The Hiaki word omtiteam can be broken up into two parts: omti-, meaning “angry”, and
team, meaning “names”. So, omtiteam literally translates to “angry names”, but it means something more like “nicknames”. The Hiaki are no strangers to cracking jokes with each other, and omtiteam are one way to go about poking lighthearted fun at your peers. For example, suppose one day you have the misfortune of falling face-first into the snow in front of all your friends. Then, you might be given Sapa Wechia, or “Snow-Fallen” as an omtitea. If the name sticks, your entire family might come to be known as Sapa Wechiam, or “the Snow-Fallens”. Or perhaps there’s a family known for always buying old, run-down cars. They might be given the name Karo Moeram, or “Old Cars”. A famous omtitea belonged to José María Leyva, better known as the Hiaki general Cajeme, or Kaa He’eme, meaning “one who doesn’t drink”. For a time, José María Leyva had a ranch near Ciudad Obregón, but there was never enough water for him and his animals to drink, so he was given Kaa He’eme as an omtitea, reflecting his fortitude and strength in enduring thirst well. Thus he became known as Cajeme to non-Hiaki speakers.

Omtiteam aren’t meant to truly hurt someone’s feelings, but if an omtitea is really bothering somebody, you might hear the phrase Kia hekapo aa simtuane, which means “just let it go in the wind”.

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