As an Oklahoma Comanche, I consider
myself an “Indian”—an American Indian.
I`m simply a descendent of savage
hunters with the most lethal war skills and
artful horsemanship known in American history.
I could refer to myself as “nerm“
or “num,” which, if pronounced half-way
correctly, indicates I am of the Comanche people. “Numunu“
is what we call ourselves in our own language. But who
would know what I`m talking about except Comanches?
White people have called all our
tribes “Indians” for over four centuries. And
even when they referred to us as Sioux, Comanche, Nes
Perce, Coeur d`Alene, most of those names were what some
European explorer heard one tribe calling some other
Few of us are called by our own
name in our own language. So what?
Names of European countries
also get changed quite a bit in other languages:
Germans, “Deutscher” are called “Tedeschi”
in Italian, for instance. Our Indian peoples are
distinguished from one another in historical treaties by
the use of these foreign names.
The quest for Ideological
Correctness—through terms like Native American, First
Nations, Aboriginal, or Indigenous—is ill-fated if not
ludicrous. Why swap one European name for another? Why
exchange a classy, descriptive French name, such as
Coeur d`Alene (“heart
of the awl“—indicating able hagglers) for an
English derivative of a Latin abstraction like “aboriginal,”
a vague chronological distinction, or a Spanish
derivative like “indigenous,” originally meaning
poor and naked?
“Indian” is the
oldest, most sensible term. When Columbus used the
term “Indios” when he wrote to Queen Isabella in
1492 it was because he thought he`d arrived on the
western shores of India. What else would he call
the people he encountered in the world new to him?
The Tatar Relation
manuscript (ca.1247), written in Latin, already referred
to the Asian sub-continent people of the “Sindhus”
(the Sanskrit word for “river”) as Indiam.
In English, as early as the 6th century,
A.D., Boethius used the terms “India,” “Indus,”
and “Indea” in his
De consolatione philosophiae. The Persian pronunciation of “Indus”
was of course “hindus,” with the sounded “H.”
One Hindu authority says such a term didn`t enter
the “Hindu” vocabulary until the 7th century, or the age
But not until 1662 did the Persian
term appear in English, in the translations of
John Davies (of Kidwell). By the next century,
Anglo-Americans referred to people from the Indus as
“Hindus.” The only people whom they called “Indians”
were the inhabitants of the Americas.
no such phrase as “una gente en Dios,”
as modern revisionists like to say. These contortionists
propagate this myth to suggest that we are spiritually
superior beings, so impressive that
Columbus called us “a people in God.” But
what he called us was “naked
as when their mothers bore them.”
That term “Native
American,” like so many things, appeared for the
first time in the 1960s, as part of
the legal definition of
who is considered an American Indian. It involved
land squabbles, of course, and the stakes have
always been high. When other groups wanted in on the
definition through the term “Native American,”
many “American Indians”
objected strongly, to the agreement
of some responsible scholars.
In general, however, academic
trends list with the social winds.
Name-changing, as other
university fads, is generally the work of Marxist
racial agitators, ever anxious to overturn “the
establishment” as a means of clutching at power.
Changing the names of things, usurping their meaning, or
entirely, are favorite tactics of these leftists.
Thus “Negro” became “Colored,” then
“Black,” then “Afro-American” and now
But then American
states, counties, rivers,
teams weren`t generally named after Negroes, so that
particular name game had its limits. Indian names are
the next target. And that name game is just beginning.
But count me out. Don`t call me
Native. Call me Savage, Redskin, Injun, Comanche, Red
Devil. Don`t worry about being sued. You can`t victimize
me with names. I`m not black, I`m red.
“Indian” is what Americans
have always called us, and it is the
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant with whom we have had
mostly to do. The victory was
his, not the Negro`s, the Hispanic`s, the
Communist`s, or the
Arab Muslim`s. Why should I care what they call me?
By the way, I am thinking of
suing a certain Michael Weiner—for renaming himself with
my honorable, sacred name,
Dr. David A. Yeagley [email
him] is an enrolled
member of the
Comanche Nation, Elgin,
Oklahoma. His articles appear in
and on his own Web site
BadEagle.com, and he is a
regular speaker for
Young America`s Foundation.
David Yeagley`s columns for
An American Indian View of Immigration,
To Deport or not to Deport.
David Yeagley is the author of Bad Eagle: The Rantings of a Conservative Comanche.