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

+4 votes
49 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 ago in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (641k points)
edited ago 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 ago by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Mach 4 (47.6k points)

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