Friday, November 16, 2007

More than a name

Lucas has come a long way since earlier this year when he interpreted the term "Native Americans" as the "Knights of America".

Lucas' class is currently studying Native Americans. The class went on a field trip last week to the Oakland Museum of California. Lucas told me that they lived in "pointy houses called tipis" and that they ate a lot of corn. He also told me that people moved onto the land of the Native Americans, and made them move away, even though they were there first.

Everyone in his class received a Native American name. Lucas' is "Fast Running Tiger". His friends have names like Red Eagle, Fire Cheetah, and Tall Snowy Mountain. Lucas named me Mountain Lion Mama and Kevin is Big Fluffy Monster (?).

Lucas informed me that Native Americans want to be called Native Americans, not Indians. He told me that his teacher Shereen is from the country India, so she is Indian, and different from the people who live in tipis.

This prompted me to do some research. I saw that the YMCA Indian Guides and Indian Princesses programs only just recently (2003) shed these terms for the less controversial monikers "Adventure Guides" and "Explorers". Sounds like some of the parents were not in favor of these name changes. Maybe Fast Running Tiger should have a talk with them.

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