Carrying on a Legacy: The Story Behind My Name

Carrying on a Legacy: The Story Behind My Name

My name, Ta Wapaha Ota Win, was given to me by my great grandfather Royal Bull Bear, grandpa Adolf Bull Bear, grandma Marva Bull Bear, and my parents when I was 12 years old. It holds a special significance in my family and is a constant reminder of the legacy I come from.

Before the ceremony where I received my name, I sat with my great grandfather and listened to the stories behind our names. It wasn't until later in life that I truly understood the amazing history and meaning behind Ta Wapaha Ota Win. As a young adult, I had the opportunity to have coffee conversations with my lala Adolf who retold me the story of my name. He shared with me the story of a woman from our past who was a warrior and a leader in our community. She earned many feathers in battle and in life, and her name symbolized strength, resilience, and compassion.

My lala Adolf explained that my name was chosen with intention and had high hopes for me, as well as all his grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was a reminder to do good things for our people and to uphold our Lakota way of life. Although I didn't get to grow up around my great grandfather and grandparents, hearing stories about them fills my heart with pride and joy.

In our culture, names are not chosen by us but are given to us by our family, community leaders, and spiritual leaders. They are earned through our actions and represent our identity, our roots, and our family. It is a way for us to carry on our lineage and honor our ancestors.

My lala Adolf expressed his pride in me for choosing to be sober and for working to help our people. He reminded me that my name was given to me to live up to and to do good things. While I may not be able to fully live up to the original Ta Wapaha Ota Win, I hope to at least make her proud with my actions and choices.

The legacy of my name and the stories behind it inspire me to be a strong, compassionate, and resilient individual, just like the woman from our past who earned many feathers in battle and in life. I will continue to honor my name and strive to do good things for my people and my community.

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