Which tribe name should we use as LNAB for some Native American groups?

+4 votes
75 views

A recent exchange (on the attached profile) has raised the issue of how best to name certain Native American profiles. Quick background:

  • Because WikiTree requires a surname, we have to find something to place into the "last name at birth" (LNAB) field even for those people who did not use a surname.
  • WikiTree's Native American project decided some time back to use the tribe or nation name as LNAB on profiles of those Native American individuals who did not have a surname. As a result, Pochontas' profile uses "Powhatan" as her LNAB; Chief Doublehead uses "Cherokee".
  • Some tribe names were given by non-Natives. For example, "Sioux" was the name given to a group of Native Americans by the conquering French.  For many Native Americans, this term is objectionable, despite its common use throughout America. What should we use instead?
  • In other cases, we have used terms that describe a language group not an actual tribe; this is apparently the case with Ojibwe (aka Chippewa).  What should we use instead? Someone suggested we use Anishinaabe (which is the current term used by Native Americans who had once been associated as Ojibwe), but according to Wikipedia, this is not a tribe itself, but a group of tribes.
  • Wherever possible, we want to align Native American LNABs with WikiTree's principle of "use their convention not ours" which includes both using the term that Native Americans would use, and using the terms they used during the time the  profiled person lived. (Achieving both may not be possible.)

So four questions:

  1. Do we need to stop using Sioux altogether? Or under what conditions do we use it?
  2. Where we don't use it, how do we decide what to use in place of Sioux?
  3. Do we need to stop using Ojibwe altogether? Or under what conditions do we continue to use it?
  4. Where we don't use it, how do we decide what to use in place of Ojibwe?

Thank you.

WikiTree profile: Margarette Ahdik Bottineau
asked in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (648k points)
edited by Jillaine Smith

1 Answer

+4 votes
With the exception of one band, ALL of the federally-recognized Siouan tribes use the word “Sioux”  in their official name.  Likewise, virtually all of the Assiniboine/Ojibwe tribes actually use the word “Chippewa” in their official name.  Almost all tribes are known by a name applied by other tribes or by Europeans.  Most tribes in their own language call themselves by a word that means something like “The people,” e.g. Dine for the Navaho, Aniyunwiya for the Cherokee. Few tribes are known to others by those ‘personal’ names.  If you ask me what I am, I will tell you I’m Cherokee. I think it makes the most sense to use the English name that the modern tribes have chosen to use when we are writing in English.
answered by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Mach 5 (53.5k points)
There are many tribes that use other names than using the word Sioux. I can think a handful of Nations that do not use this connotation of belittlement of proud people. For example, Pine Ridge Reservation is in Lakota Oglala Nation, Standing Rock are the Dakota speaking Nation Turtle Mountain. Bois Forte Reservation and many more that I can't think of right now but even in Canada we have the Mosquito First Nation and the Morley First Nation, Carry the Kettle First Nation they all are of the Dakota, Dakota, Lakota language group. I think we have to get away from this conquering Nation and subjugation attitude and be more progressive of how we perceive a people who have lived here for many thousands of years.  To look upon them as a people not to be ignored of their proud culture and heritage.
In 1977 the United Nation Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the World in Geneva Switzerland recognized and reaffirmed the rights of Indigenous People of the World. In September 2007 every nation in the world voted for the recognition of the Indigenous People
of the world, with exception of United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, which was a nonbinding agreement, all it meant was good will. It was only in 2016 that Canada has officially recognized the Indigenous people of its country.
I’m not quite clear what you are suggesting.  Someone had said that Sioux should not be used and my recommendation was to use the name the tribe or nation uses officially, whether that’s Sioux, Lakota, Chippewa,  or whatever.  In the U.S. we have close to 600 individual tribes and there is a list of their correct names.  I assume there is a similar listing for Canada.

This may be so but it does not make it right. In America  most Indian reservations are still considered prisoner of war camps. Pine Ridge reservation is Prisoner of War Camp Number #334.

Technically, today with the laws, rules, and regulations, the American Government is still in a state of war with the American Indian and concentrations camps which they call Indian Reservations and still considered prisoner of wars camps!  The Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 makes all Indigenous People of America wards of the federal government. Also there was to be no leaving of the reserve without permission, in essence as they were prisoners of war.

The United States is presently the area of 9,857,306 km2. There are 550 tribes in The United States and only 310 have reservations, comprising an area of 225,000 km2 which is only 2.3 % of their original homeland. 

I'm still looking for an answers to my questions above.

We need to use an LNAB; I need to know which one to use under which circumstances.
If we can figure out what the group called itself at the time, use that.  If not, use the official name of the tribe.

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