There is a lot of controversy surrounding the changing of North Central High School’s mascot. There is a bigger issue at hand. The people that were here before the Europeans are not actually “Indian.” Columbus landed his ship in the Bahamas. He saw people with brown-toned skin so he assumed he was in India. Subsequently, he referred to the locals as Indians.
We have perpetuated his error for over 500 years. Using “Native American” doesn’t really fit. They were here before this continent was called America. America is named for another European explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. They were native to this continent, not to America.
It is this intrinsic white privilege that somehow, we can call non-Europeans whatever we want, disregarding their own self-identity. What should they be called? First Nations? Indigenous? Aboriginal? As a white, middle-aged male of Irish descent, it is not up to me to say. It is up to the population to express how they want to be identified. Pay tribute to the people who were here first by respecting who they are and addressing them as they wish to be addressed. Whatever that may be.
Tomas Kelley Lynch