September 26, 2009

Things not to say to Indians

Things NEVER to Say to American Indian Coworkers[W]hat's the proper way to address American Indian coworkers? It depends on whom you ask, but one thing they all would agree on: to be the most accurate, identify the tribe first.

[W]hat else might you say that would be offensive? Take a look at these 9 things you should NEVER say to an American Indian colleague.

"Hey, Chief"
"How Indian are you?"
"Hold down the fort"
"Do you live in a teepee?"
"Climbing the totem pole" or "Low man on the totem pole"
"That's a nice costume"
Comment:  I'm pretty sure most Indians wouldn't mind "Hold down the fort." I'm not sure they'd get upset if someone innocently said "Pow-wow" or "Low man on the totem pole."

I'm sure we could think of more offensive words and phrases. For instance, "going off the reservation." Or accusing an Indian of receiving government handouts or not paying taxes. Plus all the usual slurs and stereotypes: "savage," "redskin," "Geronimo," "Tonto," "drunk," "casino owner," etc.

For more on the subject, see the Stereotype of the Month contest.

1 comment:

m. said...

*sigh* Too bad this will never wind up in any company's e-mail.

No, I am saving this article and sending it to friends/family. You never know when another Indian new to a city will have to deal with this sort of thing, the exact same garbage I have gone through just to earn a living. Thanks for posting.