Enjoy your Indian taco while you can. Next year it might be an Indigenous taco. Photo: CreeHawk

Indian, Native or Indigenous. Which one would you choose?

What next: Indigenous Fry Bread?
By Native Sun News Today Editorial Board

The Central States Fair decided to go politically correct this year.

They are going to have a day for Native Americans and guess what they decided to call it? “Indigenous People’s Day: That’s right; Indigenous People’s Day.

What next: Indigenous fry bread?

Several years ago when the board of what is now the Native American Journalists Association was having its formative meeting on the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma one of the things on the agenda was selecting a name for the newly formed organization. Several names were kicked around including Indigenous Journalists Association.

One of the board members, a Paiute Indian from Nevada, said, “The day we start calling Indian fry bread indigenous fry bread; then I will know that we went too far with political correctness.” He added, “And I won’t be buying any Indigenous Tacos.”

Some of us got a good laugh out of the menu at the Laughing Water Restaurant at Crazy Horse Memorial a few months ago. On the menu they listed Native American Fry Bread. Wow! We guess that some politically correct visitor or employee got to them.

The great Lakota warrior Sitting Bull said, “I was born an Indian and I will die an Indian.” Notice he didn’t say indigenous. Someone said that Sitting Bull couldn’t have said that because he did not speak English, but they forget that he rode in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show all over America and Europe and he did know English. And by the way; we don’t say “Cowboys and Indigenous” or “Cowboys and Natives” do we? At least not yet? No, it is “Cowboys and Indians.” That’s what we played as kids. Surely Sitting Bull wasn’t wrong for knowing who he was.

Perhaps the younger generation is comfortable with the words indigenous or Native, but we have never heard an elder say when asked who he or she is say, “I am Native” or “I am indigenous.” They always say I am Lakota or I am an Indian.

When the leaders of the American Indian Movement met to decide on a name for the group they chose American Indian, not Native American or Indigenous. Russell Means thought it was the best description because everyone born in America is a Native American and the word Native can mean anything, like Native of South Dakota, Native taxidermist, etc.

Many years ago the not-so-politically-correct name Sioux struck holy terror into the hearts of the cavalry and settlers. A name that was a misnomer was made into a name to be respected and feared. The Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people lifted the name up.

Thom Little Moon did a cartoon several years ago that depicted a group of settlers sitting around a campfire and someone shouted, “The Oglala are coming,” and the settlers just yawned. Someone else shouted, “The Sioux are coming,” and the settlers immediately lit up with fear and scattered. That is what the Sioux people did to bring pride to a name that was first intended to demean them.

We will be having a Native American Day Parade in Rapid City and Sioux Falls in October. It will not be the Indigenous Day Parade, but Native American Day Parade. The word Native was picked by a bunch of white newspaper editors trying to find a way to describe Indians that Indians would not find offensive.

Keep that in mind whenever you call yourself Native. The name was chosen by the wasicus.


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