s how and why the name Michelle Styles.
A Ghost Dancer
My people always believed in one god. The Great Spirit. We danced to commune with the Great Spirit and to pray. We prayed for rain, a good hunt, a good harvest, the sick and all manner of needs. The dancers where called ghost dancers and the dance was a ghost dance. Because we danced for the Great Spirit and a spirit is a ghost.
I have always loved that part of my people. Gentle and at one with nature which was a gift from the Great Spirit. We built our faith on a fatherly relationship with a loving Spirit who promised eternal life to his faithful. The faith of my people closely resembled Christianity and is the sole reason so many Lakota converted so easily.
I love the idea of the ghost dance. Being outside in gods arena. It’s just you and god under the sun or moon communing as one. Saying prayers for the benefit of others, the pack, or the tribe.
It’s the freedom to express yourself in such a personal way with god. A personal dance and expression of love for all his gifts. Nature has always reminded me of my heavenly father and his abundant love for me.
So to honor my heritage, and because of the personal and free nature of communing with the creator I choose a ghost dancer as much to remind myself to pray often as to honor my ancestors.
Someday I’ll write about the trials in getting my native name. For now this is where I get my names.
My dad calls me Kitayel (Little one). I have used that as a pen name before as well. But we all have pet names.
So to my readers where did you get your name? What does it mean?