Some Native Americans offended by description of dog that attacked baby
By Karla Ward
"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."
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.