Indians? Who are they? Can you tell me? Can you tell me with absolute certainty where to find them? Are they the First Nations that always lived in North America or are they the Indigenous people living in India? If Columbus knew he made a mistake in calling the Native population of North America “Indians” why did the name persist? Was it out of ignorance? Pride? Or was it something else?
I propose that it was coldly calculating and deliberate. The mythological construct that persists to this day was perpetuated simply to disenfranchise an entire population and render them inconsequential. You see? It was as if they said, “You mean so little to us that we cannot even bother to call you something akin to who you are”.
The Native people were not called by a name that described where they are from or even a name that symbolized their culture because to do that would mean admitting the land was theirs. More importantly it would mean admitting the culture was an important and defining feature. It would mean that the people were relevant and their culture meaningful. You see, you cannot admit those things and then perpetrate the injustice upon the people you are not just conquering, but demeaning.
The next time you refer to the Native people in Canada and the United States do not think of us as “Indians” for we are not Indian. That term not only demeans us as Native people, but it demeans the rich Indian culture as well. Call us Natives or Indigenous people.