This is how my names came to be!
Russia had a transatlantic slave trade agreement and use Cuba as the last stop before the America’s. So there are a LOT of Cubans with Russian names. Plus mi padre liked the name 🙂
My father wanted to make sure I was able to carry forward and protect our family via the energy of this name. Alvaro means nobel guardian and is a common Cuban name.
My fathers mother was Blackfoot Indian and it was important to him that my name carried the energy of a warrior, sophistication and diplomacy.
With a proud and rich history, the Seneca were the largest of six Native American nations which comprised the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations, a democratic government that pre-dates the United States Constitution.
The Seneca Nation of Indians currently has a total enrolled population of nearly 8,000 citizens. The territories are generally rural, with several residential areas. Many Seneca citizens live off-territory, some are located across the country, as well as in other countries. Off-territory residents comprise nearly 1/2 of the citizenship.
The Seneca are also known as the “Keeper of the Western Door,” for the Seneca are the westernmost of the Six Nations. At the time of the formation of the Iroquois League, the original five nations of the Iroquois League occupied large areas of land in the Northeast USA and Southeast Canada.
In the Seneca language we are known as O-non-dowa-gah, (pronounced: Oh-n’own-dough-wahgah) or “Great Hill People.”
The historical Seneca occupied territory throughout the Finger Lakes area in Central New York, and in the Genesee Valley in Western New York, living in longhouses on the riversides. The villages were well fortified with wooden stake fences, just one of the many industrious undertakings.
The people relied heavily on agriculture for food, growing the Three Sisters: corn, beans, and squash, which were known as Deohako,(pronounced: Jo- hay- ko) “the life supporters.” In addition to raising crops, the early Seneca were also subsistence hunters and fishers.
The Senecas were also highly skilled at warfare, and were considered fierce adversaries. But the Seneca were also renowned for their sophisticated skills at diplomacy and oratory and their willingness to unite with the other original five nations to form the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations.
My father also wanted to make sure I was to be humble. So here is the story of Black cloud. Long ago before the white man came to the land, there was an Indian brave named Black Cloud. The Great Spirit had blessed Black Cloud with many gifts. Black Cloud was the strongest, fastest, handsomest brave in all the land. His voice was wonderful to hear and his skill with the bow amazing to see. Tales of his greatest spread far and wide until no brave dared challenge Black Cloud in battle or in sport. Black Cloud did not listen to all the praise, but instead walked humbly and was always kind. The Great Spirit looked down and smiled at Black Cloud for he was good. Then one day Black Cloud met a serpent in the forest. The serpent spoke to him. “Black Cloud you are wonderful in all you do. You should be a chief and rule over all the people”. Black Cloud listened to the serpent for he liked what it said. “Tell me more oh wise serpent”, he said. The snake replied, “There is none like you on earth or in heaven. Why you are like the Great Spirit and should be worshiped like he is.” Black Cloud listened and believed the serpent. He left the forest and returned to his village. He immediately began demanding of his neighbors that they bow when he walked by. Then he told them that his normal chores were beneath his greatness and that they should do them for him. If anyone disobeyed, Black Cloud would hit him or her and force them to do as he said.
Black Cloud began to dress in fine skins that he made others make for him. He began to go down to the lake daily and look at himself in the reflection from the still water. “I am the greatest man alive”, he would shout. “No one is greater than I in heaven or on earth!”
The Great Spirit heard Black Cloud and called down to him, “Black Cloud why do you say these things, what has happened to you?” “The serpent in the forest made me see how great I am”, said Black Cloud. “He opened my eyes to the fact that I am as great as you”.
The Great Spirit was not pleased with Black Cloud. “Because you have listened to the serpent, the teller of lies, and believe yourself to be so great, you have dishonored your people and yourself. I gave you your talents and I can take them away. So you will learn and be a lesson for all generations, I will take away you strength and your good looks. “With that Black Cloud was transformed into a big bellied man and his face grew out of proportion until he was quite funny to look at. Black Cloud looked at himself in the still water and jumped back ashamed. “Grant me one favor oh Great Spirit. Turn me to wood that I may not hear the laughter of all those who will see me.” So the Great Spirit granted his wish and Black Cloud became a wooden statue. Some children came up and found the statue. The Great Spirit called to them. “This is Black Cloud who was great, but whose pride blinded him to the ways of the Great Spirit. Take the statue and play a game with it. Beginning at the morning meal, hide it in each other’s teepees. If you find it in your teepee run it to someone else’s. Do not push or fight while playing the game and always take Black Cloud willingly. This will teach you to walk humbly and treat all with kindness. The game must stop before the morning meal on the following day. Whoever has Black Cloud when the game ends must sing a song of Black Cloud and his dishonor. Do not allow your fathers to play the game. They will want to, for all fathers are children at heart, but you must not allow them to for if they touch the statue or interfere with the game, they may become like Black Cloud and lose sight of the ways of the Great Spirit.” So the children obeyed the Great Spirit, and played the game, and when their father’s tried to join the game, they would tell them what the Great Spirit said. This is the legend of Black Cloud and the game that bears his name. Remember always to walk in the way of the Great Spirit. Treat all others as you wish to be treated. Walk humbly and the Great Spirit will be pleased.
Though this name of Snowden is clever, my Cuban grandfather looked in the phone book and randomly picked this name so that our Cuban family could assimilate easier into white America.
Robert Ferguson in English surnames attributes the name Snodin, to an Old Norse word used early in the British Isles which meant, “smoothe or without hair”. Samuel L. Brown agrees and adds that when the Old Englishword “hyll” (hill) was added to it, it gave rise to a place named Snowden Hill in Yorkshire, England. The supposition is that natives of this place came to be called Snowden. Migrations of natives from the vicinty of the Mt. Snowden in Wales also assumed the name and brought it into common usage. While some authorities agree that in some instances natives of the Mt. Snowden area may have been called Snowden, the name was found early in wide use in localities far removed from the Welsh mountain: “there were early hamlets called Upper and Lower Snowden in West Yorks, Snowden Close in Cumberland, and Snowden Pool in Salap.