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When someone says "native American" do they mean Mexican? or Hawaiian?

 
 
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 09:18 pm
That was the question Mo asked me tonight.

"Uhhhh.... well.... America is both a country and a continent...." said I.... "So Mexicans would be Native Americans and Hawaii became a state of the country America in 1959 so uhhhhh..... I guess that Hawaiian natives would be Native Americans..... but since it wasn't part of America until then I..... uhhhhh...... well.....and.... uhhhh...... Canada.... it is part of the continent America sooooo....... Could you give me some context?"

It turns out he was talking about American Indian tribes.

But I think it is very interesting the way he phrased the question.

Interesting and perplexing.

I don't think he's wrong.

But I'm not sure he's right.

How, exactly, is "Native American" defined?

Thanks!
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 09:25 pm
This is a major peeve for me. The aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas are referred to as "Native Americans" if one is being politically correct. But they don't mean Mexicans, and they don't mean anyone of European descent who was born in North or South America, although the certainly makes them native Americans. I suspect Mo is getting the standard, contemporary academic propaganda, and you would do well to explain to him that that is how it is considered correct in school to refer to the Amerindians. You might also decide for yourself if he has a sufficiently sophisticated intellect to understand how the term is routinely abused, and that in fact, he, as well as you and Mr. Boom, are all natives of North America, and therefore, just as deserving of the title of Native American.

We stole Hawaii from the Hawaiians in 1897. I don't think it would be correct to refer to anyone born in the Hawaiian Islands as Native Americans, but far be it from me to contradict them if that view of mine is not considered politically correct.
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 09:35 pm
A person with Hawiian heritige would be Polynesian.

Native Hawaiians (in Hawaiian, kānaka ʻōiwi, kānaka maoli or Hawaiʻi maoli) refers to the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants.

In the 2000"2010 U.S. Census the term "'Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander' refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa or other Pacific Islands. ... They are of Polynesian, Micronesian and Melanesian cultural backgrounds." The US Census counts Indigenous Australians (why arn't they just Australians?) and Maori, the natives of New Zealand, as part of the Pacific Islander race.



0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 09:49 pm
I thought my headline might lure you in here, Set, and I'm glad it did.

Being a left-coaster I know many Hawaiians and never have I heard one describe themselves as "Native Americans" so I was baffled when Mo posed this question to me.

Amerindians didn't enter into his equation at all. It took some coaxing for me to determine that that is what he meant.

And yes, dadpad, Polynesian or Pacific Islander, is the terminology I've always used.

It was just such a curious damn question; out of left field.....

I suppose if the question comes up again I'll just say that if you're born on the continent of America you are a Native American.

Also, I have known a lot of people from various tribes and they usually define themselves by the tribal name "Ponca", "Cherokee", "Coquille", whatever, instead of Native Americans. I guess it's like someone would say "German" or "French" or "Scottish" instead of "European".

Such a strange phrase, this "Native American".......
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 09:50 pm


Cultural boundaries change over time but most Mexican people would, i suspect, not identify themselves as Native Americans. I suspect also that most people living on the American continent would also not include Native Hawiians and Mexican people within their definition of native American.
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  3  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 10:55 pm
"Native American" is an American term. It's what used to be called Indians who live in the .continentalUSA. They objected to "Indian" because it apparently dates back to C0lumbus, who thought he'd discovered India. Since they had no connection with India, a number of them didn't like being called that (that wasn't the only misnomer: several tribes are called not by what they call themselves but what neighboring tribes, often their enemies, called them, which whites, who contacted the neighboring tribes first learned from them. Since those names meant something like "rotten murderers", since they were enenmies, those tribes were not particularly keen on those names either. "Native" in this case means something like "people whose ancestors have been here so long they've forgotten what other land they came from, or whose creation stories say they've always been here and were in fact created here". So if we were born here, yeah, in some sense we're natives, but it's a different sense of the term.

Canadians use several other terms--there doesn't seem to be agreement: Original Peoples, indigenouse peoples, First Nations, are some of them I think there's a Canadian governnment term for them, but I can't remember what it is.

"Indio" in Spanish, in Latin America, incidentally, usually has pejorative connotations--backward, dumb, ignorant, in very class-conscious societies. "Mestizo" [="mixed") or"cholo" or "criollo"(cognate to "creole")can also be pejorative, but they're a bit higher on the prestige scale, having taken on some of the cultural trappings of the dominant peoples of Europena descent. They can have both racial and cultural content as terms.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 11:11 pm
@Setanta,
This has nothing to do with political correctness.

It's a simple distinction. snall 'n' native Americans refers to those people of the USA that, basically, were not born outside of the USA. Big 'N' Native Americans refers to the descendants of those who inhabited the land before the white guys arrived.

Quote:


M-W



Main Entry: Native American
Function: noun
Date: 1737
: a member of any of the aboriginal peoples of the western hemisphere ; especially : a Native American of North America and especially the United States " compare american indian
" Native American adjective

===============

Main Entry: American Indian
Function: noun
Date: 1732
: a member of any of the aboriginal peoples of the western hemisphere except often the Eskimos ; especially : an American Indian of North America and especially the United States " compare native american
" American Indian adjective

0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 05:27 am
@boomerang,
The term native Americans is interesting and even more so now that DNA technology now allow us to see waves of migration over ten of thousands of years in the so call native American populations.

In other word only a small fraction so call native Americans are related to a first wave of migration the rest arriving thousands or ten of thousands of years after the first wave.

The term is more PC then anything else and used to separated the last large migration from the rest and who people have far less moral rights to the lands then all the other waves of migrations by some strange logic.


sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 06:42 am
We have many East Indian in our population, and some Mexican Indians, too.

I was corrected by a tribe in WI when I called them Native Americans. They wanted to be called Amerian Indians.

We could ask them what they want to be called, you know.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 07:28 am
@BillRM,
Quote:

The term is more PC then anything else and used to separated the last large migration from the rest and who people have far less moral rights to the lands then all the other waves of migrations by some strange logic.


This is bullshit.

Whatever term you want to use, European immigrants who direct ancestors had arrived less than 100 years earlier profited handsomely for killing "them" (whatever term you want to use).

Do you want to justify the Trail of Tears? I particularly want to know if the Cherokee had any "moral rights".
ebrown p
 
  0  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 07:42 am
Quote:

"Indio" in Spanish, in Latin America, incidentally, usually has pejorative connotations--backward, dumb, ignorant, in very class-conscious societies. "Mestizo" [="mixed") or"cholo" or "criollo"(cognate to "creole")can also be pejorative, but they're a bit higher on the prestige scale, having taken on some of the cultural trappings of the dominant peoples of Europena descent. They can have both racial and cultural content as terms.


You don't really have much exposure with the Mexican culture, do you?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 08:27 am
The use of the term Native American has a political implication which the overly sensitive promoters of political rectitude are unwilling to acknowledge. It conveys in a subtle manner an inference that people of European descent aren't native and don't belong here. The Amerindians need to reconcile themselves to their history and accept the fact that the majority population of North America are descended from Europeans, and that, having been born here, they are just as native as anyone else. They aren't going to leave, the Amerindians are not going to return to some idyllic past which never existed in the first place. There is a pure political motive in using the term Native American, and those who don't acknowledge that simply continue to abet the attitude of those who live in a dream world, longing for a past which never existed and which they would be incapable of recapturing even if it had. Living in the past is what it is all about, and living in the past never did anyone any good.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 08:47 am
@ebrown p,
First the time frame was a great deal longer then a 100 years ago and the people here before the evil Europeans was more then willing to take land from each other and war on each other.

Second the trial of tears was long after the tribes time after time had war on the Europenas joining at times such powers as the French and the English.

Having tribes more then willing to kill you and your family in the night seem to call for some actions like moving them.

Yes we did evil things to the indians but they also did evil things to us they was hardly a peaceful people and the only differnce between Europenas and the Indeans was we was better at war then they happen to be.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 09:02 am
@Setanta,
Setanta,

We have touched on this topic before, and I agree with your point about moving on and accepting what happened has happened and leaving the past behind. And... sure there are people who the term "Native American" to push a historical fantasy toward an impossible future.

I think you are wrong to paint everyone who uses the term "Native American" with the same brush.

The issue of ethnic identity is complex, but it is important part of who we are. There are African-Americans (who identify themselves this way) who live perfectly reasonable lives as productive parts of society. There are Irish Americans (who will tell you with completely certainly they identify as Irish). And there are Jewish Americans (who identify themselves as Jewish). Incidently all of these people are also fully American.

I have a friend who identifies herself as Native American in the same way. She is not particularly radical, she lives a fairly typical and successful life. What being Native American means to her her business (and is important to her). But, I don't think you would have the right to tell her what term she would use to describe herself.

Having an ethnic identity is an important thing on an individual level and on a societal level. This is why so many Americans wear green in March, paint Italian flags for festival days, say centuries old prayers in Greek or Hebrew and dance the Polka.

ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 09:08 am
@BillRM,
Quote:
Yes we did evil things to the indians but they also did evil things to us they was hardly a peaceful people...


You are obviously comfortable justifying evil. I can't argue with that.
eoe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 09:27 am
I thought the term "Native American" was born out of resentment for the generic term of "Indians"? I've never heard it in reference to Mexicans, Hawaiians or any other peoples.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 09:27 am
@ebrown p,
Oh, Ebrown you might look up the lost colony of Virginia and the French and Indians war or the complete history of Jamestown to find out how peaceful the Indian tribes happen to had been.

From time to time some tribes was allies to the European settlers but overall even fairly late into our history they was an arm threat that needed to be deal with.

Did we have a right to take land from them? We had just as must right to do so as the tribes did to take land from each other or for that matter the same right to wipe whole tribes as they also did.

If my memory serve me correctly the Jamestown settlers join with a number of allies Indian tribe to war and wipe out a very troublesome local tribe that have a history of killing and raiding their neighboring tribes.

History is never simple and seldom allow black and white pictures to be drawn nor does it tend to allow our current moral standards to be apply to people living far in the past and dealing with life and death situations of a nature we no longer face.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 09:33 am
@ebrown p,
You are obviously comfortable justifying evil. I can't argue with that
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And you my friend are comforatable applying your standards of moral on people who live far in the past and who was facing situtitions we are not.

People like you in the future will be calling into question actions we had taken that are hundred percent correct under our current moral standards.

We had seen this in the lifetime of some people still alive today concerning actions taken during WW2.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 02:57 pm
@ebrown p,
That's all well and good, E_Brown, but the propagandistic aspect of the term Native American cannot be ignored. It is often passed over in silence, but AIM and Russel Means in the 1970s didn't like the term Native American, and preferred to refer to themselves as Indians (after all, American Indian Movement) because they felt that they, as a people should confront their history, and force the white boys to confront it, as well. Phil Sheridan didn't talk about Native Americans, he said the only good Indian he had ever met was dead. I can understand why some people wouldn't want to use the term Indian, but many historians and ethnologists, who don't have a political ax to grind, refer to these people as Amerindians. I am comfortable with that.

I know i'm swimming against the tide with regard to the term Native American. But i do, of course, have a right to express my opinion (and know that you acknowledge that), and i have a right to point out how the term came into currency in the bad old days of the 1970s, as the "New Left" was imploding, and political rectitude was rearings its ugly head. I do have good reason to point out the political uses of the term.

Finally, i am not, and never have told anyone what they can call themselves--and this is not the first time you've brought up that red herring.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 06:47 pm
@boomerang,
Boomer, this is a really nice map of the all tribes Mo might want to checkout. You can enlarge it on this site:

http://independencetrail.org/native-americans.html

http://independencetrail.org/images/indian-poster-sm.jpg
0 Replies
 
 

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