In 2001, at a camp at Moose Lake in northern Manitoba, I was given the name Kîsikakohp and told a name is a medicine and a teacher.
Kîsikakohp, translates from Cree to English as Skyblanket.
Not long after my naming ceremony, I had a dream in which I was high above a forest, the treetops looking like the pattern in a carpet, a river a silvery brown thread running through it. At this great height, the sun passed a caress across my back like a warm welcome. The moon, too, circled by behind me, inviting me to turn around, to look outward into dark space lit with stars.
The dream seemed to be an explanatory gift, telling me my name marked the space between two realities, the skin between inside and out, the line between comfort and cold. For someone who struggles with issues of identity and belonging, my name has often been a comfort, reminding me that it can be possible to locate myself, even when feeling I had no place.
So why use it here? Skyblanket.
For starters, it’s beautiful. When I tell it to people, it makes them smile.
And in this instance, it names a domain where I am free to take journeys, gain strength, and play at things worth learning.
Skyblanket. Kîsikakohp. Medicine and teacher.