Sumo

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Native American OR American Indian?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Native American OR American Indian?

    Native American or American Indian?
    A reader's question from Japan

    Posted: August 13, 2004 - 12:40pm EST

    Dear Indian Country Today,

    I’d be much obliged if you would answer my question about a practical usage of the word "Indian."

    I am a member of a study group that works on English language education for children in Japan. We received complaints about using a word "Indian" in teaching material we made.

    A dictionary published in Japan says that "Indian" is an offensive term and not used in the U.S. anymore. "Native American" is a proper term.

    In fact, I have heard the news that a symbol of a high school in Minnesota, which was an Indian, was forced to change to a wolf because it was considered as a racial discrimination in the ’80s. Also the words of a famous song, "The 10 little Indians," has been changed to harmless lyrics.

    But when I searched the word on the Internet, I found that "Indian" is used as a synonym of "Native American" on many Web sites that are concerned with Native Americans, including yours. It seems that this word has already been fully accepted as present-day English.

    I’m sorry for sending such an e-mail, but please kindly inform us how the word "Indian" is used in your country, so that we won’t teach wrong things to Japanese children.

    - Yuko Kijima, Japan

    Editor’s response

    Thank you for your very perceptive question. While it is true that the term "Indian" does not accurately describe the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere, its usage, particularly when incorporated into the term "American Indian" has been largely (although not universally) accepted by most tribal officials. Also, as a matter of style usage the term "American Indian" seems to be gaining favor over the term "Native American," since it carries with it a more specific identification. For example, anyone born in the United States could technically call themselves "native Americans," but cannot identify themselves as "American Indians." Our newspaper prefers the term "American Indian," and we will often use the single word "Indian" for subsequent references within a story. Although language evolves through time and usage I would suggest that the term "American Indian" will likely become more commonplace nationally and internationally. One factor is because national publications such as ours, Indian Country Today, have made it our style choice. Other factors include its use in nationally and internationally renowned organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the National Congress of American Indians, etc.

    Nevertheless, you will still hear some complain that the term "Indian" is incorrect, which, technically, it is. The United States, alone, has hundreds of distinct tribal governments and communities - each with its own name for itself in its own language. However, you should know that the term American Indian is widely understood and accepted even within the discourse of American Indians themselves, since 1) we all know whom we’re talking about, and 2) decades of argument and searching for an all-encompassing alternative have proven futile unless you have the luxury of listing the names of every tribe written accurately in their own languages.

    In closing let me say that the children of Japan are very fortunate to have someone like you working so diligently to teach them the correct use of the English language. By your very question I can tell you are intellectually engaged on behalf of your students. Unfortunately, not every question has a simple answer and American Indians themselves have struggled to get even English speaking peoples to speak and use the English language clearly and honestly.

    - Tim Johnson, Executive Editor
    Indian Country Today

    ____

    WhoMe's Comments:

    the term "Indian" is the actual legal term used in federal law. In modern usage, the legal term "Indian" usually means an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe (or one who is eligible to be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe). Each tribe has the sovereign authority to define who their members are and who is eligible to be enrolled. Some tribes have blood quantum requirements (a requirement that to be enrolled, a person must have at least a certain degree of tribal ancestry - such as one-fourth) while other tribes' laws state that a person is eligible for enrollment if one of their ancestors appears on a particular historical list of tribal members. Ultimately, the question of, "Who is an Indian?", is determined by tribal law.
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    okay



    Mussy by birth.....Native by the Grace of God.......


    Comment


    • #3
      OH my; another good topic to start an arguement...

      Comment


      • #4
        although many caucasion rednecks insensitive to the plight of others prefer the term "injun" :reallymad
        if i could change i would, take back the pain i would. retrace every wrong move that i made i would. stand up and take the blame i would. i would take all my shame to the grave
        KEEP ON ROCKIN' IN THE FREE WORLD!
        WHAT'S 5'8 200lbs and HARD ALL OVER?
        how come everytime i turn around someone is speaking spanish to me? this is new
        HONOR THY CHILDREN

        Comment


        • #5
          The definition of "American Indian" as explained by Tim Johnson is the correct term used by the Federal Government. I was on staff in one of the government offices that worked closely with the Office of General Counsel and this question came up back when the term "Native American" was just beginning to be used. The Director's response was essentially the same as Johnson's, that the term "American Indian" was used to identify those people that were indigenous to the North American continent and that the term "Native American" could essentially be applied to any person who was born in the United States.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mountaindew
            The definition of "American Indian" as explained by Tim Johnson is the correct term used by the Federal Government. I was on staff in one of the government offices that worked closely with the Office of General Counsel and this question came up back when the term "Native American" was just beginning to be used. The Director's response was essentially the same as Johnson's, that the term "American Indian" was used to identify those people that were indigenous to the North American continent and that the term "Native American" could essentially be applied to any person who was born in the United States.
            __

            mountainD:

            I have a very "personal opinion" about the term Native American. To me, Native American sounds very "artsie," new-age, and even clinical. It came into usage in the American language about the same time Political Correctness became popular.

            I think the Canadians have the best term of all - "First Nations!"
            Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

            Comment


            • #7
              I just call myself NATIVE. dammit....

              :)

              I dont like native american either....like they say, anyone can use that term.



              Mussy by birth.....Native by the Grace of God.......


              Comment


              • #8
                Call me anything but Canadian. :american: :lol2:
                Just kidding. They are our friends, even if they do talk funny. "Aw geez. The beer store's closed, eh? What's that all aboot?"
                Fish eyed fool!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Call me anything but late for dinner. I'm a hungry man.
                  Through the good times and bad times, always pray.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I got this one in email and thought that it was fantastic that the teacher would ask. It does show some sensitivity and respect and the guy's answer was a good one. Kinda warmed my heart reading this.
                    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I call myself and friends and family "indian" cuz my family's been called indian all their lives and we call each other that amongst ourselves...but i guess we should call ourselves "anishinabe" which is our nation. Non-natives can call us Anishinabe, native american, canadian native, (we're we wear runners and drink pop, not sneakers and sody pops), or first nations, or i hate this one, "aboriginals". if non-natives call me an indian i would take offense.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        just don't call me late for supper cuz ya know i like that back bacon enit, eh.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am just me. you can call me anything you like, but I am still going to be just me!
                          Everybody Powwow !!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            personal ads

                            I put a personal ad in yahoo! once. Said I wanted a Native American guy. This one guy responded. He stated he was Native so I didn't question him until we met and he explained. He'd been born here, raised here and considered himself native American. His family were German. I don't know that American Indian is any better because it has to do with the confusion of the explorers thinking they were finding a shortcut to India (as I recall). Anyway, if I want to be smart I say "I'm an Indigenous American"; otherwise I say Native American....
                            Damme ape’semmai, "Andabichidaiboonee’ gimmadu’i.Wihyu memme hainjinee’ nahandu’i. Enne wizha sudei’ tsaangu mabizhiahkande," mai.

                            The Creator said, "A foreign race of white people will come, who will become your friends. You should treat them well."

                            The Creator sure had a strange sense of humor!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I always just say I'm Shoshone. Or I ask if someone else is Indin or Native. And I heard Indian came from Columbus calling the native people he encounter in Dios, meaning with God. But he WAS looking for the Indies, East or West I forget.
                              ...it is what it is...

                              Comment

                              Join the online community forum celebrating Native American Culture, Pow Wows, tribes, music, art, and history.

                              Loading...

                              Trending

                              Collapse

                              There are no results that meet this criteria.

                              Sidebar Ad

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X