Native American name controversy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Native American name controversy is an ongoing discussion about the changing terminology used by indigenous peoples of the Americas to describe themselves, as well as how they prefer to be referred to by others. Preferred terms vary primarily by region and age. As indigenous people and communities are diverse, there is no consensus on naming, aside from the fact that most people prefer to be referred to by their specific nation.

When discussing broad groups of peoples, naming may be based on shared language, region, or historical relationship, such as "Algonquin-speaking peoples", "Pueblo-dwelling peoples", "Plains Indians" or "LDN peoples" (Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples).

Many English exonyms have been used to refer to the indigenous peoples of the Americas, who were resident within their own countries when European colonists arrived in the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of these names were based on French, Spanish, or other European language terminology used by earlier explorers and colonists; some resulted from the colonists' attempt to translate endonyms from the native language into their own; and some were pejorative terms arising out of prejudice and fear, during periods of conflict between the cultures involved.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, indigenous peoples in the Americas have been more vocal about the ways they wish to be referred to, pressing for the elimination of terms widely considered to be obsolete, inaccurate, or racist. During the latter half of the 20th century and the rise of the Indian rights movement, the United States government responded by proposing the use of the term "Native American", to recognize the primacy of indigenous peoples' tenure in the nation. The term has met with only partial acceptance. Other naming conventions have been proposed and used, but none are accepted by all indigenous groups. Typically, each name has a particular audience and political or cultural connotation, and regional usage varies.

In Canada, while Status Indian remains a legal designation due to the Indian Act, the term "Indian" is generally considered offensive when used by non-Natives with the term First Nations being preferred for peoples covered by the Indian Act and Indigenous peoples preferred for Native peoples generally or when talking about Inuit and Métis who do not fall under the "First Nations" category.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Native American name controversy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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