Sorry, but the correct term is ‘American Indian’

First, I have to confess I am part Cherokee so all my views on American Indians and issues surrounding them are influenced by my background. I am extremely proud of being a member of the Cherokee Nation. Listening to the politically correct espousing thoughts on “Native Americans” gets my goat as the saying goes. The American Indian tribes all supported the naming of the new Smithsonian Museum as the American Indian Museum – because we don’t like the term “Native American.” That term merely means one is born in the Americas. We American Indian tribes are very proud of our inheritance, and we like the term American Indian, although we really prefer being called by our tribes’ names – Cherokee, Sioux, Seminole, Apache, Arapaho, Navajo, etc.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, image via

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, image via

I want to know who came up with the politically correct term that all the commentators – who don’t know better – use? Did someone not ask the tribes? The Smithsonian did which is why the name is American Indian Museum. The most radical of the various American Indian movements even uses the name – it is called AIM, which stands for American Indian Movement. It doesn’t take rocket scientists to figure out what we like to be called, and the only better option is to know the actual name of one’s tribe. So if you really want to be correct, ask the tribal name of an American Indian and call him or her that.

So now we get to this week’s American Indian issue — the drive to change the name of the Washington Redskins. I don’t care about the name or the team. As a matter of fact, many who live in D.C. are enjoying the whole issue since the owner of the team is not exactly the most beloved of D.C. residents. Quite a large number of locals feel that the current issue of whether the name of the team should be changed is amusing simply because it causes the owner, Dan Snyder, to have to deal with the issue. And, perhaps, be embarrassed by the whole controversy. Recently, the D.C. Council has requested he change the name. In fact, the last time a poll was taken amongst the America Indians, they could care less about the name of the D.C. football team. At the moment, a small group has brought the issue to life from the Oneida Nation (a New York tribe) who is pushing for the name change. There have been calls to change the Redskins name in the past but to no avail. Even though the President said he would consider changing the name if he were the owner of the team, I doubt that Snyder will care about the opinion of someone who has no percentage of ownership calling for change.

We shall wait and see what happens — and for those who believe the owner of the team has something to do with the poor performance of the players — there will be great enjoyment at putting the owner in an uncomfortable position! Most American Indians, though, really don’t care. (Although perhaps if the Redskins were a winning team, some would want to keep the name. That would be an interesting research project. Does the push to change the name always fall during a losing streak?)

It would just be nice if I didn’t have to hear broadcasters and pundits use a term that American Indians do not use, do not like, and have never asked for anyone to use. American Indians and individual tribes are very proud of their heritage and their background. We are proud to have our own museum as part of the national Smithsonian Institution. Maybe someday, people will do a little research and thinking before using a “politically correct” term that is not correct for the people to whom they refer.

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1 Response to Sorry, but the correct term is ‘American Indian’

  1. Joe says:

    Excellent and very useful.

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