July 26, 2009

"Indian dog" disturbs Indians

Some disturbed by terms for dog

Some Native Americans offended by description of dog that attacked baby

By Karla Ward
Charles Huddleston of Sadieville, vice president of the Kentucky Native American Indian Council of the Bluegrass, said using the term "Native American Indian dog" is "demeaning" and "a slap in the face to all the Native American Indians anywhere."

"There is no such creature," he said. "There may be a Native American dog. When you add the word 'Indian' to it, that denotes a person. ... The dog itself would not be an Indian."

He said using the term to describe a dog gives people "a negative feeling as far as Native American Indians."

"People have been treated like dogs," he said.

The description of the dog had already generated controversy.

Michael Smith, A.J.'s father, has described the pet, Dakota, as a "Native American Indian" breed and said the dog's grandparents were "90 percent wolf."

Internet searches produce numerous references to "Native American Indian dogs," but their status is murky. The American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club do not recognize the breed.

Helen Danser of Tyner, who chairs the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission, said she took the term "Native American Indian dog" as "descriptors of the fact that that would be a dog that a Native American Indian would have."
Comment:  We don't know if the breeder gave Michael Smith accurate information when he sold him the dog. But let's suppose he did. If Dakota's grandparents are 90% wolf, I don't think you can say Dakota is a separate breed. A breed has to be bred for generations so the dogs share the same physical and genetic traits. Dakota sounds like a wolf hybrid, not a distinct breed.

Huddleston's comments are somewhat odd considering 1) Kentucky doesn't have any recognized tribes, and 2) few people use the redundant term "Native American Indian." But he has a point. It's a bit disconcerting to talk about Indian dogs as if there's a one-to-one correspondence between a breed of dog and a breed of human. I don't think we'd accept a "Negro dog" or an "Oriental dog," so why an Indian dog?

As noted in A History of Indian Dogs, Indians had several breeds of dogs that disappeared with the arrival of European dogs. So the "Native American Indian dog" only serves to perpetuate stereotypes. Namely, the idea of a single Native culture with savage Indian warriors and their savage, wolf-like companions.

For more on the subject, see Indian Dog Steals Baby.

Below:  A typical Indian and wolf-dog stereotype.


Anonymous said...

When I read the first article about the so called native american indian dog I just rolled my eyes and laughed.

There is no such dog, it's a wolf hybrid. It sounds like some breeder re-named the poor animal as a sales gimmick and is now selling them to gullible white people, which in itself sounds deceptive and very dangerous.


Anonymous said...

I agree to it that the "Indian" should be removed from the title. I thought about this before but have forgotten to make note of it. Then again, I wondered who invented the term--"Native American [Indian] dogs"? I wouldn't be surprised if it was invented by a white one.


dmarks said...

Complete agreement all the way around. Even the web site promoting the breed says it is a recent concoction. It needs some trendy name like "Windhound" instead of the "Native American Indian Dog" name.... which is a fraudulent attempt to attach the weight of history to something that has only been around recently and has nothing to do with Native American Indians.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it does have a lot to do with Native American Indians historically speaking, if you're referring to the wolf hybrid known just recently as the " Native American [Indian] dog".
They shared a family history with some Native tribes the same way as a typical house pet did. In fact these particular dogs were valuable tools in hunting wild game etcetera. They played a vital role in some tribes such as the Crow.

Why not just call them the Native American dogs, without the "Indian" in it?


dmarks said...

Geno said: "..." Native American [Indian] dog".
They shared a family history with some Native tribes..."

I went to the
site linked to by one of the commenters.

This site claims of the breed: "Native Americans are a reletively new breed of dog, selectively bred to give the appearence and versatility of the original Native American Dog. In other words, they are a re-creation. Most breeders do not claim authentic Native American dogs, although many do in fact have genuine indian dog in their genetics."

That is where I got the information that this breed had little or nothing to do with actual dogs Natives had.

Anonymous said...

I love how it implies Indians are a breed of dog. I mean, yeah, blood quantum's a lot like dog breeding, but still…

Ooh! Can I be the stray that impregnates the rich guy's prized bitch?

dmarks said...

Anon: I saw that episode of "Family Guy"

Unknown said...

dmarks - the website you reference belongs to my daughter.

That was VERY poorly worded! I've checked out the site but I haven't yet gotten around to proofreading it for her. She's 17 and loves to build websites but they ALWAYS need proofreading for spelling, grammatical or errors such as this.

She would certainly not do such a thing intentionally to offend anyone as she is a kind-hearted person.

As to why they didn't name the breed "Native American Dog", it's probably because, as it stands, the breed name is shortened to NAIDs. If they were Native American Dogs, then when someone asked "What kind of dogs do you have?" the answer would be "I've got NADs!"

Think about it, lol.