Commonly used words that offend Indian people

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    Taken in its entirety by request of website: http://www.nativecircle.com/offensivewords.htm


    Squaw

    This is a word that has been used to refer to
    Indian women. Used to name many parks,
    valleys, mountains etc. The term 'squaw' is
    VERY offensive to Indian women. It has been
    equated to calling an Indian woman a 'whore'.
    Indian women should be called women-
    NOT 'squaws'....


    Redskin

    Used as a name for many sports teams, this
    word is offensive by its very nature. In it's
    origin, it refers to the bloody scalps of Indian
    children, women and men that were sold for
    bounties with animal skins in the USA. At
    this sad time in american history, Indians
    young and old, male and female, were hunted
    like animals. They were killed, then scalped.
    When these men would come to the trade post, they would receive money for their deer-skins,
    their, beaver-skins, their raccoon-skins,
    and their red-skins. It is a true shame that
    this horrifying word is still in wide use.


    Brave

    This is a word that has been used to refer to
    Indian men. Used in millions of books, and
    as a name for many sports teams, people are
    often surprized to find that it offends Indian
    people. But it does! It plays on the 'noble
    courageous savage' ideal that was pinned on
    Indian men long ago by early europeans. It
    also dehumanizes and equates the Indian
    male to something less than human. We are
    men, NOT 'braves'....


    Chief

    This is a word that is commonly given as a
    nickname which incorrectly labels Indian
    men. The cultural equivelant would be to
    nickname all white men 'Prez' or 'King'.
    Very few Indian men ever earn the elite and
    prestigous title of Chief of an Indian Nation.
    And not all Chiefs were/are men either.
    Our Chiefs were highly disrespected by
    the USA. So calling someone 'Chief', is just
    a way to continue that disrespect....


    Tonto

    Very simply put, this word is from the spanish
    language, and translated means 'stupid', 'idiot'
    or 'fool'. Enough said....


    Savage

    I don't think this one needs a whole lot of
    explaining. Indian people are not beasts,
    and we never were. But we were considered
    to be 'uncivilized' by european invaders
    merely because our societies were new to
    them. This 'new world' was and is, very
    old to the 1st Nations peoples....


    'Wild Indians'

    Ever heard somebody say, "Stop acting like a
    bunch of wild Indians"? This comes from a
    long held american stereotype that Indians were and are 'wild'. The simple fact is, anything that the white man could not tame, enslave or subdue was considered 'wild'. Consider the words 'wilderness' and 'wildlife'. So, the next time the kids are acting up, be sure to avoid referring to them as 'wild Indians'!


    Written by John Two-Hawks
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Mar 9, '06
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Thanks Thunderwolf for all the info. I must say that I learned something from your post. I will keep an eye out for any future posts from you on this topic.
  5. 0
    Thanks Thunderwolf for the list. It maddens me when people call me these names. They do not realize nor do they understand that these words are offensive. Alot of people that are unaware of who or what we (NAI) are, think these names are cute things to say.

    Here are two more offensive names
    Half-breed;
    Injun;


    Native
  6. 0
    Here a few other misconceptions:

    All children are not papooses.

    We do not greet each other by saying, "How".

    We don't say the word, "Ugh"

    And, the words, "Indian giver".........
  7. 0
    And, the words, "Indian giver".........[/quote]

    Yes, there is a story about the coyote and the spider which the moral is "once given, never take back" that is in the heart of all Natives from childhood to adult.
  8. 0
    I have been on the fight to eliminate the use of Native imagery and names from sports teams ever since I realized that "Chief Illiniwek" has nothing to do with Illiniwek culture. Being of NAI descent, and not knowing anything about the culture, I ate up every word I was taught about the mascot at the University of Illinois, thinking it was such a great thing. I was finally learning some of my lost history! Then I found out the truth, and I felt cheated and used. I try now to educate people I know. I especially dislike the use of "Redskins". I have asked the local tv stations to not use that name when reporting the scores of those teams -- to refer to the city or school only -- so that people get used to the idea that it is inappropriate. I believe Sports Illustrated has done this for several years. How do the rest of you feel about this issue?
  9. 0
    Quote from fotografe
    I have been on the fight to eliminate the use of Native imagery and names from sports teams ever since I realized that "Chief Illiniwek" has nothing to do with Illiniwek culture. Being of NAI descent, and not knowing anything about the culture, I ate up every word I was taught about the mascot at the University of Illinois, thinking it was such a great thing. I was finally learning some of my lost history! Then I found out the truth, and I felt cheated and used. I try now to educate people I know. I especially dislike the use of "Redskins". I have asked the local tv stations to not use that name when reporting the scores of those teams -- to refer to the city or school only -- so that people get used to the idea that it is inappropriate. I believe Sports Illustrated has done this for several years. How do the rest of you feel about this issue?
    fotografe, we all feel the same. It dishonors us and our honorable ancesters. I can only hope that hearts will open and the people will see that it is a terrible way to treat fellow humans.
    Native
  10. 0
    Quote from fotografe
    i have been on the fight to eliminate the use of native imagery and names from sports teams ever since i realized that "chief illiniwek" has nothing to do with illiniwek culture. being of nai descent, and not knowing anything about the culture, i ate up every word i was taught about the mascot at the university of illinois, thinking it was such a great thing. i was finally learning some of my lost history! then i found out the truth, and i felt cheated and used. i try now to educate people i know. i especially dislike the use of "redskins". i have asked the local tv stations to not use that name when reporting the scores of those teams -- to refer to the city or school only -- so that people get used to the idea that it is inappropriate. i believe sports illustrated has done this for several years. how do the rest of you feel about this issue?
    i only try and educate people as i can, fotografe. i have not been vocal as i should ....as you have. but, i will take a pro-active stance and have no problem doing it publically as needed.

    i admire your efforts.......

    chi chi
  11. 0
    Quote from siri
    Here a few other misconceptions:

    All children are not papooses.

    We do not greet each other by saying, "How".

    We don't say the word, "Ugh"

    And, the words, "Indian giver".........
    lol, I often say the word "ugh" but it's usually accompanied by a child-like sigh as I'm complaining about something...

    In a more serious light, I do appreciate these posts. Like many people whose family roots are deeply tied to New England, I am also of Native American heritage, and have always been very proud of it.


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