Alaska Federation of Natives Honors Senator Akaka

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U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) is honored at a Naming Ceremony during a Native Conference on legal empowerment for Indigenous peoples. Here, Akaka is given the name “Jín da aadí” meaning “Helper” in Tlingit. Akaka also received names in two other Alaska Native cultures – “Akumleq” meaning “Chair” in Yupik, and “Ilaagudax” meaning “Helper” in Unangam Tunuu, the Aleut Language.

The cultural significance of giving names differs among the Alaskan Natives cultures. Tlingit names are owned by clans and have been passed down through generations for thousands of years. Names are given to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Native society. In receiving these names, Senator and Mrs. Akaka also become part of an extended family network. Tlingit names bestow a symbolic immortality to individuals since succeeding generations will carry these names.

The full press release is available on Senator Akaka’s website: http://1.usa.gov/m1YZUl

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