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What do you call the indigenous people of the Americas?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by carmen510, Mar 27, 2011.

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What do you call them?

  1. Indians

    36 vote(s)
    29.0%
  2. Amerindians

    9 vote(s)
    7.3%
  3. Native Americans/natives

    60 vote(s)
    48.4%
  4. Indigenous people/population (of the Americas)

    3 vote(s)
    2.4%
  5. (American) Aboriginals

    4 vote(s)
    3.2%
  6. Other (please specify)

    8 vote(s)
    6.5%
  7. Who cares what you call them?

    4 vote(s)
    3.2%
  1. Lillefix

    Lillefix I'm serious. You can.

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    Yeah, I misread his post. Somehow I couldn't comprehend that an American would ever live in India.
     
  2. NickyJ

    NickyJ Retired Narrator

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    Redskins! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Stupid NFL thread. :p) What I really call them: Indians. Do I really care what they're called? Not really.
     
  3. North King

    North King blech

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    Indians doesn't really work for scholars; it's unnecessarily ambiguous. Sure, you can figure it out from context, but why bother with that? Anyone who gets their breeches in a twist over "Native Americans" or "aboriginal Americans" is being silly, IMHO. I tend to just use the term "Native Americans", and then "Natives" when it's clear which natives I'd be talking about.
     
  4. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Seeing as how the terms are different in the U.S. and Canada (Native American vs First Nations), I wonder what terms are used in other countries on the continent?
     
  5. Lillefix

    Lillefix I'm serious. You can.

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    Just wondering. Do you Americans refer the Spanish speaking native Americans as native Americans too, or do you just call them Hispanics and lump them together with the Spanish speaking people of European decent? One of the reasons I ask this is because of a huge thread in the CIV3 or Civ4 forum, where several people(or at least one in particular), refused to acknowledge the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs as native Americans(it's closed now).
     
  6. North King

    North King blech

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    Any serious and knowledgeable person will call them Native Americans or something equivalent rather than Hispanics. The two are completely different terms.
     
  7. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    It tripped me up as I was making the post as well. ;)
     
  8. Miles Teg

    Miles Teg Nuclear Powered Mentat

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    Native American or Indian, depending on the context. I used to be pretty strict about using the term "Native American" until I read Charles Mann's 1491, where he noted that the term the indigenous people of America seemed to prefer the term Indian. So now I just use whatever seems less likely to turn the conversation towards an irrelevant tangent about etymology.
     
  9. BSmith1068

    BSmith1068 Deity Retired Moderator

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    Yes, they are also Native Americans or American Indians.

    The National Museum of the American Indian here in DC (Smithsonian) has exhibits for most of the main Native American tribes and include the Central and South American tribes.
     
  10. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    I agree. As long as the context isn't ambiguous, what's the difference?
     
  11. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    I defer to my Indian friends. Knowing full well all the arguments against calling people from the nations in the Americas before 1492 that term. But, I defer to those who actually are Indians and who call themselves Indians.

    Of course English is a language fat with synonyms. They'll call themselves "native peoples" and "native Americans" interchangeably (with the same fluidity by which I call myself white, Anglo, and WASP (but NOT European American--ugh, I hate that term). Still, they answer to Indian and treat it as a term of respect. I notice they don't utilize "indigenous nations" much and never say "Amerinds" or "First Nations." The latter is, I believe, a Canadian term of art.

    But seriously, never call me European-American. Nothing about me is European. Don't get me wrong; I'm not prejudiced. Some of my best friends are Europeans. But what they are is not connected to me.



    Great question. In Latin American history books and in Spanish popular culture, the tern "indios" seems to be in fashion. As a rule, Spanish-American culture seems to be a lot less hung up on race and on particular terminologies for races than Anglo-America. The term "mestizo" still has socio-political relevance today, whereas in the US it's really more a matter of social choice what race you are (within reasonable limits).

    I have a good friend who's, near as I can figure, about 1/4 Navajo and 3/4s Caucasian, but is accepted as fully Indian among his tribe. I have another who's is fully 50% Osage, but who grew up in mainstream white culture and self identifies as white, even to the point of giving up some free-for-life oil money that comes with the right paperwork.

    In most of Latin America, you'd never get away with that sort of spongy if-it-feels-good standard for race. Somehow they've managed to be both more liberal and more conservative about racial matters in comparison to Los EEUU. Mexico, of course, "solved" its racial identity problem years ago with an official policy of "we're all mestizos." But it's worth noting that most men of power & influence end up with fair skinned brides.

    At the root of this, I suspect, is the different tacks the two cultural spheres took to modern racial understanding. Spanish-American culture began with the acceptance of racial blending in their colonization years and evolved a complex code of racial standards from blanco to zambo to castizo to chamizo to "Ahi Tan Estas" and all sorts of subcategories inbetween. In the end, the legalistic approach was too complicated to be sustained under a republican culture and much of it was chucked over with a characteristic Latin shrug. Anglo-American culture was troubled with the one-drop rule and all the abuses pertaining thereto. Outside of New Orleans (where the Creole vs Black cultural divide held strong into the 20th Century) the US culture invented all sorts of socio-economic stigmas to constrain those with one drop plus from feeling like that liberty and equality stuff applied to them.

    It's all BS, of course. Race doesn't really matter except to the extent that you humans think it does.
     
  12. illram

    illram Deity

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    In college, my Native American Studies professor (who was Hoopa) said that the preferable term if you're not referring to a specific tribe, contrary to popular belief, was "Indian." Where I went to school there were alot of Indians and they all referred to themselves as either by their tribe or as "Indians." I never really inquired further in that regard. I do distinctly remember that though, so now I say Indian and then (white) people tell me I am being disrespectful! What a world.
     
  13. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    Native Americans, if there's not a better specific label at hands. "Indian" is both ignorantly-derived and confusing.
     
  14. illram

    illram Deity

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    But should a peoples' own opinion on what to call themselves matter? :confused:
     
  15. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    My experience with actual Indian friends is the same as yours (I use the term "friend" informally here, as only one of them was an actual Quaker). But as pointed out elsewhere in this thread, the terminology is only useful culturally. For academic purposes, both Indian and Native American can be confusing terms, as social scientists tend to make a fetish out of that "exhaustive and mutually exclusive" standard for their studies.


    The only reason to feel any resentment over this term is if one is looking for an excuse to feel resentment. Frankly, the approach of most Americans to the topic of race is a little too colored with pique.
     
  16. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    Who said anything about race? Native Americans can be white, black, brown, pink, purple, fuchsia, you name it. Has absolutely nothing to do with race at all. Get out of the old world way of looking at things.
     
  17. NovaKart

    NovaKart شێری گەورە

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    I think in some Latin American countries it's a bit insulting to say indio and they prefer the term indigena. In some places like Guatemala there's still some ethnic tension among indigenous and culturally Spanish people.

    The term Native American is as far as I know normally just used for natives of the USA. I guess strictly speaking you could use it to describe anyone from the American continents but I haven't really heard it used that way in practice. The word I've heard most often is indigenous or Amerindian in this context.

    Normally I just say American Indians. It's true that historically it's based on a misconception but then the names for so many other ethnicities are too.

    One example, from wikipedia:

    This is according to a modern theory so perhaps it's not entirely true.
     
  18. Miles Teg

    Miles Teg Nuclear Powered Mentat

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    Race isn't the same thing as skin color VR.
     
  19. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    well I don't know what people mean other that. Because there is only one actual RACE, the human race.
     
  20. PeteAtoms

    PeteAtoms FormulaRandom

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    I just call them "Indians." Not that it is an authoritative reason to do so, but an Indian speaker made a presentation to my Anthro class a month ago and referred to herself and her people as "Indians."

    I also don't care if a team or school decides to use an Indians as a mascot in name or imagery. Slightly off topic, but a similar issue.
     

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