Castun: The Oglala Lakota Naming Ceremony

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Courtesy of Sung' manitu-Isna (www.1onewolf.com/lakota)



Welcome to the world, wakanyeja! Wakanyeja is the Lakota word for child, and it comes from wakan, which means sacred, and yeja, which means gift. Children are considered sacred gifts from Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery, and they are honored as sacred from their birth. The Oglala sacred naming ceremony is called the catsun, from the root "caje," meaning name, and "tun," meaning "to give birth to."
At birth, Oglala Lakota children would receive a name based on their order in the family. For example, if the child were the first-born male, he would be called "Caske". If the child were the third-born female in the family, she would be called "Hepistanna". This birth-order naming tradition is not as universally practiced today as it once was.
The child typically would not receive his or her sacred name until much later. That name was bestowed upon the child by a spiritual intermediary - an Oglala elder or a shaman.
As a newborn Oglala Lakota, it is fitting that you take on an appropriate Oglala name according to your birth order. Look at the chart below and determine your birth name according to Oglala tradition. Write your Oglala name on the Webquest worksheet. When you are done, click on the link at the bottom of the page. It is now time to learn about your roots - your people's experiences and ancient creation myths.

Oglala Lakota Birth Order Names
Birth Order
Male Name
Female Name
First Born
Caske
Wi-tokape
Second Born
Hepan
Hapan
Third Born
Hepi
Hepistanna
Fourth Born
Catan
Wanska
Fifth Born
Hake
Wi-hake
Sixth Born
Hakata
Hakata
Seventh Born
Cekpa
Cekpa

Next: Oglala Lakota History