“Injun”, not “Native American”

My brother-in-law is a  Hupa “Indian”  and  just asked me not to call him “Native American”.   This is  because, he said, his people were here long  before this land was discovered and called “America”. 

He is thirteen, and swears he thought of this himself.  He wants to be an “Injun” instead.

I’m going to honor his request.


6 Responses to “Injun”, not “Native American”

  1. Joel Mielke says:

    Isn’t it ironic that as descendants of the Indo-Europeans, who themselves were descended from Indian Sanskrit speakers, Euro-Americans are the real “injuns.”

  2. Nan Abrams says:

    hmmmm . . . no doubt he knows that “Indian” (injun)is a misnomer as well. He is Hupa to me. Hope he is OK with that.

    • lynette77 says:

      Good point about “injun” but I think my main take-away was that he wanted to chose how he defined himself -and his racial heritage (even if he used an already-established term).
      I think it is good he is thinking about it, anyway. Many people don’t…

  3. Ben says:

    There is a viewpoint that feels the word “Indian” is a descendant of the term “in Dios” or in God.

    • lynette77 says:

      Oh, interesting, though I’ve heard the local tribal members refer to the “Creator”, instead of “God”.

  4. Most people don’t like to be “labelled” as anything, but it has long been my experience that most Indian people like being “Indians”. Most of my Indian friends (and relatives) are quite proud of their heritage, as well they should be, and refer to themselves as Indians.

    When my cousin, in Laytonville, was working on writing a book about “The Elders”, white and Indian, she asked the indigenous people of Laytonville how they wanted to be referenced to. Their reply was “We were born as Indians, raised as Indians, there is no reason that we shouldn’t continue to be Indians, call us that”.

    Most Indian people pronounce the word more like “Injun” than “Indian.” I made the mistake of asking an Indian friend of mine once whether he was an Indian or a Native American. He answered me in his most classic movie Indian stance. He crossed his arms across his chest stood very tall and erect. Then said “It’s ‘indigenous person’ to you White-eye”.

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