It's time to stop saying the words 'Native Americans'

"Native American" is an offensive term, not to the people who it is used to describe, but everyone else born in the United States. The term "Native American" implies the rest of us aren't Native American. Most Americans are in fact native, meaning we were born here or to American parents. Having a group of Americans called "Native Americans" seems to delegitimize the rest of us, putting us on a lower moral grounds than the "Natives".

The term "Native Americans" is also ridiculous in that ancestors of these individuals were present before America was formed.

Photo of boy , circa 1929-32, by Vern C. Gorst, via University of Washington and Flickr

Of course, American Indians (as they used to be called) never referred to themselves as "Native Americans" in the 17th, 18th or 19th century. They referred to themselves by the names of their tribes. They never saw themselves as one people. So the name liberals have given them refer to a group that never considered itself to be a group..

That's why I think the so-called "Native Americans" should be given a new name, one that isn't so offensive to the rest of us. Here are some possibilities)

1) Tribal Americans. That's what they were/are; tribes.

2) Asian Americans. American Indians originally are thought to have come over from Asia via the land bridge that used to exist between Alaska and Russia. So really, American Indians are Asians. But maybe they might not like being called that because it will make it harder for them to get into places like Harvard.

3) Non-Asian Indian Americans. This would be perfect, to eliminate the confusion with the other kind of Indian Americans, as long as you ignore the facts of #4 above.

4) Americans. How about dissolving the corrupt reservation system, treating these people like everyone else, and simply calling them Americans?  No, that would never work, right?

Thomas Lifson adds:

5) Following the practice in Canada, "First Americans," althogh Ed points out they pre-date America. On the other hand, so do colonists pre-1776, and we do call them Americans from time to time.

6) Indigenous Americans, although this is only slightly less objectionable than Native Americans, but does have the advantage of being anthropological in connotation. A president must be "native born" not "indigenous."

7) Following the practice of Australia, the most accurate term would be aboriginal Americans, for that term refers to a group present before immigration.

What do you think we should call Native Americans? Also, if you were run over by a pickup truck, could you sit up and film it leaving less than three seconds later?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at


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