Friday, March 20, 2009
Don't call me Native American, Dammit!
Ok this started with a link I put up earlier. It's a local story here about teens shooting at homeless Indians in Rapid City. Rapid is so backwards with racism. You would think after all these years and a city that is pretty much surrounded by nine reservations, they would accept Indians. Many people move off the reservation to the nearest city in the hopes of a better life for their young families. I did this when I was 19 and pregnant. I soon moved to Minnesota because I couldn't get past how I was treated and in turn it was making me racist towards non-Indians.
Anyways, one person amongst the many that think we (Indians) are making too big of a deal over the shootings and piss throwing, is irate over the fact that the newspaper calls us Native Americans. Not mad at the issue of racism, throwing of human waste, or hate crimes, but the fact that the newspaper, not us, called us Indians Native Americans. They say something like "Hey I was born and raised here, I'm a white Native American."
First off let me start by saying the term Native American was created by some noopid twit in the 60's who thought that calling us Native American was supposed to be a "politcally correct" and more polite term of saying "Hey, all you 500 tribes here in America, we have a new label for you."
More and more newspapers and other media outlets are calling us Native Americans. At this point, along with some others, I don't think we really care about the political correctness because as the commenter said "I was born here too." They're right. We are all native to somewhere.
The big deal with the word Indian is some believe that Columbus named us that and some believe it was derived from the word Indios. Well let me quote my mentor columnist Tim Giago here.
~I am a firm believer that most historians are wrong when they credit Christopher Columbus for coining the word "Indian" because he thought he was landing his ships in India. In 1492 there was no country known as India. Instead that country was called Hindustan. I think that is closer to the truth that the Spanish padre that sailed with Columbus was so impressed with the innocence of the Natives he observed that he called them Los Ninos in Dios. My spelling may be wrong on the Spanish words, but the description by the padre means something like "Children of God." ~
Who knows where the word came from, but I like to think that Columbus didn't give it to us, since for centuries it was also believed that he discovered America. It was also believed he was a hero and not a murdering, pillaging, rapist. What do we know.
Screw labels, but if you must, please don't refer to me as a Native American. Call me American Indian if it makes you feel more politically correct, call me Oglala Lakota Sioux if you want to get technical or just Lakota for short. Call me a Skin if you're a skin too. Or call me Dana, if you know me.
Every human being that landed on the shores of America was an immigrant. They came to this land from Europe bringing along their baggage filled with religious strife and racial prejudice. They discovered that this was not an empty land, but a land filled with thousands upon thousands of industrious and spiritual people. They took from the Natives their industriousness in order to survive and crushed the spiritual because it was not only beyond their comprehension, but a challenge to the teachings of their Holy Bible.
~Tim Giago, Indianz.com