I don’t remember where I first heard about Canadian pop singer Elisapie Isaac, but her name definitely caught my attention.
So I did a bit of research on Aboriginal/First Nations names. Turns out that Elisapie is the Inuktitut version of Elizabeth. (Inuktitut is one main Inuit languages of Canada.)
Other Inuktitut names include Alasie, the Inuktitut version of Alice, and Aputik, which means “snow.”
Here’s more about Inuktitut names from Ann Meekitjuk Hanson (b. 1946), the former Commissioner of Nunavut:
Traditionally, it was up to elders to name babies after relatives or favorite people, and many given names had long been used — names like Aniqmiuq, Annogakuluuk, Annogaq, Arnaquq, Kimalu, Aitii, Maatu, Quvianatukuluk, Makivik, Yutai, Aiuula, Suu, Yugayugausiq, Arnaguatsaaq, Angusimaajuq, Qiilabaq, Nuiijaut, Ikilluaq, and thousands more. When the missionaries came, some could not pronounce these ancient names properly. They gave our people names from the Bible — Joanasie, from John, Jamiesie (James), Olutie (Ruth), Miali (Mary), Salamonie (Solomon), Noah, Jonah, Ipeelie (Abel), Ilisapie (Elizabeth), and so on. Among ourselves, we always used our ancient names. So when I was baptized, I became Annie, but to my parents and elders, I was Lutaaq, Pilitaq, Palluq, or Inusiq.
Finally, here are a few other Aboriginal names/definitions I discovered along the way:
- Anjij, the Mi’kmaq version of Annie
- Isapoinhkyaki, means “singing crow woman” in Siksika (Blackfoot)
- Katsitsanóron, means “precious flower” in Mohawk
- Niigaanwewidam, means “sound that comes before speech” in Anishinaabe (Ojibway)
- Pilip, the Mi’kmaq version of Philip
- Sosê, the Mohawk version of Joseph
- Tehoronianhen, means “covered in clouds” in Mohawk
Do you know of any other Inuktitut baby names?