Lynne Royall: Let ‘Indians’ go

October 21, 2013 

In response to Maureen Dowd’s Oct. 10 column “When sports names are slurs”: It is time we stop calling the indigenous peoples of North America “Indians.”

To my knowledge, all native peoples have tribal names that were well-known to our early settlers and certainly the government. Even in Dowd’s column, one tribe is referred to as the Oneida Indian Nation. I know that this and many other tribes have the word “Indian” in their official names like the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, but I don’t understand why. Oneida Nation and Eastern Band of the Cherokee would seem sufficient. Why do we perpetuate an early explorer’s mistake about who these people are?

My ancestors come from all over Europe, but I can differentiate among the French, English, Welsh, Irish, Scots and others without difficulty. I think the native North Americans deserve the same dignity and respect. I have no right to speak for these tribes except as another human being and I certainly mean no offense, but I believe we owe them at least this much respect. We also owe it to our history as a nation to properly identify who was here first.

Lynne Royall


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