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  • By what name should we call ourselves?

    Boozhoo niji,

    This post goes out to all tribes in general. I have been doing alot of soul searching in the past couple of weeks, and I feel like I have to ask this question. I fear that we, as an Indigenous peoples, are going to go through some seriously challenging times in the future. I am seeing tribes being terminated at the whim of the government that holds the occupation of this great land we call home. I have heard from elders that the feds are running up and down the eastern seaboard arresting anyone with feathers regardless of skin color.

    I believe that we will have to adapt in new ways to keep our tribal identities intact. I dont know if that means we would all have to unite, or go underground with our traditions, but I do know this change will happen slowly, and the best way I can think of it starting is with a name. What is it exactly that we want non-natives to call us? I have thought about this since having endured another Columbus day celebration.

    The two terms I hear the most are "American Indian" and "Native American"

    I wanted to take these two terms apart, to see what they mean. I wanted to learn what would be politically correct. Indian makes reference to the country India, and from that country we certainly are not, unless you subscribe to the theory that our people walked across the land bridge from that land.

    Native is pretty cool, but unfortuately it refers to anyone born in this land. There are people of every color and religion born in this country every day, does that make them "Native American"? I guess it would depend on your point of view, and how you would define the term.

    That leaves the word, American. I thought the word had some definition, the way Christian names have meaning in a Bibles concordance. I could not find one, but the word does come from the name of an Italian navigator, Amerigo Vespucci. What do any of these words have to do with our people? As far as I can see, nothing.

    All of that being said, do we want to continue to refer to ourselves as American Indians or Native Americans? Do we want to use words the white people gave to us to use to call ourselves or do we want to choose the name we want others to refer to us as?

    The word Anishinaabe literally means "the first people". I am sure there are other tribes out there that have their names with similar meanings. Can we refer to ourselves as "The First People" or maybe "First Americans"

    I read in a post, maybe on this forum or some other place, that many of the indigenous peoples here call this land Turtle Island. The people that wrote that message wanted us to be called "Turtle Islanders". That is another possibility.

    I would like to hear from as many people that read this, lets get a voice to be heard. How should we refer to ourselves and how should we want other people to refer to us as?

    Derek
    I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

  • #2
    Lets just all call ourselves Kickapoo! *wink*
    The only time its too late to start dancing is when you're dead.

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    • #3
      I've heard First Nations, but that isn't used often. Native American is the PC name that I hear most often. Indian or American Indian I hear used by most 'Native Americans'.

      Since I'm only 1/2 an Indian (LOL) I can't really have a say in what someone calls me. I personally am not offended by the term Indian.
      "Hollywood has forever created these stereotypes of the stoic, silent, emotionless Indians. And let me tell you: Breaking those stereotypes gave me tremendous pleasure."
      -- Jay Tavare

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      • #4
        People of the Creator?

        Originally posted by crazywolf
        Boozhoo niji,
        I wanted to take these two terms apart, to see what they mean. I wanted to learn what would be politically correct. Indian makes reference to the country India, and from that country we certainly are not, unless you subscribe to the theory that our people walked across the land bridge from that land.Derek
        Boozhoo Derek,

        This question came up a few places a short while back. Take a look at this story at Straight Dope-Does "Indian" derive from Columbus's description of Native Americans as "una gente in Dios"?
        http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mgenteindios.html
        Actually, the land that Columbus most eagerly sought was not India itself, but "the noble island of Cipangu [Japan] . . . most fertile in gold, pearls, and precious stones."

        Here is another source that may interest you as well:
        http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles...e.asp?ID=11380
        But liberal American Indian leaders now believe the name “Indian” was not used by Columbus because he thought he had reached India, but because he called the native people “en dios,” instead of indios as the records show. Thus the word “Indian,” according to the spiritual malfeasance of liberal linguists, is believed to have derived from “en dios,” or, in “God. ”
        "We who are clay blended by the Master Potter, come from the kiln of Creation in many hues. How can people say one skin is colored, when each has its own coloration? What should it matter that one bowl is dark and the other pale, if each is of good design and serves its purpose well." ~~~Polingaysi Qoyawayma, Hopi~~~

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        • #5
          Boozhoo niji,

          Those are some good links, miigwetch Vince. I had not known of that phrase, or the supposed scam, but I do remember hearing someone say once that we were a more spiritual people than those that were visiting this land. I do not remember if the "visitors" were the first explorers or the pilgrams though. I do believe in one thing though, that we are a more spiritual people than those that came to visit, at least back in the day. Now... well things are a lot more mixed up.

          I neglected to say something about the word Anishinaabe, it slipped my mind, so sorry about that. Our people refer to all "Indians" as Anishinaabe. We refered to ourselves as Anishinaabe, the tribe next door, and all First Nations people. We did have names for other tribes, We called the Dakota, Bwaan.

          Aaniin busy, you can say anything you want to say. You say that you are only 1/2, and yet I am less that 1/2 of that. I can only trace my liniage to about 1/16. But I will tell you like some elders on the rez tell me. Being Indian aint about whats in your blood, but whats in your heart. They watch how you act, your attitude and everything about you, but I dont think they pay too much attention to skin color, at least not in White Earth. I had been up there four years in a row, and I guess I made enough of an impression on them that they remember my name. A friend of mine, who is an entertainer, Dave Trezak went up there, and was describing me, and they said, "Yeah we know that guy. He comes up here and dances, he dances in a good way."

          Anyway, I want to hear from more people. Should we be content with calling ourselves Native Americans, or American Indians? What would be the "politically correct" thing to say, if there is such a thing? The reason why I ask, is that there has to be a term to refer to us as a whole. I do not believe in the unification of all tribes, but I do see a time comming where all the tribes will have to work together in some way to survive. Perhaps there will be a council, maybe a First Nations Council or some such thing.

          Ok I have said enough for tonight, now its your turn.

          Derek
          I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

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