Re: STATISTICS 101 (was: Iroquois and the Constitution)

Jana Fortier (fortier@STUDENTS.WISC.EDU)
Fri, 9 Feb 1996 10:18:20 -0600

Hi Mr. E :-} I haven't been following this thread, but did notice &
contribute a comment when it got started a few weeks ago. In my classes
where I teach North Amer Indians, we discussed what Skins like to call
themselves. We decided that identities are best when people use the actual
name of a person's ancestry, such as "Ho-Chunk" "Menominee" "Anishinabe"
etc. This can tell alot more about a person than just saying the inherently
perjorative, though politically unifying, term, "Indian." It can teach
non-natives, too, that we value the uniqueness of each type of native peoples.

Even when dealing w/ people on othr continents, its helpful to identify by
ancestry like this. For example, the Cree sent a delegate to the 11th U.N.
conference of Indigenous Peoples. The rep doesn't say "I'm Native American"
but "I'm Cree from the United States". Its solid, real, w/ real traditions.

By the way, while were doing the ethnic identity thing, I should state that
I'm of Saami ancestry. THis does help me understand indigenous peoples'
basic human rights in the USA, I think. But I also honor my other
ancestors too, the Norwegian and the French. Its extremely important to
recognize all of our ancestors, even if society labels us by only one
political category or racial category (Black, White, Native American, etc.)
which doesn't acknowledge all of our roots.

... there is no large majority of Native Americans saying they
>want to be referred to as American Indians. Since when does one poll
>outweigh years of Native peoples striving to rid themselves of the
>euro-centrist title Indian? I may be wrong, but as the only Native American
>voice on the list so far ... maybe my opinion should have a bit more weight
>than a poll when speaking for my culture.