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

Stephen Barnard (
Tue, 30 Jul 1996 00:53:52 -0800

Eric Brunner wrote:
> Mr. Barnard,
> I don't intend to simply give offense, however I do think that it is
> unlikely that anyone will actually give your writings on the subject
> of Early Contact Period social grouping or interactions or the nuances
> of the archaeological record or ethnographic issues more than a passing
> glance, whereas those of Ms. Williams are more interesting than those
> of quite a few others (as David Rindos observed here just a few days
> ago).

To a first approximation I know nothing about the Early Contact
Period, and I've never claimed to, so I don't understand the intention
of your insult. But I'll let that pass.

Here's the real deal:

When I want to refer to, shall we say, "the people (and their
descendants) who participated in the Early Contact Period who weren't
of European descent," then I face a problem. What can I call them
that will be (1) clear and unambiguous, and (2) not give offense.

Indians? No. That's ambiguous and offensive to some people.

Aborigines? No. That's already used for Australians in common speech
and would probably be offensive since it implies primitive.

Native Americans? No. That's ambiguous and very slightly offensive
to me, since I'm a native (small n) American.

Amerind? Nope. Offensive.

Do you see the problem? I'd really like a solution to this. I'm not
comfortable feeling like I'm about to be pounced on for racism at any

Steve Barnard