After observing the opening ceramonies of the Winter Olympics. How great it was to honor its indigenous tribes showing its great heritage. Acknowledging its begining. Canadians should be proud of its show. I enjoyed it.
As a Canadian, I'd like to respond in kind. During my research travels I attend many functions in Native American places. I've always been treated warmly. Last summer I took in an outdoor supper/ theater production on the Cherokee Nation just outside Tahlequah, OK. Wonderful evening!!! I can't say enough about the museum there, or the friendliness.
Fort Apache was a similar story. I made it for a pow wow. I met some great folks there who made sure I was enjoying myself. I travel thousands of miles every year through the west, and never pass up an opportunity to take in any Native events, be it pow wows, rodeos, craft shows or feasts.
Question for anyone reading this: do native people prefer to be referred to as Natives, Indians, First Nations or Aboriginals? I get different answers depending on where I am.
When soneone is rude enough to ask what she is, my wife simply says she is American. If pushed further, she will say she is Navajo. When speaking to another Navajo, she will respond by stating "of the clan of her mothers and by the clan of her fathers."
During my many, many visits to the Rez over the past 35+ years, I don't think I ever heard the term "Native American" but I have heard the use of an occasional "Indian."
I know few that actually use any of the PC terms. Most that I know state their tribal affilation.
Back to my original paragraph, I find it disturbing how many people will directly ask my wife her origins. Would anyone here ask any other person, regardless their color, the same? I find it pretty rude. I understand the reasons, but I still find it rude. We have had folks, complete strangers, stop us in public just to ask. Rude!
I personnaly refer to them in context of how I am speaking (or writting) of them at the time. If talking about Navajos, I say Navajo or Dene'. If speaking of them as a race, I may say Indian, Native, Early Americans, or whatever respectful term fits at the time. The key is respect. Respect for their race, respect for their culture, respect for their nation, and respect for them as individuals.
Back to the original post, I think Canada did a great job.
I agree it would be rude to ask origins like that of individuals. However, there are times in my writings when I refer collectively to the people. For example, in my original question: "native people". I'd like to be able to write in such a manner as to NOT cause any discomfort or to use a term incorrectly.
A good example is that writers often refer to our Canadian people who live in the far north as "eskimos". The correct term is "inuit". They bristle at the old name.
Here in Canada I see all the terms used in varying circumstances. In a reserve outside Sault St. Marie written on a railway bridge is a sign that says "This is Indian land". The government department is called Ministry of Indian Affairs". Signs announcing some communities say "First Nation". At many functions the people refer to themselves as "Natives".
So you can see the confusion for outsiders. My only concern is that I don't use an offensive term or write anything that might upset the majority. I'd hate for anyone to think it I was being rude or ignorant of their culture.
I like the suggestion of a term like "Navajos" or the specific tribal name if that's appropriate. Makes complete sense.
Vancouver has a great number of Indian Totem Poles that are displayed in Stanley Park as well as the Capsilano Suspension Bridge. I have two cousins who live in British Columbia. When I visited them I got to see them in person.They were very Colorful and very Beautiful.There are also many Provinces,Cities and Towns with Indian names.One of them that comes to mind is the city of Saskatoon where I was born which is located in the Province of Saskatchewan.