What term is preferred by Native Americans?

Part of a response I had to another question read “FYI I hate the term Native American and was not offended by the use of the word Indian, they are both terms not chosen by us.”

OK, what IS the accepted term when the speaker doesn’t know the tribal name?

I’m not trying to be picky,…

others have asked us this question..and then totally ignored the 3 native people who answered and went with a non natives answer as if we aren’t allowed to know what we prefer to be called. I hope you are not the same.

most native people prefer to be referred to by our nations’ name and it is perfectly all right to ask if you do not know. i don’t know of any of us that are offended by someone asking us what nation we belong to. if you must refer to us collectively then indigenous nations or first nations is acceptable. the reason many of us do not like native american or american indian is because of the american part. we predate america by many thousands of years and some of us, myself included refuse to be claimed by usa or canada. i am a citizen of my nation only, not america and not canada. to me they are foreign entities in my homeland.

and i am not insulted by the term indian. its easy to know when someone is trying to insult me and when someone is just not sure of themselves.

eta: i find it amusing when a non natives says this: “indians aren’t really native americans because they came from somewhere else and besides i’m a native american because i was born here.”

anyone else see the idiocy in that statement?

I’ve only met a few tribal members that were hung up on these labels, whether “Indian” or “Native American.” Usually, it doesn’t matter in our communities. I personally use Native most of the time, without the American. But, really, I use Indian and Native American interchangeably. My elders all said “Indian” when I was growing up. It was not an issue.

In Canada Natives are Called members of the First Nations Tribes

I tolerate Native American or American Indian, esp. if someone is honestly trying to say the right thing, but I prefer to be called by my Nation’s name…Cherokee. Most other Indigenous people I know also prefer to be called by their Nation’s name…no matter what Nation they belong to. It’s OK to ask what Nation we belong to…we’ll know when a person is trying to belittle us or if they are sincere.
What’s with this answer, “I was born here, so I consider myself to be a native American?” What country did your ancestors’ come from before they immigrated here to Turtle Island (aka America) ? I’m not trying to be disrespectful…just curious.

I am Anishinaabe. (Chippewa/Ojibwa)

I have never call myself or anyone else, “American Indian”.

I never used the term “Native American” until I began answering questions on YA. Now that term creeps in to my conversations and my people look at me strange.

The offical term is American Indians..

Actually I prefer my name.

I’m not full blooded, I have enough white blood to make my honesty questionable but I still prefer my name over some ethnic label.


I think they prefer native peoples.

I was born here, so I consider myself a native American. I think it’s kind of a stupid term, because they aren’t really native Americans, they are just native to this land.

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