Illustration by Paul Mann
One day my wife and I shared with our young granddaughter, Savannah, how her last name, Echo Hawk, came to be. We wanted to tell her about her Native American heritage and the story of her great-great-great grandfather Echo Hawk.
Echo Hawk’s family belonged to the Pawnee tribe. When Echo Hawk was first born, his father named him Big Crow. But when Big Crow became a young man, the tribal elders wanted to give him a new name.
They had watched him grow, and they noticed all the good things he did. He was a brave warrior for his tribe. He was also kind and giving, not only to his own tribe but to other tribes as well.
A hawk is a very good hunter, just like Big Crow. The hawk is also a bird that does not sing, and Big Crow did not talk about his good deeds.
Because other members of the tribe talked about the good things Big Crow did, his deeds were “echoed” throughout the village. So the elders changed his name to Echo Hawk, or “the hawk whose deeds are echoed.”
My granddaughter is proud of her family’s heritage. She wants to be like Echo Hawk by helping others and having the courage to do what is right. She wants to make Grandfather Echo Hawk proud that she carries his name.
Your name is very special too. Ask your parents and grandparents about your name and the people who are your ancestors. Learning about them can help you choose the right path. Then your grandparents will be proud that you carry their name.
Ask someone to read Helaman chapter 5 in the Book of Mormon with you to learn about two boys whose father gave them special names to help them remember who they were.