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Tribal Identification

One tension that arises when describing aspects of Native American cultures deals with the naming of specific cultures:

  • Sometimes the people of a culture call themselves by a different name than the name that is in common use.
  • Sometimes the preferred name for a culture has changed over time.
  • Sometimes the name that is in common use is objectionable or even offensive to the people of that culture.

As one who was not brought up in a traditional culture, but who has greatly benefitted from the musical traditions developed by those cultures, I have attempted to understand and exercise cultural sensitivity when using a name for a Native American culture. I am also attempting to balance the need for sensitivity with the practicalities of conveying information and using terms that are in common use in our wider present-day culture.

The “Native American” Name Controversy

There are several theories as to the origin of the term “Indian” when applied to indigenous cultures of the Americas.

For background and an overview, see [Adams 2001] Does "Indian" Derive from Columbus's Description of Native Americans as "Una Gente in Dios"? and [Wilton 2004], pages 163–165. See also the Mortier 1693 Chart of the New World.

There is currently an ongoing debate regarding the acceptable terminology for the indigenous peoples of the Americas. A brief survey will turn up many dozens of names that are or have been used, or are currently proposed as as preferential. Issues of racism, exploitation, politics, sentimental attachment, and general usage and convention often clash. I generally use the term “Native American” on Flutopedia, but please do not take this choice as a political statement or an opinion on a preferential term for the indigenous cultures of the Americas.

Tribal Identification on Flutopedia

Here are some of the issues in tribal identification, and how they are addressed on Flutopedia. See also the Native American Indian Tribal Maps page. For a more general and expansive information, see [Clark-PR 2009]. And for the official list of the 565 federally recognized “Indian entities” as of October 27, 2010, see ([BIA 2010] Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as the supplement [BIA 2010a] Supplement to Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs).

  • Arikara — known to themselves as “Sahnish”. See the MHA Nation - Three Affiliated Tribes web site.
  • Anasazi [ah-nah-sah-zee] — the preferred naming is “Ancestral Puebloans” or “Ancient Pueblo People”, since the word “anasazi” is derived from the Navajo word “anaasází” [on-uh-sah-zee], meaning “ancient enemy” or “ancient stranger” and is not preferred by present-day Puebloan groups ([DOE 2008] West-wide Energy Corridor Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Volumes 1-4, appendix U, page U-13, footnote 2; U*X*L Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, January 1, 2008, at Highbeam Research). The Hopi people used the term “Hisatsinom” to describe Ancestral Pueblo peoples (Encyclopedia Britannica, Ancestral Pueblo culture, retrieved December 4, 2012).
  • Chemehuevi — known to themselves as “Nuwu”, literally “The People” in English ([Masters 2008] The Colorado River Indian Tribes (C.R.I.T.) Reservation and Extension Programs). See The Chemehuevi Indian Tribe web site. [ASM 2001], page 12 provides a pronunciation of [chem-uh-whay-vee].
  • Cherokee — known to themselves as “Tsalagi” [jah-lah-jee] ([Trussell 2010] Ani-Tsalagi Language Letter Use), and known to themselves historically as “Aniyunwiya” [ah-nee-yoon-wi-yah] ([Rendon 2010]).
  • Cocopah [koh-koh-pah] — pronunciation from [ASM 2001], page 12.
  • Diegueño — known as “Kumeyaay” and also known as “Tipai-Ipai” and “Kamia”. Often spelled in Spanish as “Kumiai” ([Pritzker 2000]).
  • Hidatsa — known to themselves presently as “Nuxbaaga”, literally “Original People” in English ([Casarez 2005]). Historically known by many names, including: “Minnetarees” ([Matthews 1877]), “Ena-sa”, “E-na-ta”, “Eláh-Sá”, “Herantsa”, “Hedanza”, and “E-nāt'-zā” (all from [Sturtevant 2001], page 345).
  • Hualapai [wahl-uh-pahy] — literally meaning “People of the Tall Pines” in English. Pronunciation and translation from the National Park Service page on The Hualapai Tribe and Skywalk.
  • Huichol — known to themselves as “Wixarika” ([Footprint 2011] Indigenous Peoples).
  • Huron — known to themselves as “Ouendat” [wen-daht], often written as “Wendat” ([Footprint 2011] Indigenous Peoples). However, a modified form of the name written as “Wyandot” has prevailed in many places. The present-day First Nation of Huron-Wendat is known in the French langage (used by most members of the First Nation) as the “Nation Huronne-Wendat”. See the Official site of the Huron-Wendat Nation.
  • Kiowa [kahy-oh-wah] — known to themselves as “Ka'igwu”, literally “Principal People” in English. Pronunciation from a 1941 recording by Belo Cozad. Translation from Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1, page 326.
  • Kwakiutl — known to themselves and now known as “Kwakwaka'wakw” ([Judson 1997], introduction by Jay Miller).
  • Lacandón — known to themselves as “Hach Winik” ([Footprint 2011] Indigenous Peoples).
  • Maidu [mahy-doo] — whose name in the Maiduan language means literally “person” in English.
  • Maliseet — known to themselves as “Wolastoqiyik”, literally “People of the Wolastoq River” ≡ “People of the St. John River” ≡ “People of the Beautiful River” in English ([LeSourd 2007], page 17, footnote 4).
  • Maricopa [mare-uh-kohp-uh] — pronunciation from [ASM 2001], page 12.
  • Mayo — also known as “Yoreme” ([Footprint 2011] Indigenous Peoples).
  • Micmac — known to themselves as “Mi’kmaq” (singular “Mi’kmaw”) by the Míkmaq of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, “Miigmaq” (“Miigmao”) by the of New Brunswick, “Mi’gmaq” by the Listuguj Council in Quebec, or “Mìgmaq” (“Mìgmaw”) in some native literature ([Metallic 2005]). Also known to themselves historically as “Einu”, literally “people” in English ([Dawe 2007] Our Own Newfoundland and Labrador, page 58). The Newfoundland Mi'kmaq are known as “Taqamkukewa’q”, literally “people of the land across the water” in English ([Dawe 2007] Our Own Newfoundland and Labrador, page 58).
  • Mojave [moh-hah-vee] — also spelled “Mohave”, also pronounced [moh-hahv], known to themselves as “Aha macave” [ah-hah mah-kah-vee], literally “People alongside water” in English ([Masters 2008] The Colorado River Indian Tribes (C.R.I.T.) Reservation and Extension Programs and [Miller-RK 1996] Tribal Experiences and Lessons Learned in Riparian Ecosystem Restoration which is contained in [Shaw 1996] Desired Future Conditions for Southwestern Riparian Ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together). See The Mojave Indians web site.
  • Navajo [nah-vah-hoh] — known to themselves as “Diné” [di-neh], also spelled “Dineh”, literally “The people” in English ([Lyon 2000] Americans and Other Aliens in the Navajo Historical Imagination in the Nineteenth Century, page 143).
  • Nez Perce — known to themselves and now known as “Numipu” ([Judson 1997], introduction by Jay Miller).
  • Nootka — known to themselves and now known as “Nuchahnulth” ([Judson 1997], introduction by Jay Miller).
  • Ojibway — alternately spelled “Ojibwe” or “Ojibwa”, known to themselves as “Anishnaabe” (Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage of the Musée Canadien de Civilisations), and also known as “Chippewa” or “Chippeway”.
  • Ongweoweh — alternately spelled “Ongwayohway” ([Benjamin 2000] The Tawagonshi Agreement of 1613 — A Chain of Friendship in the Dutch Hudson Valley).
  • Papago [pah-puh-goh] — preferred naming is “Tohono O'odham”, literally “People of the Desert” in English ([Moll 2002]). The pronunciation provided by Michael Graham Allen on his Coyote Oldman web site is [thawn-aw-thuhm]. [ASM 2001], page 11 provides a pronunciation of [toh-hoh-noh ah-ah-tahm].
  • Pima [pee-muh] — preferred naming is “Akimel O'odham”, literally “People of the River” in English ([Lewis-RB 2006] Federal Reserved Water Rights: Gila River Indian Community Settlement). [ASM 2001], page 11 provides a pronunciation of [ah-kee-mel ah-ah-tahm].
  • Puget Salish — known to themselves and now known as “Lushootseed” ([Judson 1997], introduction by Jay Miller).
  • Quechan [kweh-tsahn] — pronunciation from [ASM 2001], page 12.
  • Sauk — Eastern Woodlands culture known to themselves as “oθaakiiwaki” (interpreted to mean “yellow earth”, referring to the yellow clay soils found around Saginaw Bay) and “Ozaagii(-wag)” in the Ojibwe language, meaning “those at the outlet” ([Sultzman 1999] Sauk and Fox History). Also known as “Saukee” and “Sac” ([Conclin 1843] The Great Indian Chief of the West: Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk).
  • Seri [sair-ee] — known to themselves as “Comcáac” [kohng-kahk], literally “the people” in English ([ASM 2001], page 8).
  • Sioux — preferably known by “Lakota”, “Dakota”, or a more specific name such as the “Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota” ([Gibbon 2003], page 2-3). Also, “Oceti Sakowin” (Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage of the Musée Canadien de Civilisations).
  • Southern Paiutes [pie-yoot] — known to themselves as “Ningwi” [ning-wee], literally “speaker of my language” in English ([ASM 2001], page 13). The Southern Paiutes consist of a variety of groups (all information from [ASM 2001], page 13):
    • the San Juan [san-whahn] Southern Paiutes,
    • the Kaibab [kie-bab], and
    • the Chemehuevi [chem-uh-whay-vee] peoples.
  • Tarahumara [tah-rah-hoo-ma-rah] — known to themselves as “Rarámuri” [rah-rah-moo-ree] (Norawas de Raramuri web site and [Footprint 2011] Indigenous Peoples), literally “footrunners” in English ([ASM 2001], page 9).
  • Yakima — known to themselves and now known as “Yakama” ([Judson 1997], introduction by Jay Miller).
  • Yaquis [yah-kee] — known to themselves as “Yoeme” ([Footprint 2011] Indigenous Peoples) or “Yoemem” [yoh-em-mem] ([ASM 2001], page 10).
  • Yuma [yoo-muh] — also called “Yuman”, “Kwtsan”, and “Kwtsaan”; preferred naming is “Quechan” [keh-chuhn] ([Redden 1976]).

 
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