Is it disrespectful for non-Native people to name their children Dakota?

Is it disrespectful for non-Native people to name their children Dakota?

People will have different opinions about this one.

Being Native means different things to each person. There are 573 federally recognized tribes in the lower 48 states, 223 village communities in Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands; each with its own identity, culture, with over 300 languages.

For some, it means that they are descendants of the original people of North America. For others it means a way of life or a way of being; a feeling, how one sees the world and one’s self; a way of interacting with nature, family, and Creator. Native culture in North America, is rich in tradition, history, spirituality, art, economics, and politics.

It’s easy to draw a line in the sand when things are black and white. The grey parts are more challenging. Spend some time thinking about this. Our communities are diverse and include allies and family members who are not indigenous. The name Dakota means ‘allies or friends’, of which we could all use.

It sounds like you think non-Indigenous people using Indigenous names might bother you. Take some time to think about why that may be. Is this something that will drive you to take action? Reach out to others and get the conversation going…

Auntie Manda

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