Donald M. Lance LanceDM at MISSOURI.EDU
Thu Dec 14 20:10:18 UTC 2000

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:

> I have assumed that this usage means "the people who were found there by
> the first outside explorers that we know about", "we" being something like
> "modern civilization" or "participants of technological European-derived
> culture". Please, no flames! I'm just trying to get a fix on what is meant
> here.

No flame.  You're quite right.  An irony is that the Delawares are not indigenous to
Oklahoma if we take a regional view, but the national use of the term to refer to the
Delawares implies that they were "indigenous to the North American continent" and in our
definition we're not gonna worry about what happened to the Delawares along the way.  The
transparent subtext in some of the discussion on ADS-L is what white Europeans, including
the Spanish and French and Dutch, and most of all white Americans, did to the Indians
(probably Russians in the northwest too).  The question "Which groups were indigenous to
Oklahoma?" clearly narrows the spatial reference to which we are applying the term and no
one would include the Delawares or Cherokees in the answer.  But no one would argue about
whether all the Indians in Oklahoma were indigenous to North America.  To whom would the
phrase "indigenous peoples IN (not of) Oklahoma" refer?  It would just be a fuzzy
question.  I think Sali's initial question was asking about recent connotations that
reflect a new brand of insensitivity.

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