Re: Amerind an offensive term (was: Early Amerind assimilation

Shannon Adams (
Wed, 31 Jul 1996 14:29:01 -0700

Mary Beth Williams wrote:
> Being a *native* is not about the place of one's birth, but of whose
> womb one descends from (with the exception of legitimate adoption by
> *natives*.) It takes only one generation for a non-native to produce a
> native -- but first one needs to find a native mate.
> As long as there are legitimate indigenous (native) peoples in a
> region, invaders/immigrants will never ascend to that position -- it
> only can occur when the original group becomes *extinct*... Hence, the
> motivation behind the *policy of extermination* which has dominated
> white relations with American Indians since 1639.
> MB Williams (Penobscot/Kennebec/Maliseet)
> Dept. of Anthro., UMass-Amherst

Your definition of *native* seems a bit shakey. Is the requirement of an
extinct first population part of your definition because that would
explain why Native Americans (immigrants themselves) could be considered
*native*. For that matter, could you honestly refer to Americans of
European descent to be native Europeans when most of the European peoples
immigrated themselves. Would the Celts or the Basques or whoever you
chose to pick as the first people be the only native Europeans?
I understand that Amerind is not a term you want used. That's
great. I won't use it. I won't use Indian either (I had a Sikh friend
who had brief flashes of irritation when he had to explain that he was an
"Indian from India"). But in this same vein, how appropriate is the term
Anglo-American to persons of Irish descent. Following "Centuries of
British Oppression" (this is a quote from an ethnography on rural
Irishmen), an immigration to this continent, they are refered to as the
same people who they wanted to get away from--Anglos.
I guess I'm trying to say that everyone, every people has
something to be offended about, and something about them that offends