Why do Natives protest the Redskins name rather than the US military for naming items--Tomahawk missiles; Apache, Lakota, and Blackhawk helicopters; codename Geronimo--after them?
This led to a discussion of the subject:
This is Apple/Oranges. The r-word is racist and it invokes racist behaviour.
Hold it, everyone. Here’s a white guy who offers an explanation about why we should feel honored by these names for military equipment. *Phew.* I feel much better after having him whitesplain it to me.
Everyone Relax—The Army’s Native American Helicopter Names Are Not Racist
Curiously, someone else posted the same article but put a different spin on it:
"No where is there a finer example of honoring a legacy than the moniker attached to the US Army's rotary wing fleet. Not only does the Army ask if the names can be used but they respectively utilize the proper names. They do not use slang or stereotypes. The first time I laid eyes on these aircraft I was instilled with pride and a sense of belonging. I thought to myself 'These guys get it. They respect me and my people's contribution to this enterprise.' I am honored by the lineage of these nomenclatures and honored to have been a small part of this warrior tradition. The US Army has had an intimate experience (for better or worse) with the history of my people and it is my pleasure to reciprocate the gesture. Sappers forward!"
I "like" how this article basically confirms my point. Namely, that helicopters were named for a one-dimensional view of Natives:
Yet the same person continued to challenge me:
Many Indians also challenge the one-dimensional warrior image and call for a fuller understanding of Native cultures. I'm with them.
I am not saying I agree or disagree with any of this but know the thoughts of many folks in Indian Country over this and sharing that perspective.
Only names of tribes?
I think we can all agree that "Redskins" is the worst offense in this category, although I'd say calling a terrorist "Geronimo" is comparable. So? We can and do address lesser offenses all the time here.
If you really want to honor the widespread tendency of Natives to serve in the military, let's name helicopters after the Hopi, Creek, Tlingit, San Manuel, and Penobscot tribes. Why not, since their members have served at the same rates as every other tribe's?
Oh, but those tribes aren't known as fierce, deadly warriors. They aren't stereotypical enough. We want our hardware named only for ruthless killer Indians. Because we want to be as savage as they were.
In short, if this nomenclature is some sort of pan-Indian tribute, choose from the names of the 566 recognized tribes at random. By choosing only the tribes known for their savagery, the military is proving my point.
The Comanche and Iroquois helicopters further demonstrate that the Army is honoring tribes known for aggression or violence, not just "strength" or "courage."
Strength, in particular, has nothing to do with fighting ability. Buddha, Jesus, and Martin Luther King were strong. Mothers who raise children in the face of adversity are strong. Let's name helicopters after them if we want to honor strength.
A few others chimed in:
I completely agree, let them name some other people helicopters, missiles...etc.
We are not decals, toys and icons.
We are people and it is about time we are treated as such!
Below: Six copters named after tribes and one named after a snake.