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it seems a bunch of non-Natives need a 101 course in terminology. "Indian Country" is a legal term that also gets used colloquially by those of us who move through lands that fall in some measure within legal jurisdictions of tribal governments. Google for an exact definition.
As for everyday terms for ourselves, we have diverse POVs on what we're comfortable with depending on our age/generation, geographic location, and probably level of formal education. i know my personal terminology of choice has changed over time and across place.
i grew up in a rez border town in 1970s/early 80s South Dakota. "Indian" or "American Indian" was the term back then. it's one still present in Federal-INDIAN law/legalese. We also still used this term in Mpls/St Paul when i moved there in the 80s for high school.
there is a significant Native population in the Twin Cities (predominantly Dakota and Anishinaabe) so it matters which terms were in circulation. they were to a good degree, insider terms. "Native American" became more common & "politically correct" in the 80s, in my experience.
when i moved to Boston/Cambridge in 1989 to finish undergrad at UMB, i encountered "Indigenous." It was the lead up to 1992 protests. to my rez ear, "Indigenous" sounded pretentious. I did not ID as such. It also seemed disconnected from People/tribal specific connection.
But as i moved through a Master's degree, then PhD, and traveled globally, i encountered Indigenous people from around the world. i came to see the advantage of that term to help us network and organize globally to share lessons of (de)colonization.
I saw that Indigenous did not, for those who are connected to their Peoples and community, disrupt People-specific connections. It enhanced our ability to defend People/tribal-specific rights. and YES we in the US still use "tribe." It's not considered racist.
Indigenous people in different nation states do not always share terminology. I don't use the word "tribe" in Canada, where I now live. I use "Native" up here as i do in the US though. "Indigenous" seems much more common up here, even among non-cosmo Natives as far as i can tell.
I sometimes hear rez Indians (see what i just did, it's acceptable where i come from) back home say people "in community" don't use "Indigenous." that it's an academic term. maybe in the US. don't assume the same is true in lands now occupied by Canada.
Even Natives from the US can be US exceptionalists. Ugh. bugs me. i am too. i work on it every day. that country shoves its exceptionalist kool-aid down everyone's throats. Indigenous and POC included.
At any rate, ALL terminology is political and culturally contextual. All of it. science terms, humanities terms, my hairdresser's and mechanic's terms, my doctor's terminology, and so is Native/Indigenous/Aboriginal/Indian's terms for ourselves.
What non-Natives can do is close their mouths, quiet their keyboards and LISTEN. and stop using us as a football in your settler political party warring.
Indigenous/Native/Tribal/Native/Indian people are living, dynamic peoples. we're not just here to be caricatured for your racist sports teams, to serve as the raw materials for your science, or to help you "find yourself" in genealogical or DNA research.
p.s. I also can't stand the term "First Americans." "America" did not pre-exist European & settler-colonialism on these continents. stop asserting state sovereignties over the ancient past. as if the US & other settler nations were inevitable. they were not. they too will pass.
FYI there is a second thread off the preceding tweet too that gives more detail on terminology transitions and uses. I accidentally broke the thread.
re "Indigenous" though, it works best in settler-colonial countries: e.g. USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia. And South Africa, or so i've heard. it is more complicated to use Indigenous--a term that's not always recv'd well in various parts of Asia and Africa. Tread carefully.
I am solidly within Indigenous Studies as a field & recognize the power of the term. But i predict that as more people flock to the term, some of whom do not live within states dominated by "settlers," "Indigenous" will lose traction . Again, all terms are contingent, political.
those of us most invested in this term & who network globally under its umbrella will lead convos re terminology. this caveat re "Indigenous" is not an invitation for clearly non-Indigenous thinkers to dismiss it. good feminist practice critiques with care for one's subject.
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