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Nov
22
2010

Unless you lived in some urban, egalitarian, utopian community, you probably go teased when you were little – especially around Thanksgiving time.  “Indians” were the theme of many songs, crafts and activities – and there were several levels of teasing, from simple questions like “Do you live in a teepee?” to the more blatant, racist forms – my lease favourite of which was the yodeling (the “aw-wa-wa-wa-wa…,” coupled with flapping hands over the mouth).  Awful.

These days, even though most schools use the term “Native American,” I’ll bet the “Indian” word still slips out sometimes.  I only hope parents and educators are teaching kids to be more tolerant these days.  But whatever situation my kids face, I’d want them to be armed with facts and knowledge – the best defense as my father always says.

I chanced upon these 2 books from the our local library:  More Than Moccasins (a craft book with very simple, doable activities) which is worth purchasing and If You Lived With The Cherokee (this is part of series – the other books feature other Native American tribes).  The latter is perhaps a bit over-simplified, but just right for kids 4-8.

So, no, we are not “that kind of Indian.”

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2 Responses to “Not That Kind Of Indian”

  1. CM Says:

    I’ve been told that now the preferred term is “Indian.” I refuse to use it. I continue to use Native American because it makes more sense and because the term “Indian” is already taken, but I’ve been told that I’m being inappropriate because Native Americans would rather be called Indians now.

  2. Navjot Says:

    As a teacher (in Canada), this question has often come up in the classroom. The term “Indians” when referring to the First Nations or Aboriginal Peoples originated from a misconception by Christopher Columbus on his search for the New World. When he thought he’d landed in India, he called the people “Indians”. For this reason, using the name “Indian” in this context would not necessarily be considered an informed choice, yet it is still widely used.