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Native American name controversy

Native American name controversy

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The Native American name controversy is a dispute about the acceptable terminology for the indigenous peoples of the Americas
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 and broad subsets of these peoples, such as those sharing certain cultures and languages by which more discrete groups identify themselves (e.g., "Algonquin
Algonquin language
Algonquin is either a distinct Algonquian language closely related to the Ojibwe language or a particularly divergent Ojibwe dialect. It is spoken, alongside French and to some extent English, by the Algonquin First Nations of Quebec and Ontario...

-speaking peoples," "Pueblo
Pueblo
Pueblo is a term used to describe modern communities of Native Americans in the Southwestern United States of America. The first Spanish explorers of the Southwest used this term to describe the communities housed in apartment-like structures built of stone, adobe mud, and other local material...

-dwelling peoples").

Many English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 exonyms have been used to refer to the indigenous peoples of what is now known as the Americas, who were resident when European colonists arrived in the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of these names were based on French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, or other European language terminology used by earlier explorers and/or colonists; some resulted from the colonists' attempt to translate endonyms from the native language into their own; and some were pejorative terms arising out of prejudice and fear, during periods of conflict between the cultures involved.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, indigenous peoples in the Americas have been more vocal about the ways they wish to be referred to, pressing for the elimination of terms widely considered to be obsolete, inaccurate, or racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

. During the latter half of the 20th century and the rise of the Indian rights movement, the United States Government responded by proposing the use of the term "Native American," to recognize the primacy of indigenous peoples' tenure in the nation. The term has met with only partial acceptance. Other naming conventions have been proposed and used, but none are accepted by all indigenous groups. Typically, each name has a particular audience and political or cultural connotation, and regional usage varies.

Salient issues affecting the debate

  • Sentimental attachment to a previous name (example: "Indian" is a name which many elders
    American Indian elder
    In American Indian education, within each tribe elders, "are repositories of cultural and philosophical knowledge and are the transmitters of such information," including, "basic beliefs and teachings, encouraging...faith in the Great Spirit, the Creator"...

     have known all their lives, and their families may continue to use the familiar term);
  • Rejection of a word perceived as quaint or pejorative
    Pejorative
    Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

     (example: "Eskimo
    Eskimo
    Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

    ");
  • Rejection of names used by outsiders and not the individual Tribe or Indian people at large (example: "Nez Perce
    Nez Perce
    The Nez Perce are Native American people who live in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. An anthropological theory says they descended from the Old Cordilleran Culture, which moved south from the Rocky Mountains and west in Nez Perce lands. The Nez Perce nation currently governs...

    " is a French phrase; "Native American" was coined by the US Government);
  • Perception that a name is inherently racist, or has over time acquired racist overtones;
  • Rejection of names assigned by an occupying and oppressive colonial government or expedition;
  • Belief that a name is too inclusive or not inclusive enough of all indigenous people, so does not effectively convey the group intended (example: "Aboriginal" has become associated with Australian Aborigines
    Australian Aborigines
    Australian Aborigines , also called Aboriginal Australians, from the latin ab originem , are people who are indigenous to most of the Australian continentthat is, to mainland Australia and the island of Tasmania...

     given its wide use on that continent; the UN uses "Indigenous" to refer to all tribal peoples around the world (as their representatives chose to be identified); "Native American" in general use has not applied to indigenous peoples within Canada or Mexico);
  • Reluctance of members of individual Indian Nations to be referred to by a collective, racial name;
  • Belief that a universal/collective name suggests, inaccurately, that the indigenous cultures referred to are homogenous, monolithic bodies, rather than the widely varied separate nations that they actually are.

"Indian" and "American Indian"


Europeans at the time of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

's voyage often referred to all of South
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 as "India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

" or "the Indias/Indies
Indies
The Indies is a term that has been used to describe the lands of South and Southeast Asia, occupying all of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia and...

," sometimes dividing the area into "Greater India
Greater India
Greater India is a term that refers to the historical spread of the culture of India beyond the Indian subcontinent...

," "Middle India," and "Lesser India." The oldest surviving terrestrial globe, by Martin Behaim
Martin Behaim
Martin Behaim , was a German mariner, artist, cosmographer, astronomer, philosopher, geographer and explorer in service to the King of Portugal.-Biography:The Behaim family had immigrated to Nuremberg because of religious persecution around...

 in 1492 (before Columbus' voyage), labels the entire south Asian subcontinent as "India".

Columbus carried a passport in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 from the Spanish monarchs that dispatched him ab partes Indie ("toward the regions of India") on their behalf. When he landed in the Antilles
Antilles
The Antilles islands form the greater part of the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. The Antilles are divided into two major groups: the "Greater Antilles" to the north and west, including the larger islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico; and the smaller "Lesser Antilles" on the...

, Columbus referred to the resident peoples he encountered there as "Indians" in the mistaken belief that he had reached the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

. Although Columbus' mistake was soon recognized, the name stuck; for centuries the native people of the Americas were collectively called "Indians." This misnomer was perpetuated in place naming; the islands of the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 were named, and are still known as, the West Indies.

In the late 20th century, some American public figures suggested that the origin of the term was not from a confusion with India, but from the Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 expression En Dios, meaning "in God," or a similar one in Italian. Proponents of this idea include the American Indian activist Russell Means
Russell Means
Russell Charles Means is an Oglala Sioux activist for the rights of Native American people. He became a prominent member of the American Indian Movement after joining the organisation in 1968, and helped organize notable events that attracted national and international media coverage...

; the author Peter Matthiessen
Peter Matthiessen
Peter Matthiessen is a two-time National Book Award-winning American novelist and non-fiction writer, as well as an environmental activist...

, author of In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, a view of American Indian history through the life and trial of Lakota activist Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement . In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine...

; and the comedian George Carlin
George Carlin
George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums....

. In his book The Wind Is My Mother, the Muskogee writer Bear Heart (Nokus Feke Ematha Tustanaki) wrote, "When Columbus found the natives here, they were gentle people who accepted him, so Columbus wrote in his journal, 'These are people of God' ("una gente in Dios"). Later the 's' was dropped and Indio became Indian." However, as the writer David Wilton noted in his book Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, this phrase does not appear in any of Columbus' writing. Wilton also says that since Greek and Roman times, more than a millennium before the voyages of Columbus, many European languages used variations of the term "Indian" to describe the peoples of the Indian subcontinent.

As European colonists began to move into the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries, and have more sustained contact with the resident peoples, it became clear that the residents were not a homogenous group sharing a unified culture and government, but discrete societies with their own distinct languages and social systems. Early historical accounts show that some colonists attempted to learn and record the autonyms of these individual groups, but the use of the general term "Indian" persisted.

In 1968, the American Indian Movement
American Indian Movement
The American Indian Movement is a Native American activist organization in the United States, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by urban Native Americans. The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty...

 was founded. In 1977, a delegation from the International Indian Treaty Council
International Indian Treaty Council
-Mission:The International Indian Treaty Council is an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North,Central, South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific working for the Sovereignty and Self- Determination of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties,...

, an arm of AIM, elected to collectively identify as "American Indian," at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Conference on Indians in the Americas
Conference on Indians in the Americas
The first United Nations Conference on Indians in the Americas was held in Geneva in 1977.It was organised by Jimmie Durham, head of the International Indian Treaty Council, with Mapuche leaders exiled from Chile under Pinochet and supported by the American activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.The...

 at Geneva, Switzerland. Some activists and public figures of indigenous descent, such as Russell Means
Russell Means
Russell Charles Means is an Oglala Sioux activist for the rights of Native American people. He became a prominent member of the American Indian Movement after joining the organisation in 1968, and helped organize notable events that attracted national and international media coverage...

, say that they prefer "American Indian" to the more recently adopted "Native American."

Objections to the usage of "Indian" and "American Indian" include the fact that "Indian" arose from an historical error, and thus does not accurately reflect the derivation of the people to whom it refers; and some feel that the term has absorbed negative and demeaning connotations through its historical usage that render it objectionable in context. Additionally, "American Indian" is often understood to mean only the peoples of the main body of the United States, which excludes other indigenous groups of the Americas, including the Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

, Cup'ik/Yup'ik peoples, Iñupiat
Inupiat
The Iñupiat or Iñupiaq and Iñupiak or formerly Inupik are the people of Alaska's Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs and the Bering Straits region. Barrow, the northernmost city in the United States, is in the Inupiat region. Their language is known as Iñupiaq...

, Alutiiq
Alutiiq
The Alutiiq , also called Pacific Yupik or Sugpiaq, are a southern coastal people of the Native peoples of Alaska. Their language is called Sugstun, and it is one of Eskimo languages, belonging to the Yup’ik branch of these languages. They are not to be confused with the Aleuts, who live further...

, and Aleut peoples (i. e., the groups whose traditional languages are Eskimo–Aleut languages).

Supporters of the terms "Indian" and "American Indian" argue that they have been in use for such a long period of time that many people have become accustomed to them and no longer consider them exonyms. Both terms are still widely used today. "American Indian" appears often in treaties between the United States and the indigenous peoples with whom they have been negotiating since the colonial period, and many Federal
Federal
Federal or foederal may refer to:In politics:*Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies or a federal organised monarchy*Federal district, a subdivision in a federal state that is under the direct control of a federal government...

, state and local laws also use it.

"Native American"


The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 cites usage of the uncapitalized term "native American" in several publications reaching as far back as 1737, but it is unclear whether these texts refer to indigenous peoples or simply to persons born on American soil. During the 1850s, a group of Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon may refer to:* Anglo-Saxons, a group that invaded Britain** Old English, their language** Anglo-Saxon England, their history, one of various ships* White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, an ethnicity* Anglo-Saxon economy, modern macroeconomic term...

 Protestant European-Americans used the capitalized term "Native Americans" to differentiate themselves from more recent Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 and German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 immigrants. The group later formed the "Know-Nothings," a 19th-century political party that supported anti-immigrant policy in the United States. The Known-Nothings also called themselves the "Native American Party" and were referred to in the press with the capitalized term. They hired the writer and orator George Copway (a member of the Ontario Ojibwa
Ojibwa
The Ojibwe or Chippewa are among the largest groups of Native Americans–First Nations north of Mexico. They are divided between Canada and the United States. In Canada, they are the third-largest population among First Nations, surpassed only by Cree and Inuit...

 tribe) for some of their publications, but it is unclear whether they intended their usage of "Native American" to include indigenous peoples.

In 1918, leaders of the Peyote Religion in Oklahoma incorporated as the Native American Church
Native American Church
Native American Church, a religious denomination which practices Peyotism or the Peyote religion, originated in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, and is the most widespread indigenous religion among Native Americans in the United States...

 of Oklahoma. In 1956, Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

 wrote a letter in which he thanks his correspondent for "your most interesting letter about the Native American churchmen" (note capitalization).

The use of both "native American" and "Native American" to refer to the indigenous peoples of the Americas came into widespread common use during the civil rights movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

s of the 1960s and 1970s. Activists believed that it more accurately represented historical fact (i.e., indigenous populations predated European colonization), and that it was free of negative historical connotations that had come to be associated with previous terms.

Between 1982 and 1993, most American manuals of style came to agree that "color terms" referring to ethnic groups should be capitalized as proper names, including "Native American." Critics argue that the typographical
Typography
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible. The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading , adjusting the spaces between groups of letters and adjusting the space between pairs of letters...

 detail of capitalizing "native" to differentiate between the term's use for indigeous peoples and other meanings is easily overlooked in written grammar, and ineffective in speech.

Other objections to "Native American," whether capitalized or not, include a concern that it is often understood to exclude American groups outside the continental U.S. (i.e., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico), and indigenous groups in South America, Mexico and Canada. The word "American" is sometimes questioned because the peoples referred to resided in the Americas before they were so named, rendering the term a tautology
Tautology
Tautology may refer to:*Tautology , using different words to say the same thing even if the repetition does not provide clarity. Tautology also means a series of self-reinforcing statements that cannot be disproved because the statements depend on the assumption that they are already...

.

As of 1995, according to the US Census Bureau, 50% of people who identified as indigenous preferred the term "American Indian," 37% preferred "Native American" and the remainder preferred other terms or had no preference.

"Indigenous"


The word "indigenous" comes from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 indigena, meaning "native," formed from indu "in" and gen- "beget." It is unrelated to the formation of "Indian."

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, "indigenous specifies that something or someone is native rather than coming or being brought in from elsewhere: an indigenous crop; the Ainu
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

, a people indigenous to the northernmost islands of Japan."

The United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development used the term "indigenous peoples" for the first time in its official political declaration in 2002. Prior to this date, the terms was considered to be "still under debate" for usage in official UN documents.

Arguments against the use of the term "Indigenous Peoples" are that it does not refer specifically to peoples affected by European colonization during the 17th and 18th centuries, that it lumps all indigenous world groups into into a single "other," and that it fails to recognize migratory groups who do not technically meet the definition of "indigenous."

"Aboriginal" and "Aborigine"


The English adjective "aboriginal" and the noun "aborigine" come from a Latin phrase meaning "from the origin;" the ancient Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 used it to refer to the native peoples of central Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 who were their contemporaries. Today throughout most of the English-speaking world, it is most commonly understood to refer to the Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. The Aboriginal Indigenous Australians migrated from the Indian continent around 75,000 to 100,000 years ago....

.

"Alaska Native"


"Alaska Native" refers to the indigenous peoples in Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, including the Aleut
Aleut
Aleut people are the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, United States and Kamchatka Krai, Russia.-Name:The name "Aleut" comes from the Aleut word allíthuh, meaning "community." A regional self-denomination is ', Unangan or Unanga, meaning "original people." The name Aleut was...

, Inuit, and Yupik peoples.

In Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, the term "Alaska Native" predominates, because of its legal use in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and because it includes the Aleut, Inuit and Yupik peoples, the three groups of indigenous Alaskan peoples.

European Americans once used the term "Eskimo
Eskimo
Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

" for those groups, but this term is in disfavor because the people consider it derogatory; it was adopted from the exonym Eskimo used by the competing Algonquian-speaking tribes of the northern tier. The Inuit are "a people inhabiting the Arctic (northern Canada or Greenland or Alaska or eastern Siberia); the Algonquian called them Eskimo ('eaters of raw flesh') but they call themselves the Inuit ('the people') [syn: {Esquimau}, {Eskimo}]."

"Amerind"



The term "Amerind" is a blended form of "American Indian," though it can also be parsed as a blend of "American" and "Indigenous." It was coined in 1902 by the American Anthropological Association
American Anthropological Association
The American Anthropological Association is a professional organization of scholars and practitioners in the field of anthropology. With 11,000 members, the Arlington, Virginia based association includes archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, biological anthropologists, linguistic...

 and is more commonly used in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

.

"Aboriginal peoples"


In Canada, the term "Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

" is used for all indigenous peoples within the country, including the Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and Inuvialuit
Inuvialuit
The Inuvialuit or Western Canadian Inuit are Inuit people who live in the western Canadian Arctic region. They, like all other Inuit, are descendants of the Thule who migrated eastward from Alaska...

, as well as the Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

.

"First Nations"


"First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

" (most often used in the plural) has come into general use for the Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 located in what is now Canada, and their descendants, excluding the Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

, who have distinct identities. The singular commonly used is "First Nations person" (when gender-specific, "First Nations man" or "First Nations woman").

Some tribal governments of Canada also use the term "First Nations" to refer to any indigenous, tribal or nomadic society, using the term for such diverse groups as the Roma, Sinti
Sinti
Sinti or Sinta or Sinte is the name of a Romani or Gypsy population in Europe. Traditionally nomadic, today only a small percentage of the group remains unsettled...

, Saami
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

, Māori, Hmong
Hmong people
The Hmong , are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity in southern China...

, and the Australian Aborigines.

Although the Canadian government has formally adopted use of the term "First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

" and "Aboriginal peoples," the federal ministerial portfolio in charge of their affairs is named the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, and the historical term "Indian Reserve
Indian reserve
In Canada, an Indian reserve is specified by the Indian Act as a "tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, that has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band." The Act also specifies that land reserved for the use and benefit of a band which is not...

" is still a legal land description. Some First Nations peoples also use "Indian Band" in their official names.

"Canadian Indians"


The Canadian Indian Act, in defining the rights of people of recognized First Nations, refers to them as "Indians." The responsible federal government department is the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, headed by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The act officially recognizes people commonly known as "Status Indians," although "Registered Indian" is the official term for those on the Indian Register. Lands set aside for the use of First Nations are known as Indian Reserve
Indian reserve
In Canada, an Indian reserve is specified by the Indian Act as a "tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, that has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band." The Act also specifies that land reserved for the use and benefit of a band which is not...

s.

"Native Canadians"


"Native" or "Native Canadian" is an ambiguous term, but people frequently use it in conversation or informal writing.

"First Peoples"


"First Peoples" is a broad term that includes First Nations, Inuit, Inuvialuit, and Métis (equivalent to "Aboriginal" or "indigenous" peoples)—and could be extended outside the Canadian context to comprise all descendents of pre-Columbian ethnic groups in the Americas, including (self-identified) ethnic groups whose ancestry is only partially of pre-Columbian groups (e.g. Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

). Due to its similarity with the term "First Nations," the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

"Anishinaabe"


The Algonquin
Algonquin language
Algonquin is either a distinct Algonquian language closely related to the Ojibwe language or a particularly divergent Ojibwe dialect. It is spoken, alongside French and to some extent English, by the Algonquin First Nations of Quebec and Ontario...

 autonym
Ethnonym
An ethnonym is the name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms or endonyms .As an example, the ethnonym for...

, Anishinaabe
Anishinaabe
Anishinaabe or Anishinabe—or more properly Anishinaabeg or Anishinabek, which is the plural form of the word—is the autonym often used by the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Algonquin peoples. They all speak closely related Anishinaabemowin/Anishinaabe languages, of the Algonquian language family.The meaning...

or Anishinabe, is used as a cross-tribal term in Algonquian-majority areas, such as Anishnabe Health and Anishnabe Education and Training Circle. The term is also used among historically Anishinaabe peoples in the Upper Midwest
Upper Midwest
The Upper Midwest is a region in the northern portion of the U.S. Census Bureau's Midwestern United States. It is largely a sub-region of the midwest. Although there are no uniformly agreed-upon boundaries, the region is most commonly used to refer to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and...

 region of the United States.

Canadian French nomenclature


In Canadian French
Canadian French
Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

, the terms are première(s) nation(s) for "First Nations" and autochtone for "Aboriginal" (used both as a noun and adjective).

The term indien or indienne is used in the legislation, although the preferred term is now amérindien. The term indigène is not used as it is seen as having negative connotations because of its similarity to the French equivalent of indigent ("poor"). The old French term sauvage ("wild") is no longer used either, as it is considered racist.

Chinook Jargon nomenclature


The Chinook Jargon
Chinook Jargon
Chinook Jargon originated as a pidgin trade language of the Pacific Northwest, and spread during the 19th century from the lower Columbia River, first to other areas in modern Oregon and Washington, then British Columbia and as far as Alaska, sometimes taking on characteristics of a creole language...

, the old trade language of the Pacific Northwest, uses siwash (an adaptation of the French sauvage) for "Indian," "Native American," or "First Nations," either as adjective or noun. While normally meaning a male native, it is used in certain combinations, like siwash cosho ("a seal," literally "Indian pig" or "Indian pork").

Many native communities perceive the terms sauvage and siwash negatively, but others use it freely. They consider use by non-natives to be derogatory. placenames and certain other usages. In the creolized form of Chinook Jargon spoken at the Grand Ronde Agency in Oregon, a distinction is made between siwash and sawash. The accent in the latter is on the second syllable, resembling the French original, and is used in Grand Ronde Jargon meaning "anything native or Indian". By contrast, they consider siwash to be defamatory.

The Chinook Jargon term for a native woman is klootchman, an originally Nootkan word which was adopted in regional English to mean a native woman, or (as in the Jargon), all women and also anything female. Hyas klootchman tyee means "queen", klootchman cosho, "sow"; klootchman tenas or tenas klootchman means "girl" or "little girl". Generally klootchman in regional English simply means a native woman and has not acquired the derisive sense of siwash or squaw. The short form klootch, encountered only in English-Chinook hybrid phrasings, is often derisive.

Latin America


In Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, the preferred expression is "Indigenous Peoples" (pueblos indígenas in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

. Indios is still in common use, including among the indigenous peoples.

In Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, and several other countries, these names are normally applied only to the ethnic groups that have maintained their identity and, to a some extent, their original way of life. In those countries there is also a large segment of the population with mixed native and European ancestry, who are largely integrated in mainstream society, and no longer identify themselves with their ancestral native groups. In some Spanish speaking countries, there are also Ladinos
Ladino people
Ladino is a Spanish term used to describe various socio-ethnic categories in Latin America, principally in Central America.The term Ladino is derived from "latino" and usually refers to the mestizo or hispanicized population...

 who do not have significant European ancestry, but have adopted the culture of the White and Mestizo population.

These people were originally called mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s
in Mexico, caboclos in Brazil; however, those terms have largely fallen in disuse as that segment has come to predominate among the population.

In South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, the preferred expression is Indigenous Peoples (pueblos indígenas in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, povos indígenas in Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

). However, Indians (indios, índios) is often used too, even by indigenous peoples themselves, since this expression is not seen as derogatory. It should also be noted that in Portuguese índios does not conflict with the word for the people of India (indianos).

"Indigenous peoples"


During the late 20th century the term "Indigenous peoples" evolved into a political term that refers to ethnic groups with historical ties to groups that existed in a territory prior to colonization or formation of a nation state. In the Americas, the term "Indigenous peoples of the Americas" was adopted, and the term is tailored to specific geographic or political regions, such as "Indigenous peoples of Panama
Indigenous peoples of Panama
The Indigenous peoples of Panama are the native peoples of Panama. According to the 2000 census, there are 285,231 indigenous peoples living in Panama, and they make up almost 5% of the overall population...

." "'Indigenous peoples' ... is a term that internationalizes the experiences, the issues and the struggles of some of the world's colonized peoples," writes Maori educator Linda Tuhiwai Smith. "The final 's' in 'indigenous peoples' ... [is] a way of recognizing that there are real differences between different indigenous peoples."

"Redskin"/"Red Indian"


Some Europeans called Native Americans redskin
Redskin
"Redskin" is a racial descriptor for Native Americans and one of the color metaphors for race used in North America and Europe since European colonization of America...

s; it was one of the color metaphors for race which colonists and settlers historically used in North America and Europe. It is similar to the expressions "pale face" or "pale skin", which some Native Americans used for Europeans. Such terms are often considered pejorative. Different individuals may hold differing opinions of the term's appropriateness. There is an American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 team named the Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team and members of the East Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The team plays at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, while its headquarters and training facility are at Redskin Park in Ashburn,...

, and the Redskins serve as the mascot of Red Mesa High School on the Navajo Reservation in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

.

The term's use was not restricted to the United States or North America. The English-speaking world and Europeans, in loan-translations, used redskin and the similar term "red Indian" throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to refer to indigenous Americans. For example, the French translation peaux-rouges was used by Arthur Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud
Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was a French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his best known works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare"—and he gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 21. As part of the decadent...

 in Le Bateau ivre
Le Bateau ivre
"Le Bateau ivre" is a 100-line verse-poem written by Arthur Rimbaud, then aged 16, in the summer of 1871 at his childhood home in Charleville in Northern France. Rimbaud included the poem in a letter he sent to Paul Verlaine in September 1871 to introduce himself to Verlaine...

and Jean Raspail
Jean Raspail
Jean Raspail is a French author, traveler and explorer.Jean Raspail was born the son of factory manager Octave Raspail and Marguerite Chaix...

 in several of his travelogues.

"Savage"



Anthropologists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 once used savage as a blanket word to refer to indigenous peoples worldwide (e.g. Bronisław Malinowski titled his 1929 study The Sexual Life of Savages). At the beginning of the nineteenth century, representatives of the relatively new United States government often used the term in official records when referring to Indian nations (see, e.g., Justice Baldwin's concurring opinion in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, , was a United States Supreme Court case. The Cherokee Nation sought a federal injunction against laws passed by the state of Georgia depriving them of rights within its boundaries, but the Supreme Court did not hear the case on its merits...

) This was related to their association of non-Christian people as savages.

Other


European Christians once broadly used the word "heathens" to refer to Native Americans, a pejorative term related to their perceived lack of religious beliefs (because they were not Christian).

Today, "Injun" is an intentional-mispronunciation of "Indian", generally used in a joking way to mock or impersonate Native Americans' supposed accented English (e.g. "Honest Injun", "Injun time"). The word and related terms have been defined as derogatory by indigenous people and are not widely used.

Some Native Americans consider the word "squaw
Squaw
Squaw is an English language loan-word, used as a noun or adjective, whose present meaning is an indigenous woman of North America. It is derived from the eastern Algonquian morpheme meaning 'woman' that appears in numerous Algonquian languages variously spelled squa, skwa, esqua, sqeh, skwe, que,...

" offensive, derogatory, or racist, although there is some controversy on the topic.
Similarly, the term "Indian princess" is considered demeaning to Native American women. The Indian princess stereotype is in some ways the opposite of the squaw stereotype. However, this should not be confused with the practice of tribes, powwow
PowWow
PowWow is a wireless sensor network mote developed by the Cairn team of IRISA/INRIA. The platform is currently based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard radio transceiver and on an MSP430 microprocessor...

 organizations, colleges, and other indigenous groups choosing young women with exceptional knowledge of their cultures to represent the groups as tribal "princesses."

See also


  • Abya Yala
    Abya Yala
    Abya Yala, which in the Kuna language means "land in its full maturity", is used by the Panamanian Kuna people to refer to the American continent since before the Columbus arrival.-Origin:...

    , a proposed native (from the Panama
    Panama
    Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

     Kuna
    Kuna (people)
    Kuna or Cuna is the name of an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. The spelling Kuna is currently preferred. In the Kuna language, the name is Dule or Tule, meaning "people," and the name of the language in Kuna is Dulegaya, meaning "Kuna language" - Location :The Kuna live in three...

    s) name for the Americas, avoiding the mention of Amerigo Vespucci
    Amerigo Vespucci
    Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from the feminized Latin version of his first name.-Expeditions:...

     or Richard Amerike
    Richard Amerike
    Richard ap Meryk, Anglicised to Richard Amerike was a wealthy English merchant, royal customs officer and sheriff, of Welsh descent. He was the principal owner of the Matthew, the ship sailed by John Cabot during his voyage of exploration to North America in 1497...

    .
  • Origin of the name Eskimo
  • Lamanite
    Lamanite
    According to the Book of Mormon, a Lamanite is a member of a dark-skinned nation of indigenous Americans that battled with the light-skinned Nephite nation...

  • Squaw
    Squaw
    Squaw is an English language loan-word, used as a noun or adjective, whose present meaning is an indigenous woman of North America. It is derived from the eastern Algonquian morpheme meaning 'woman' that appears in numerous Algonquian languages variously spelled squa, skwa, esqua, sqeh, skwe, que,...


Further reading


Fourth Edition
Includes sources (including quotes Russel Means at "I am an American Indian, Not a Native American!" and Christina Berry at "What's in a Name? Indians and Political Correctness", also referenced on this page).
Village Descriptions--Duwamish-Seattle.
Dailey referenced "Puget Sound Geography" by T. T. Waterman. Washington DC: National Anthropological Archives, mss. [n.d.
[ref. 2];
Duwamish et al. vs. United States of America, F-275. Washington DC: US Court of Claims, 1927. [ref. 5];
"Indian Lake Washington" by David Buerge in the Seattle Weekly, 1–7 August 1984 [ref. 8];
"Seattle Before Seattle" by David Buerge in the Seattle Weekly, 17–23 December 1980. [ref. 9];
The Puyallup-Nisqually by Marian W. Smith. New York: Columbia University Press, 1940. [ref. 10].
Recommended start is "Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound".
Part 1 and Part 2 of 2
Provides references.
  • Dyck, Michael (ed.) (16 June 2002). ibiblio - Open and Free Resources, the GNU version of The Collaborative International Dictionary of English, presented in the Extensible Markup Language. Based on GCIDE version 0.46 (15 April 2002). Retrieved 21 April 2006.


External links