Comment on Cecil's article about "SQUAWS"

Straight Dope staff,
You read it again,
The question was NOT does squaw mean vagina there is nothing offensive about vaginas. The question was does squaw mean “cun_”? Indians do not find vaginas offensive. It’s too bad Cecil does and pretends to equate the two words. I have never in my whole life ever heard anyone call a terrible woman a “vagina” before but have have heard a women being called a “cun_”. I have never heard a man being called a “penis” but I have heard alot being called a “dic_”. He needs to do firsthand research with real Indians and not the dictionary, IE., fag means cigarette, but not to a gay, coon means raccoon but not to an African American, chink means a kink but not to an Chinesse American, trailer trash means garbage at a mobile home park but not to some Caucasian Americans. Instead he’s taking it upon himself to misapropriately self impose what he states as fact by making his very own decree and posting it over the internet for the whole world to see. I was told firsthand by a Sioux Indian from Pine Ridge that it indeed means cun_!!! And Whatever it meant before it has since taken on extremely demeaning negative conutations over the years in litature, movies, public media, and continues to in this day and age, THIS IS PROOF YET AGAIN!!! We Indians are the ones who decides what is offensive not non-Indians! How demeaning his internet posting is in the first place-- how presumptous of him to take it
upon himself to think he can possibly dictate how us real Indians think and feel? Or does he assume we are a race of people too ‘pitiful’ as written in the past by so many other non-Indians, to think and feel for ourselves??? DON’T TRY TO REPRESENT WHAT I THINK AND FEEL!!! GET WITH THE INDIAN TIMES IF THAT IS WHAT HE IS TRYING TO WRITE ABOUT, THAT IS WHAT IT MEANS TODAY!!! WHY DON’T YOU POST THIS TOO!-- FROM A REAL INDIAN FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE???

Here is a link to the thread:

You really don’t need to post the same thread multiple times. Someone will answer soon enough.


Cecil rarely makes appearances. His editor does, and there are others here who do. Multiple postings are bad form, even if you are very angry.

I suggest that the best results will happen if you turn it down a notch or two.

I want this cecil whoever he is to see this and whoever just now called me chief to see it, it is very offensive to me, why are mean people allowed to get away with thinking it’s ok to be blantanly racisist to only Indians? I don’t hear anyne getting away with calling a black woman aunt jemiama. or or a black man called little black sambo, or someone from the south being called trailer trash?

Turn it down a notch?? How would you like to be called racist names? How would you like it if it were you that someone had a website that said it was ok to continue to call you a racist name??? OHHH but thats ok because the whole darn counrty uses us as mascots, apache helicopters tomawk missles, we are not mascots or whatever someone decress us to be, WE ARE FLESH AND BLOOD HUMAN BEINGS!!! We eat the same way you do, we sleep the same way way you do, and we are people not sqaws and chiefs and missles and wepons of war, we are human beings for God’s sake!!! :(:(:(:(:frowning:

Chippewa in Michigan Welcome to the straight dope. Yes you are a human and deserve the same respect that every other human deserves. No one here will debate that.
However from the linked column

So Cecil quotes a curator from the Smithsonian who says the word is not a slur.
You maintain it is a slur. Fine, give us some authoritative cites that agree with your position.
See that is the way it works around here. We don’t instantly take someone word on things, we ask for facts to back up a particular position.
So if you have facts that can be checked, bring them on. If however all you have is it is racist because I say so, then you probably won’t get very far around here.

Once again, welcome and I hope you will stay for a while.

(cross posted from another of the multiple threads)



OK, Chippewa in Michigan, that’s quite enough. Do not open multiple threads on the same subject. I have left one thread open and notified Cecil that you wish him to see your answer.

Don’t do it again.


Keep your comments in this thread, please.

Yes. You’re shouting in the library.

First: I didn’t read Cecil calling anyone a squaw. Second, he says in the last paragraph that ‘squaw’ may be considered offensive. Did you not read that far?

Being somewhat familiar with military and civil aviation, I can tell you that these names are not ‘mascots’. The vehicles are named in homage of aboriginal Americans. The Douglas DC-3 was called, in some circles, ‘Dakota’. The aircraft was deservedly called after a proud people. The Apache were known as fierce warriors. The name befits a formidable helicopter. (Incidentally, the Army has a long history of naming aircraft after tribes.) We’re not talking about some big-headed mascot running around a football field to the amusement of painted fanatics. We’re talking about formidable equipment paying homage to people.

As for ‘Chief’, I believe I’ve seen that poster use the term before. I’m not sure he was making a slur. ‘Chief’, not referring to aboriginal Americans, is commonly used among people much like ‘Buddy’, ‘Friend’, or ‘Dude’. Heck, my uncle was a Chief.

–re-posted from one of the locked threads–

After reading the article, I don’t really understand your [original] post. I think you misunderstood the article. When Cecil switched from using “c***” to “vagina”, he admitted that he was using a less offensive term. [i.e. "the polite term "]

At the end of the article, he also stated that “squaw” may be considered offensive to some people. [Heck, at the start of the article, he says “I’m not saying it’s not an insult. It’s just not an obscene insult.”]

Lastly, we may be dealing with a phoneme that has different meanings to different cultures. What “squaw” means to a Sioux from Pine Ridge may means something entirely different to a Cherokee from Florida.

Not to diminish your outrage - and certainly the Native Americans have a LOT to be outraged about given how they’ve been treated the past 5 centuries or so - but most of us have, at one time or another, been referred to in racist terms. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it’s offensive. We understand you’re angry. Nonetheless, opening multiple threads and, for lack of a better phrase, “shouting in the library” will not help your cause.

I’d be pretty pissed off. No one is saying you shouldn’t be offended, or shouldn’t be angry at something you find offensive.

Please, take a deep breath, compose your thoughts a little better (feel free to remain angry). I think you’ll find people are receptive to discussing controversy here. If you want to yell a little more you may wish to take a trip to the BBQ Pit part of the Straight Dope which is open for venting of intense feelings 24/7.

And, uh, by the way - welcome to the Dope. I look forward to having someone here who can help out with threads about Native Americans so there are more facts and less speculation.

Yea sur says you and everyone else that wants to partronize us as if we were all children??

Not ‘patronizing’. Just trying to explain that your offense at the way aircraft are named is misplaced.

Hmmm… gone already. Too bad for her.


Sheesh. Give a person a chance. Every explanation, kind words, and direction. But does it do any good? No.

I’ll close this now.