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Why are Native Americans still called Indians?
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Why are Native Americans still called Indians?

It gets kind of annoying to explain which indian you are when someone asks you what race you are. Isn't rather humorous that we give them this name because some white guy couldn't admit he was lost and did not ask for directions. In other words Columbus did not want to look like an a$$ in front of his crew so he lied.
Additional Details
I am not mad that CC discovered the US i am just humored that white people can't still think Native Americans are Indians.


Why is an Indian calling himself a Native American? they never called themselves that when they migrated here across the Bering Straight.

I was born here, I am a Native American.

Use of the term by Indian activists is a political statement, not a tribal origin.

I've heard a lot of Native Americans self identify as Indian. It's hard to use another term when a group self identifies using a particular term. I don't want to disrespect what they prefer to be called.

Also, old habits die hard.

its just such a commonly used term, no matter how many times you change the names, black people are black, whites are whites, Indians are Indians, and anybody from Central America are Mexican. Its too ingrained into our societies vocabulary

Everyone born in the USA is a native american. Indian is just a reference to the ethnicity that was here when European settlers arrived and tamed the continent. But really, who gives a crap over lables? I can tell you who does, folks in the Balkans and Sudan that started ethnic cleansing.

Call yourself whatever you want...

Columbus gave Native Americans the name Indians because he thought he was in India.

Lady in Red
lilac27-he thought he was in the Indies not India

Bryan D
anyone else as sick of this multi-culturalism hog slop as i am ?

Columbus was trying to reach the 'Indies' or 'spice islands' - at the time, very little was known to europeans about that side of the world, so when he found tropical islands after sailing west even farther than he expected he would have to (he radically underestimated the circumference of the earth), he mistakenly identified them as the Indies. Thier still called the West Indies, and the original spice islands have since been called the East Indies, so, yeah, that original mistake still resonates.

Obviously they shouldn't be called Indians, since that's what people from India are. Similarly, they shouldn't be called native Americans, because that's what anyone born in America is. You could call individuals by thier tribal affiliation, which would be the more propper and respectful thing to do, anyway, and, collectively 'North American Tribal Peoples' would seem accurate.

Aboriginal Americans? I like that one! Good one, Lori. It's certainly more accurate than native Americans as all of us born in the USA are "native" Americans. Aboriginal is accurate and respectful. I'm going to start using that.

I'm a full blooded Mohawk Indian, Indian doesn't offend me Native American is fine but I personally draw the line at aboriginal! But that is just a personal thing... I believe they hauled out that phrase to be politically correct.

I have seen the other Native Americans on this site refer to themselves as NDN (abreviated Indian) and Skins, I find those phrases just fine!

As I understand it they prefer to be called 'tribes' or by their tribal name, unless they just consider themselves 'American'. However, each individual may be different.

We gave them the name 'Native American' too, just to show we knew where India was, by now.

Well it probably sticks around because people's terms of preference vary... I've heard some say they prefer to be called Native, and I've heard others say they prefer Indian. Really if people want to be correct about it, then a person should probably be called by their Nation/tribe.

Question, maybe a dumb one... In India do people say "Indian" or is Indian the English variation? If it is... well then technically the word is different.

Matt W
Indian is the older name. The continent wasn't called "America" until after Christopher Columbus was dead. I think "American Indian" is a less confusing name that "Native American".

Lori K
You may refer to them as aboriginal Americans, if you want.

i guess the indians could not decide on a name for the country so they waited for a europian to decide for them. now they cant decide on what they want to be called.

curtis s
Wow, Indians that I know use that term to refer to themselves. It is just a common term to describe a given set of people. I know a fair number of Natives and they take zero offense to the term.

The problem is there never really has been a unique or totally correct term for the people that were here before us.

Even Native American is iffy, because we're not precisely 100% sure that even they were the first inhabitants of the Contintent.

"Spanish" refers to people from Spain, not to Mexicans who speak it here, "Hispanic" refers actually to the Portuguese and Spaniards on Hispanola (Spain and Portugal put together), "Latin/Latino/Latina" refers back ultimately to Latium in Italy (meaning it should probably only mean Italians).

The closest thing to a term I've found has been "Mestizo", but then again, not everybody in Central or Southern America is mixed.

I was told by a Sioux that Native American is a legal term for the Amerindian who's native territory resides in the US. I research it and She's right with the Execption that Inuits are also included as Native Americans. Hawaiians sued on this issue for money and currently is in limbo on this issue. Those Amerindian who are normally found in Mexico or Canada can not be legally called Native Americans. I believe their government cll them indigenous people. The American part of Native Americans refer to being citizen of America. Like Mexican American, African American and Asian American. the proper term for "Indians in general" I beleive as I used Amerindian, to distinguish from Asian Indians. And as DAR stated, Native Americans rarely refer to themselves as Native Americans. They prefer to refer themselves by their Tribe. It's like Europeans calling themselves EUropeans. THey rarely do so, but prefer to themselves as French, Spanish, German, or they even break it down to Sicilian, Welsh or Basque.

Well Drake if you look at all the white people who think they are native Americans then you will see that at least the Indians added on to that helps to separate the infiltraitors from the true Natives.

It still gets confusing when people talk about Indians though because their are other groups that are called Indians.

I'm native and I'm American. Why would I call someone else that as a descriptive term meaning anything other than what it means when applied to me? I don't believe in separating people by race and origin and giving some of them special status. This is obviously confusing the Mexicans as they think that since they have some central American Indian ancestors they can get some sort of native American status. Native means from here. Born here. My home town etc. Which happens to be located within the legal boundaries of the USA. Indians is just easier. Knowing their names would be even better as I prefer to call someone by name rather than their racial description.

Paula Revere
I'm with Bryan. I can't imagine what type of person would be rude enough to ask someone what their race it. But Indian is better than Savage.

Enchanted Gypsy
I agree with Slew. I would prefer to be called Comanche,but if people feel that all tribes must be somehow lumped into one description, I don't mind Amerindian.

Sherilynne B
They call themselves Indians.
Everybody else calls them Indians.
Sounds like a good idea to confuse things and for the sake of the politically correct we should change it. Let's start calling them n******!

Why are Italian explorers sailing for Spain lumped in with...

...German machinists...

...English fishermen...

...Russian cosmonauts...

...Bosnian cabinet-makers...

...and Swedish politicians?

Tradition and expedience.

I am American Indian from two nations EasternBand Cherokee and Oglala Lakota when some one asks me this is what I say....when I am around other (skins) we usually say what nation we are from.....I dont say Native American because that can be anyone born here in america....

you cant discover a land in which people are already living in. But to give credit to italian chris columbus is foolish. if the history books want to embellish the truth by saying who discovered america first, it would be the chinese, but there was people here then as well. then the second "discoverers" were the vikings, but also they encountered people as well. just face it, white americans were the first illegal immigrants. Be happy. the whiteys were migrant farm workers till they got lazy and got slaves. : )

janet w
i don't know. awwww are we still mad because an Italian discovered America? poooo baby.

Xquisit Chocolate 1
Native Americans are still called Indians because, people are ignorant and they still believe in the 100 year old lie that Columbus told.

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