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View Poll Results: Is the term Squaw derogatory?
Yes, derogatory. 48 96.00%
No, not derogatory. 1 2.00%
Unknown or Un-sure 1 2.00%
Voters: 50. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-12-2005, 07:06 PM   #1
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Real Meaning of Squaw?

Where you came from is the term Squaw considered derogatory?

Where can I find documentation on the derogatory meaning of Squaw? Or whats your belief? or teaching. Gary Charwood happens to be a good friend of mine & to many others. I said I'd try to help him.

This was an Editorial from Grand Rapids Hearld Review August 10, 2005 Please give me your thoughts.


No evidence to prove name is derogatory
Herald-Review
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 10th, 2005 10:21:17 AM


Editor:
President Thomas Jefferson wrote, “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstance, become his own.”
On July 18 School District 318 School Board met at Squaw Lake Elementary in Squaw Lake. A discussion about a name change was held in Squaw Lake (population 99) with approximately 40 local residents in attendance. The discussion was held with the school board and the community to see if the name of the school is embarrassing and a wrongful term.
0n July 20, the Herald-Review headline story read, "Squaw Lake: Tradition or degradation?” The question, is the word "squaw" derogatory? The Herald-Review missed the point that the overwhelming majority in attendance, approximately 90 percent are proud of our name and do not feel that our school or town name be changed.
The Herald-Review in its prior issue headline stated, "S Lake Elementary School requests new name." In the article, staff writer, Britta Arendt, wrote, "general sentiment at the school was that the name was derogatory." Wouldn't it be fair to report in the H-Review, general sentiment at the school was the name may be derogatory? By the way, how does it feel to be called H-Review?
In opposition to the word "squaw" attending was local resident Gary Charwood and his daughter. In addition, to this elite group were three non locals. Native American Gary Charwood spoke of his special rights as a two-class citizen. He spoke about his ancestors never having a say in the name of the town. He told of how they were forced to wear beads on their knees while scrubbing floors.
Mr. Charwood, and your "elite" group, here is a challenge. Let us put the word "squaw" out front of the smoke screen and prove to the community, school board and our governments that truly the word is derogatory. I have yet to know of anyone that can show any documentation that the word "squaw" is as of such. After serving on committees and researching the word all I have found is political prestige on this matter.
Let's vote on the word. The 15th Amendment guarantees that, "The Right of Citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race." Further, Section 2 provides that "The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to the Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in several States." Are those who live within reservation boundaries no longer citizens of the state?
There has not been one piece of evidence to prove the word "squaw" is derogatory. Is the "elite few" trying to make the word "squaw" derogatory? School board, please listen, "When a train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism."
Prove it, let the people vote on it, or forget it.

Glen Heitland
Squaw Lake
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Old 08-12-2005, 10:43 PM   #2
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Main Entry: squaw
Pronunciation: 'skwo
Function: noun
Etymology: Massachuset squa, ussqua woman
1 often offensive : an American Indian woman
2 usually disparaging : WOMAN, WIFE

"One doesn't want to get overly PC about it, but the protesters have a point when they say special terms for minority women are inherently demeaning. Think about it. Negress. Jewess. Sixty years ago these terms were in common use. Now they make your flesh creep. Next picture some pot-bellied slob in a cowboy hat: "Why, if it ain't a injun and his squaw." In 1967, 143 place names containing the word nig** were changed to Negro by order of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Squaw Valley may not be in the same league as N**ger Lake on the offensiveness scale. But it's up there with Pickaninny Creek. "

--CECIL ADAMS

See also:
http://www.main.nc.us/wncceib/squaw.htm
Maybe this will help. It took all of 3 minutes to find these. No evidence indeed!

Last edited by Dakota Wica'hpi Ina; 08-12-2005 at 11:03 PM.. Reason: Gonna get moderated any ways
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:03 PM   #3
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I really want an honest answer from the people of pws.com (ayes.. I know how to surf the net! LOL!) Thank you Dakota! You and I do not need evidence but above you will read at the end of paragraph 3.....

"Mr. Charwood, and your "elite" group, here is a challenge. Let us put the word "squaw" out front of the smoke screen and prove to the community, school board and our governments that truly the word is derogatory. I have yet to know of anyone that can SHOW ANY DOCUMENTATION that the word "squaw" is as of such. After serving on committees and researching the word all I have found is political prestige on this matter."


FYI: I also forgot to mention the newspaper is printed out of Grand Rapids, MN I apologize for not mentioning that in my first entry.
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:11 PM   #4
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So I gave you some documentation. I'm in agreement with the link I posted. I think they would not likeit if they changed the name of the high school to "Ho" high. Or WASP elementary. I could go on, but it's just rude.
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:31 PM   #5
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Aye....hmmm.....I like the following part best!

" 4.When people ask "why now?" explain that
Through communication and education American Indian people have come to understand the derogatory meaning of the word. American Indian women claim the right to define ourselves as women and we reject the offensive term squaw. "
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Old 08-13-2005, 02:33 AM   #6
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Do you really want to know????

Okayyyyyy well here it is. I am going to put it blunt, straight to the point, but in a respectful way to not offend any of my native sisters out there.

In a galaxy far far away....... :D Back in the days of the French corruption and the onslaught of the French massacres throughout the native communites back then, they used to 'scalp' us. Not just our scalps but our whole entire bodies. Back in the days to parade around a head, arm, leg, scalp, even male and female parts was not uncommon, this was considered like trophies to them. Then, in a sick 'silence of the lamb' way, they would make things like pouches or what not out of native mens well 'sacks' and headbands out of native womens private parts. Anyhow, the term squaw comes from the meaning of this certain native womans part. I hope you get the idea because I am not going to spell it out for ya.

I have also found a statement by our sister native activist Susan Harjo:

"The word ‘squaw’ is an Algonquin [sic] Indian word meaning v******, and that’ll give you an idea of what the French and British fur trappers were calling all Indian women, and I hope no one ever uses that term again"

I hope this helps you determine the outcome of using the word 'squaw' again. It is a very deragatory term and most women will find it offensive if they ever hear that word spoken around them. So don't be surprised if you get that one 'indian woman' look if you say that around a native woman. Yet alone get knocked on the side of the head....LOL
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Old 08-13-2005, 04:03 PM   #7
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I think you should read the discussion we had on this last year... there were alot of really great points given.

http://www.powwows.com/gathering/sho...ing+word+squaw

I also find it interesting that at the same time you've asked about this.. this was a commentary at Bizarre News...

Quote:
"'Squaw' has a perfectly acceptable definition..." perfectly
acceptable??? Why is it so hard to believe what the word
really means? We all know the other terms that are used for
people that are not white. N*****, towel heads, s**cs, I
could go on and on..why is this word not considered racist
also? If the Algonquian wants to accept this racist remark
then that is their decision, the majority of Indians are not
in agreement. --RedCloud
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Last edited by Blackbear; 08-13-2005 at 04:05 PM.. Reason: quote did'nt naturally edit undesireable words
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Old 08-13-2005, 04:06 PM   #8
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Nezbah..I think you might be mixing up the meaning of squaw with the where the term redskin came from.
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Old 08-13-2005, 08:59 PM   #9
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I also found a law that was passed in 1995 in MN about Geographical locations/sites only. The governor ordered all geographical sites be changed that contain the S word. I believe this in theory says the S word is considered to most as derogatory.

I guess I don't understand the big issues others put up? If it offends so many wouldn't the obvious suggestion be to make a change??

Are there some who don't find this term derogatory?? I am very interested in knowing both sides. Having all sides of the issues is pertinent in making a sound decision.
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackbear
Nezbah..I think you might be mixing up the meaning of squaw with the where the term redskin came from.


Well, i'd say contact Ms Susan Harjo since it was her quote that was stated. She uses it in her plight to eliminate the use of the word SQUAW. She has also headed the plights to eliminate the use of deragatory names in the MASCOT issues across america. Since she is one our main native women activists I would hope to think she'd know what she is talking about. I know her information is highly researched before she goes out to fight the use of such derogatory names. I have much respect for our native women activists and leaders.

However, I learned most of my information from my gramma and other women elders. I never disagree with them. *S*. Kinda how I learn bout our history and traditions...... from elders. :D. I have mad respect for them because I believe we would never be here to teach our children without our elders teachings.

HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR ELDER TODAY??

:d :d :d :d

But no disrespect to you as we all have our different teachings and learnings. I am just glad we will ALL benefit from this and I don't really think there is going to be a TRUE TRUE definite answer. Because if you think about it the translations back in those days were just .....wayyy out of wack. Look at how some of our native words are taken out of context and meaning just so that the white people can make sense of it themselves.....LOL. That's what it seems to be lately is how the whites tried to interpret our languages and ended up with some pretty funky stuff. Sooooo keep researching....... thats what makes us smarter and more educated.
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Old 08-14-2005, 01:20 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=Nezbah]Okayyyyyy well here it is. I am going to put it blunt, straight to the point, but in a respectful way to not offend any of my native sisters out there.

THAT is EXACTLY what I was taught, and I despise the word. To me it's no better than being called the C**t word.
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Old 08-14-2005, 04:31 AM   #12
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Nezbah.. I love to read Susan Harjo and I have alot of respect for her, but I don't agree with every thing she says, nor do I believe everything she says. What is funny about the whole squaw word thing is that a couple of white guys were the first to come to the conclusion that the word meant vagina... they told that to a few indian activists who preached it out and then come to find out later, a couple of linguists say that it's impossible for it to mean that and the real meaning was originally what it was thought... woman/young woman. HOWEVER, in the conversation we had on this here (of which I posted a link to) , because it has been USED as a derogatory term for so long it still has the derogatory meaning behind it. Kinda like how faggot/fag does'nt exactly mean gay, it means a bundle of sticks or in slang terms in england a cigarette. But it's been used as a derogatory meaning towards homosexuals for so long, it's become a derogatory word(s). In fact, the word Ojiskwa I don't think even means vagina in the mohawk language, however I will have to ask any mohawk speaking people if that's true or not, but tuscarora langauge is very close to mohawk and onieda and that word in our language means gum.

Fancy.. when I was growing up my mom always just told me we were'nt squaws because that's not the word for woman in our language. LOL!
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Old 08-14-2005, 05:12 AM   #13
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It is absolutely Crystal Clear just why we currently in our particular state.....Ignorance is a dangerous influence? How can a Skin sit back and perpetuate the very disrespect and sheer stupidity the so called "White Man" literally spoon feeds to the mindless masses? Why don't we just take the proverbial gun and point it right at our big toe? Ya'know by the way there's a really nice bridge in Brooklyn NY.....are you interested in purchasing it??? OK my point......Squaw plain and real simple means WOMAN.....Real simple folks....Not a long drawn out testimonial that eventually lands you in OZ skipping around with The Scarecrow? Has it been used in a negative context, well why certainly, but isn't that the method to the Wasicu madness? Heres something that may bake the ole noodle......Have you ever heard the term Squaw Dance? Oh that's right! This is Powwows dot com.....! My My! Usually it's associated with the Jingle Side Step......"Ding" Geez that light is bright......People.....C'mon....I mean really....
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyot_In_The_House
It is absolutely Crystal Clear just why we currently in our particular state.....Ignorance is a dangerous influence? How can a Skin sit back and perpetuate the very disrespect and sheer stupidity the so called "White Man" literally spoon feeds to the mindless masses? Why don't we just take the proverbial gun and point it right at our big toe? Ya'know by the way there's a really nice bridge in Brooklyn NY.....are you interested in purchasing it??? OK my point......Squaw plain and real simple means WOMAN.....Real simple folks....Not a long drawn out testimonial that eventually lands you in OZ skipping around with The Scarecrow? Has it been used in a negative context, well why certainly, but isn't that the method to the Wasicu madness? Heres something that may bake the ole noodle......Have you ever heard the term Squaw Dance? Oh that's right! This is Powwows dot com.....! My My! Usually it's associated with the Jingle Side Step......"Ding" Geez that light is bright......People.....C'mon....I mean really....
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Old 08-15-2005, 10:31 PM   #15
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my take on the word

Boozhoo niji,

The word is offensive depending on where you come from, but 90% is probably offensive. The "s" word means woman in Cree, but I believe what everyone else has posted as far as different tribes.

For the most part though, when you hear the word being used it is from white lips and is said with either sarcasim or hatred. I never hear a white person who is respectful speak of that word when I have a lady at my side. But I have heard it when ignorance and bigotry were factors. I usually come off pretty harsh when I hear it directed at any girlfriends I may be dating at the time, whether they are present or not.

So yeah, it is a Cree word but in my opinion if you are not Cree, then you shouldnt speak it.

Derek
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Old 08-15-2005, 11:24 PM   #16
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My cherokee friend told me just a few days ago that it means (maybe in her tribe, she didn't explain this to me) - sorry to be so blunt...whore. Goodness...I always knew it was not a nice word but never really knew what exactly it meant.

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Old 08-16-2005, 12:55 PM   #17
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From the Spokesman-Review Newspaper out of Spokane WA
Saturday, March 10, 2001


Idaho Indian women come calling -- for respect


Associated Press


BOISE _ Native American women from around the state converged on the state Capitol on Friday, calling for respect and decrying the use of the word "squaw" in Idaho place names.

"We have a great history here in the state of Idaho," said RoseAnn Abrahamson, a descendant of Sacajawea. "Yet we cling to an archaic term that's disparaging and hurtful to Native American women."

After Idaho's Indian tribes brought the issue to the Legislature's attention, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution to re-examine the 93 place names, with just one dissenting vote. But then the resolution died on a 10-9 vote in the House State Affairs Committee, killing it for this year. Some committee members said the word "squaw" wasn't offensive to them, so it shouldn't be changed.

"Please listen to the Indian people. We know what we're talking about," Eleanor Little-Prior, a member of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe, told the gathering. "We know when you're calling us that, that word hurts."

Little-Prior remembered being called the name as a schoolgirl in the 1950s. Jennifer Oatman Brisbois, a member of the Nez Perce tribal executive council, said her father remembers as a young boy, chasing a non-Indian boy who taunted Brisbois' grandmother with the word in 1942. "He still remembers that because it caused this displeasure to her," she said.

"The House State Affairs Committee refused to acknowledge our heartfelt feelings that the word `squaw' was disparaging," Brisbois said.

Leah Henry-Slaney, a Nez Perce tribal member, said, "Unfortunately Idaho showed again that it is still a state of hate, still a state that promotes intolerance to people of color. It doesn't matter that we got rid of one sick old man up in northern Idaho. There are still problems in Idaho that need to be addressed."

On the wind-swept steps of the state Capitol, women held signs saying, "Native American women vote too," "Please don't call us the S-word" and "Out with squaw, in with respect."

Louise Dixey, a Shoshone-Bannock tribal member and one of the organizers of the rally, said, "This question is not a political question. It is a question of human dignity and respect."

After the 90-minute rally in a frigid wind, much of the group moved into the hallway outside Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's office, asking the governor to acknowledge its message.

Kempthorne emerged from a meeting in his office and advised the closely packed crowd that sometimes legislation takes more than one session to pass.

"I have faith in the system," he said. "You need to provide the good information and the background and history to help people make good decisions."

As the group dispersed after the governor went back in his office, Abrahamson said, "He made the effort to come out and meet with our people. That's wonderful. It's a step toward a positive direction."


•Betsy Z. Russell can be reached at (208) 336-2854 or by e-mail at bzrussell@rmci.net.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:05 PM   #18
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I don't care who uses the word, a White man or an NDN. There are many words in modern usage that have double meanings and are offensive. It is usually fairly obvious what context the speaker is using it in. If a word is offensive to a certain oppressed population what does it hurt to avoid using it? There are other words one can use if it isn't meant offensively, afterall. Why deliberately use a word that is inflammatory. Of course, there is a segment of the population that feels women shouldn't complain--about anything--and this appears to be one of them.
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:35 PM   #19
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I knew is was offensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soohkiisimsstaan
I don't care who uses the word, a White man or an NDN. There are many words in modern usage that have double meanings and are offensive. It is usually fairly obvious what context the speaker is using it in. If a word is offensive to a certain oppressed population what does it hurt to avoid using it? There are other words one can use if it isn't meant offensively, afterall. Why deliberately use a word that is inflammatory. Of course, there is a segment of the population that feels women shouldn't complain--about anything--and this appears to be one of them.
I have always known this word was horrible. I just did not know what it meant. If you are referring to me about not complaining, oh, I get my share in.....I stand my ground as I am a strong woman.

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Old 08-16-2005, 11:29 PM   #20
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A little story.. one of the reasons I HATE this word..

When I was in Jr. High I danced for the schools in my hometown. Anywayz.. My pic made it to the front page of the local newspaper.. (small town in kansas) The next day at school and during a test mind u, the teacher of the class made a point to come over to me while the class was drop dead quiet and ask me "where you by any chance the squaw in the paper?" Just the way he said it..was sooo condensending.. it really made me mad.. It took everything I had not to really go off on the man. I replied, (cuz the whole class was just a starin) "yes, I was the native american dancer in the paper". To this day I will never forget how humiliated that man made me feel.
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