So when you give someone a name, you're giving them part of your soul. And when you accept a name, you're both accepting the soul given and you're giving part of your own. So you're connected in ways that are profound and meaningful and communicated by the very word which the English translation 'namesake' doesn't really cover.
~ David Treuer, translator and author, on the program "Language and Meaning: An Ojibwe Story"
Pushcart Prize winner David Treuer is an associate professor of English at the University of Minnesota, a novelist, essayist, story-teller, and translator. He is helping to compile the first practical grammar of the Ojibwe language. When not in Minneapolis, he spends his time on Leech Lake Reservation, in northern Minnesota. Treurer is an Ojibwe and grew up on the reservation.
Go here to listen to the fascinating "Language and Meaning" program in which Treuer "describes an unfolding experience of how language forms what makes us human."