Re: What now to call "primitives"?

Thu, 12 Jan 1995 22:42:25 EST

I sent this a week ago as a private post, but since the topic
is continuing on the list, here's a bit more. One evil
correction however. There is one time when I use "primitive"
and I quite delight in doing so: "primitive Christianity."
The term refers in religious studies to the first centuries--
those pre-Constantine years. Of course there's some prefer
to refer to that time period as "Patristics" or "Early Church
Fathers," but I'll stick with "primitive Christianity." For
someone doing Native Religions, it really is nice to turn
the tables.
Maureen Korp
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Try using the name by which they call themselves and add "people"--
as in, the "Cree" or the "Cree people." If you need a collective,
and you will, "peoples" works well added to whatever the needed
descriptive is...."Woodlands peoples" (geographic)
"Algonkian peoples" (language, culture)

need a bigger collective? Well, in my work I use (depending on the
specific need), "Amerindian peoples"
"First Nations"
"First People"
"Native Peoples" (also in lower case)
indigenous people(s)

I think you have to take it case by case. If all else fails, one
could mumble through something like "small-scale societies" and I
have. I have, however, given up on such things as "primal societies"
or "pre-literate" as the phrases sorta stuck in my throat. The above
suggestions are my own. I really haven't run across any good discussion
on this, so I've been playing it by ear.

(PS: Cree might not be the best example. I am not sure that is
current name. These things have been changing. For example, Ojibway--
also spelled Ojibwa and in the U.S. Chippewa--are more and more self-
identified as "Anishnabe." But, no matter, you see the point anyway.)

best wishes,