When I started on my Chinook journey, the breed origin in New England was admittedly a part of the draw for me. I named my first Chinook "Passaconaway" (Conaway) after the famous Abenaki leader, wishing to honor the origins of the dog and respect the people native to the same area — a place I fell in love with the first time I saw it. The name "Bashaba" was a tribute to Conaway based on statements in a few old books about New England History. It was purported to be an Abenaki word that recognized the positive attributes of the original Passaconaway.
My Conaway had a powerful and magical impact on my life - a kindred spirit, a devoted mentor, and a true Emperor of dogs. I am forever grateful that he came into my life. Recognizing him and his impact on my life through my kennel name felt true and right.
While the *intent* was respect and tribute, of course the *impact* when blundering through other languages and cultures is unpredictable. It is unclear if the word "Bashaba" actually means anything, and if so, what, in many of the native languages of the Wabanaki Confederacy. Modern references to it that I can find all stem from colonial writings. Using the name "Bashaba" feels uncomfortable and disrespectful in the context of my clearer understanding of the background of systemic racism and the grave harm that has been done to Native communities through centuries of Western colonialism. I am deeply sorry that my misguided attempt at recognition and respect in fact may have done harm.