Is The Word “Indian” Offensive?

The Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star, is engaged in a dispute with members of the Native Earth Performing Arts, a theater company, over its use of the word “Indian.” The group regards the use of this expression as an insult in describing or identifying the lives of many people who live in Canada. “To use the term, ‘Indian,’ when referring to Aboriginal people is considered derogatory,” according to the organization. A member of the organization said the Star’s policy was as “educated as Christopher Columbus was an expert navigator.” The newspaper’s view is that while the word is objectionable to many people, it still has meaning under Canada’s Constitution and there is still the “Indian Act” which is on the books.

The word is also greatly debated in the United States where its opponents prefer the expression ‘Native American.” Actually, the people being discussed are no more “aboriginals” or Native Americans than Indians. Their real names are Algonquin or in the United States, Iroquois or Delaware or Apache or Sioux and so on. I am always fascinated how individuals in the Untied States become infuriated at the word “Indian”and insist it should be “Native America.” The word “American” comes from Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian. I would find the word “aboriginal” to be an insult. People who lived in the western hemisphere had names. If we Americans want to be called “American” it just goes to prove we are all Italians under the sun.

P.S. A member of the theater group said the Star was “as educated as Christopher Columbus was as an expert navigator.” I would invite that person to sail four times across the Atlantic Ocean in boats that were as big as the size of a tennis court and only have two accidents. Columbus was a brilliant navigator regardless of whether or not anyone likes or does not like what he did. Oh, one of the accidents occurred while he was asleep on Christmas Eve, 1492.

  • kellie

    i think that its wrong calling them indian thats not their name people wouldnt like it if someone called them something that their not soppes to be called i get very affended when somecall me somehting im not :)