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

Stephen W. Russell (
Fri, 2 Aug 1996 11:07:14 -0500

On 1 Aug 1996, Jonathan W. Hendry wrote:

> Stephen W. Russell ( wrote:
> : When I write, I try for tribal names--real ones--and then I whip back and
> : forth between Native American and Indian depending upon nothing more
> : esoteric than how many syllables sound good in the sentence. That'll
> : work in just about everything I have ever read.
> It gets exasperating when someone insists on tribal names. There are
> legitimate reasons for generalizing. When referring to people who
> live on Manhattan Island, one calls them New Yorkers. One need not
> list every ethnic group which is represented by an individual on
> Manhattan Island. Likewise, one needs a shorthand to refer to the
> people who lived here before Europeans arrived, and their descendants.
> Just like I used the word 'Europeans' above, rather than listing every
> European ethnic group. The fact is that things which are similar tend
> to be grouped together for discussion (hence the entire taxonomic
> system). Native Americans, of all tribes, have things in common,
> if only that they are descended from the people who were in North
> America first. This alone is justification for not using tribal names
> at times.
> On the other hand, sometimes tribal names should be expected. It
> depends entirely on the context.

Well, gee whiz, I'm sorry you are exasperated. If I was going to suggest
that this whole deal is a proxy for something else, I just thought that
pointing out how I have managed to publish in journals edited both by
Indians and by non-Indians without any major hassles might be useful to
those who were really asking a question...

As for people clinging to tribal identity, you overlook that there was no
such thing as either "Indian" or "Native American" until we looked around
and saw so few of us left.

All honor to Tecumseh!

Steve Russell