Friday, January 16, 2009
The I Word.
Some people do not like the use of the term Indian to refer to the pre-colonial inhabitants of Canada and their modern descendants. An example of this got some press attention this week. Officials of a First Nations run theatre company were upset at the use of the term Indian in a Toronto Star review of one of their productions. Native Earth Performing Arts artistic director Yvonne Nolan stated the use of the term was an example of aboriginal Canadians lacking self-determination, since they can't name themselves. But I wonder if Nolan and other members of Native Earth have ever been to Saskatchewan. The term Indian continues in use in this province, specifically by Native organisations. The umbrella group representing 72 Saskatchewan First Nations continues to call itself the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Then there's SIGA, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. I haven't heard any widespread outrage at these organisations using the term Indian, and SIGA is a recent enough creation that the founders could have used some other term besides Indian.(Using aboriginal would have resulted in SAGA, which would have worked quite well.) Inaccurate as the term may be it seems unlikely it will stop being used here anytime soon.