Re: Eurocentric Terms

Fri, 9 Feb 1996 11:43:00 CDT

Denise raises and interesting question.

> American Indian? Native American? both are Eurocentric terms in
>that America/American derives from Amerigo (Americus in Latin) Vespucci,
>(1451-1512) one of the earliest post-Columbus explorers of the "New"
>World. One could argue that American Indian is somehow more Eurocentric
>in that it displaces the pre-16th Century inhabitants of North America
>(there we go again--America) more radically than does Native American.

One of the surprises that I got when I began to work with the Wisconsin Indian
Education Association was that many of the indigenous peoples in Wisconsin
*preferred* the term American Indian. It was what they knew growing up; it was
what their organizations were named. If they were to be referred to as a group,
then they preferred American Indian. However, most preferred the names of
their ouw peoples to any collective noun -- Hocak (Ho-Chunk) instead of
Winnebago; Dene; etc.

Andrew Petto
UW Anthro
1180 Observatory Dr
MADISON WI 53706-1393