Ways of Life

Baby Naming

Traditionally, when a child was born in a chief’s house, he was given a Nisg̱a’a name immediately. The chief would invite both sides of the family to dinner (the chief’s birth family and his wife’s birth family), and he would present the child’s name.

A set of twin boys were once born to a woman in the Nass valley, and the chief of her tribe felt moved to give special attention to their naming. He held a feast and he called on the father’s family to be ready to “call” the names chosen, according to the traditional protocol for naming ceremonies at large community feasts. For each son, one chief and one matriarch called the name, and they were then given expensive tokens for performing their duties.

Decades later, the mother of the twins still described the honour she felt for receiving this special attention, and her sons held their names with pride even when they became adults.