Sunday, May 4, 2014

How Christianity Separated My Family

     Many people claimed to have benefited when Christianity was introduced to their town/country/family.  That was about a long time ago.  Not many of them talk about what disadvantages they got out of it.  Not in my own experience, but my ancestry, have one example of a disadvantage... when they were given christian names.

     My father's father used to be named Dawayen.  No first name, no last name, just plain Dawayen "son of Gatudan"  That is how people of that community were named.  No existence of a last name as it was unnecessary.  People live in small communities before and everyone knows each other.  No census nor birth certificates were needed.  The point is, people only had first names.

      He had a brother named Atiteo "son of Gatudan".  They have and always been known to be brothers.  No questions.  My dad would have been called Lucio, son of Dawayen, son of Gatudan.  And the children of Atiteo would have been called the same.  It may seem complicated at this age.  Same as when reading the Bible and names get passed from one person to another, one might have to identify the character by his/her parents or ancestry.  And people of this age might think to have a hard time knowing who is related to whom... It wasn't much of a problem back then.  The thing is, there's no paper that could disprove your blood relationships.

     But that was until outsiders came to enforce... ahem... introduce Christianity to my ancestors.  Grandpa Dawayen was mandated...ahem...given a Christian name, Luis.  And his brother Atiteo, Francis.  And their father got a Christian name too, I guess, if he had lived that time.  So what happened to Dawayen and Atiteo?  It became their last name.  So that's Luis Dawayen and Francis Atiteo.  These are now written on paper and "respected as true".  Their children will, from then on, carry the names Dawayen or Atiteo as their family name.

     Get the picture?  Because of this, the two true, biological brothers now have papers that call them otherwise.  Imagine their father having his own family name that's different from his sons, hence, making them three unrelated to each other, on-paper.  It was not easy for me to comprehend how the Atiteo family were related to me, when I was a kid.  Having a clan reunion recently, I felt that the Atiteo side didn't stand out much, as the event was dominated by us Dawayens.  It's funny that just a simple paper could change the relationship of people.  Even brothers and their parents become legally unrelated to each other.

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