Do Native Americans have terms for 'Native American'?

A terminology question I hope makes some sense, reading about the varied terms to refer to the descendants of those who were in the Americas before an Italian got lost, and this article asking said peoples whether they prefer ‘Native’ or ‘Indian’, but both those are English terms.

Did/do any tribes, peoples, cultures have terms or phrases to collectively refer to themselves *and *other indigenous peoples of the Americas?

The various tribes are sometimes called “nations,” and I have heard phrases like “the people of all the nations,” but I don’t know if it’s considered common use.

Historically some Indians referred to all Indians as being red men or red skinned people.

Many tribal names simply mean “the people”. Most Indians that I’m acquainted with refer to themselves by tribal affiliation.

In Little Big Man (or was it Josey Wales?) they referred to themselves as “human beings”. Not historically accurate, I’m sure but I like it.

But the OP isn’t asking about tribal demonyms. It seems clear to me that most native americans would first refer to themselves by their tribal/ethnic demonym, not as either an Indian or Native American, just like people might call themselves French or English or German rather than “European”.

So a group might have a name for themselves, and names for other ethnic groups that might not match what those groups call themselves, and perhaps a collective name for all people who aren’t a member of the group equivalent to “foreigners”. So there might be a name for “white people” as a distinct type. But there might not be a name for Indians as a whole, because why would there be?

It might be the case that most native american languages didn’t have a term for this, because at first the distinction between one type of foreigner and another wasn’t important, and if it was, it was because one particular type of foreigner had some particular attributes, not because you shared a common identity with the other foreigners. And by the time you recognize that you do share a common identity, you simply borrow that word from English or Spanish.

It’s true that some regions do have a regions identity. Europeans really did have a pan-European identity, often conflated with Christianity and also with whiteness.

Yeah, this is common with a lot of ancient cultures, where their names for themselves is their language’s word for “people”. We all do this too in modern times, if you think about it. If you want to know how populated a room is, you sound odd if you ask how many “humans” are in the room, instead you’d ask how many “people” are in it, because you take for granted that all people will be humans.

A tribe hundreds or thousands of years ago wouldn’t encounter many people outside of their tribe on a regular basis so they’d take for granted that any “people” they’re talking about are tribal members.

When I worked for a tribe, they referred to themselves as “Indians” and thought it odd or awkward to call themselves Native Americans.

The above is true. Most indians pretty much thought they were it and didnt consider an indian from another tribe as some sort of brother.

Sorry but that last bit is very, very wrong. Lots of tribes weren’t isolated, or where do you think all those names for different ones obtained from their neighbors came from?

And people from the United States are the worst! They are so self centered, they called their country US. Everyone else is a THEM.

The early history of the colonial era is a long record of various tribes thinking they can use their alliance with the funny strangers who just showed up to finally get even with their age-old enemies next door.

Chinook Jargon (now mostly extinct) had the word siwash, adopted from French sauvage. You’ll find it in Jack London’s stories.

“First Nations” is one. It’s used by Indians in the U.S. sometimes but has a more official status in Canada.

I assume that before the mass immigration of Europeans there was no need for such a term.

There would have been variants of The People and Those Other Humans Who Are Not THE People, but no need for The People And The Other People Who Are Not Europeans Or Africans.

Not to excuse our past indiscretions: To what higher standard are you comparing us to?

gogogophers, either you’ve been wooshed or you just wooshed me.

According to Charles Mann who wrote 1492, the practical term he found during his research for his book in the 1990s and early 00’s is simply Indian.

He tried various less absurd terms, but people he spoke to on both continents didn’t tend to like them. They referred to themselves as Indians. He discussed this problem at length in his book. Certainly a better term should be coined, but he wasn’t able to find one. “Native American” was rejected by many-after all everyone born in the Americas is a native american and so the term isn’t helpful in any logical sense.

As has been pointed out, Indians prior to being overwhelmed by Europeans self-identified as members of a single village/group/tribe/nation and didn’t associate themselves with the continent or a race any more than Europeans of the time called themselves Europeans (the term came into general use in the 17th century).

How embarrassing! :smack:
My bad.

My apologies, Hermitian.

Clarification: Mann’s two books are 1491 and 1493. (Missed it by that much ;))

I think prior to that Europeans would have distinguished themselves on the basis of religion rather than geography, as being part of Christendom (which mostly coincided with Europe but extended to parts of Asia as well.)