INDIAN vs NATIVE AMERICAN
indigo at WELL.COM
Wed Jan 10 08:26:06 UTC 2001
>>well, this is of some controversy among the folks themselves, as I undrstand
>>it: some folks prefer "Indian" and think of "Native American" as a bit of PC
>>jargon created by patronizing white folks.
>My impression agrees with Ron's: Even in the early '80s, when I was doing
>research on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations, natives called
>themselves "Indian" and smiled at whites' use of N.A.
I think it often depends on context. Being one of those PC people myself
(undergrad degree in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley & still live in
Berkeley) & being around plenty of PC people (of all colors) all the time,
I can report that some of the same people who say "Indian", "black" or
"Asian" in casual contexts, especially among friends, will steadfastly
insist upon "Native American" (or "indigenous" or "First Nations", or
sometimes "American Indian"), "African American" and "Asian American" (or
"Asian Pacific American" or "Asian and Pacific Islander") in more formal,
mixed &/or "unfriendly" contexts.
Then there are those who argue passionately in favor of "Indian" for
general use, notably the famous writer Sherman Alexie.
& then there are those who would ideally identify everybody more
specifically, i.e. Ojibwe, Lakota, Menominee, &c. &c.
Also there's the class/education angle on all of this. Ethnic Studies
college students get into splitting these hairs.
fwiw, I'm Chinese American & those formative undergrad years were in the
indigo at well.com
Poets don't have hobbies; they have obsessions --Leonard Nathan
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