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Thread: Who owns the term Indigneous?

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    Who owns the term Indigneous?

    I noticed the 23andme composition switched Native American to Indigenous American and that AncestryDNA uses Native American yet they don't say Indigenous African or Native Irish even though that would be true and consistent.

    They could just label it East Asian & American which we would get. White identified South Africans call themselves African/South African and we get that they're not claiming to originate from ancient African inhabitants. We just use context and basic sense so I don't see why they have to tack on Native or Indigenous to American which kind of erases others Indigenous experience and disregards that Amerindians are not the only Indigenous Americans.

    The Inuit are put under the label Indigenous American yet only migrated into the Americas from Asia 4000 years ago. Genetically they cluster with Asians so why aren't people like me who originated from African and European populations that settled in the Americas Indigenous American? We're just additional waves of migration so why did the Indigenous experience suddenly freeze?

    F1.large.jpg

    European and African populations have been here for 500+ years which isn't 4000 years but Icelanders, the Hawaiians and the Maori have only settled their lands for 1000, 800, and 670 years but are considered Indigenous there.

    Our distinct gene pools evolved in the Americas and we've lived here a long time so we're Indigenous American. Then, what if Indigenous people from other places move to America, technically their Indigenous American since citizens of the US and inhabitants of the Americas are called American. Then I hear people say their half something and half Indigenous with no context and then your left wondering what Indigenous they mean, African? Australian? European?

    I'm not saying I want the title Indigenous American but if it's used we should be included, I rather that no one used the term Indigenous American or Indigenous since we're all Indigenous in a sense. Also, if DNA companies use the term Native or Indigenous all appropriate populations should be labeled with it or none of them should be as the composition should as apolitical as possible and not erase the Indigenous experience of other people.
    Last edited by Moderator; 06-28-2021 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Removed politicized comment

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    Words are not perfect and their meanings depend on the context, and they aren't immutable. 23andme's switch from native to indigenous kinda makes sense, since "native" just means "born here" and is confusing since a lot of people understand the root of the word "native". It also is confusing because to some people, "Native Americans" only applies to people from the United States, not to people from Canada, Central or South America. This might be the primary reason for the switch.
    Indigenous has the same meaning as native, as it means born here, but people usually understand it as pre-Columbian migrations people.

    Autochtonous might be a better term, or even better, the Latin aborigenes (especially used of Australian aboriginals), which is a term not particularly linked to being born here but meaning being present since the origin/ from the beginning, ab origine.
    I don't know if there is a germanic term, that could be used instead of Greek/Latin.

    There is also the term "Amerindian", which is easier (one word) and removes the need to focus on who came here first, who was born here and who is from this land.
    And while they are neither Indian, nor have anything to do with explorer Amerigo Vespucci, some Natives still like to use the term "indian" to refer to themselves.

    From a purely genetic point of view, there is no denying that what we're discussing is extremely distinct and divergent from the populations that came in the last 500 years (Europeans and West Africans).
    We just need to specify post- Columbian/transcontinental era in order to clarify if talking about local phenomenons like the genesis of the Afro-American population (or the colonial white one), which is indeed a American/local "native" process.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignis90 View Post
    Words are not perfect and their meanings depend on the context, and they aren't immutable. 23andme's switch from native to indigenous kinda makes sense, since "native" just means "born here" and is confusing since a lot of people understand the root of the word "native". It also is confusing because to some people, "Native Americans" only applies to people from the United States, not to people from Canada, Central or South America. This might be the primary reason for the switch.
    Indigenous has the same meaning as native, as it means born here, but people usually understand it as pre-Columbian migrations people.

    Autochtonous might be a better term, or even better, the Latin aborigenes (especially used of Australian aboriginals), which is a term not particularly linked to being born here but meaning being present since the origin/ from the beginning, ab origine.
    I don't know if there is a germanic term, that could be used instead of Greek/Latin.

    There is also the term "Amerindian", which is easier (one word) and removes the need to focus on who came here first, who was born here and who is from this land.
    And while they are neither Indian, nor have anything to do with explorer Amerigo Vespucci, some Natives still like to use the term "indian" to refer to themselves.

    From a purely genetic point of view, there is no denying that what we're discussing is extremely distinct and divergent from the populations that came in the last 500 years (Europeans and West Africans).
    We just need to specify post- Columbian/transcontinental era in order to clarify if talking about local phenomenons like the genesis of the Afro-American population (or the colonial white one), which is indeed a American/local "native" process.
    There's always the term used in Canada, "First Nations".

    EDIT: BTW, other companies have also switched to "Indigenous Americas" -- such as Ancestry.
    Last edited by geebee; 06-28-2021 at 03:01 PM.
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    I like “first people”. I think this is only clear in Australia and the Americas, where an initial migration tens of thousands of years ago established a population that had little admixture for tens of thousands of years. Certainly different from Irish for example.

    First Nations is a term that reflects some autonomy of First Peoples within Canada. Certainly many groups of American First People were not “nations” as we conceive of nations before European invasion, though some were.
    Last edited by RP48; 06-28-2021 at 05:42 PM.

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    Most Irish (male) lines aren't first wave settlers, R1b is relatively recent so not a good analogy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by uflakmoon View Post
    I'm not saying I want the title Indigenous American but if it's used we should be included, I rather that no one used the term Indigenous American or Indigenous since we're all Indigenous in a sense. Also, if DNA companies use the term Native or Indigenous all appropriate populations should be labeled with it or none of them should be as the composition should as apolitical as possible and not erase the Indigenous experience of other people.
    I hear what you're saying, but in some cases it would be virtually impossible -- and potentially, politically charged -- to determine who is "native" and who is not. With respect to the Americas, basically the idea seems to be that anyone who reached the Americas before Columbus is "Native". (Which makes me wonder what we'd call descendants of the 10th century Vikings in Greenland if they had remained in the Americas, and if they had living descendants here today.)

    I'd prefer consistency in labeling myself, but I think in this case it just isn't going to happen.

    Also, as I mentioned in my reply to Ignis90, in Canada the term "First Nations" is used. I suppose you could say the term "First" might exclude the "Inuit", except that the term "Nations" is plural.
    Last edited by geebee; 06-28-2021 at 03:28 PM.
    Besides British-German-Catalan, ancestry includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw & another NA tribe, possibly Catawba. Avatar picture is: my father, his father, & his father's father; baby is my eldest brother.

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    Personally, I have no problem with the term as it is usually understood:


    indigenous
    [ in-dij-uh-nuhs ]

    adjective
    (1) originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native (often followed by to):
    the plants indigenous to Canada.

    (2) Indigenous. relating to or being a people who are the original, earliest known inhabitants of a region, or are their descendants:
    the Indigenous Maori of New Zealand;
    the Indigenous languages of the Americas.

    (3) innate; inherent; natural (usually followed by to):
    feelings indigenous to human beings.

    https://www.dictionary.com/browse/indigenous


    &


    indigenous adjective

    Definition of indigenous
    1a : produced, growing, living, or occurring natively or naturally in a particular region or environment
    indigenous plants
    the indigenous culture

    b Indigenous or less commonly indigenous : of or relating to the earliest known inhabitants of a place and especially of a place that was colonized by a now-dominant group
    Indigenous peoples

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indigenous
    Last edited by JMcB; 06-28-2021 at 03:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geebee View Post
    Also, as I mentioned in my reply to Ignis90, in Canada the term "First Nations" is used. I suppose you could say the term "First" might exclude the "Inuit", except that the term "Nations" is plural.
    In fact the term First Nations does exclude Inuit. It specifically means Amerindians in Canada.

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    The old european term was aborigine for anyone in the world who where original inhabitants


    It was formed from the 16th century term, Aborigine, which means "original inhabitants". It derives from the Latin words 'ab' (from) and 'origine' (origin, beginning). The word was used in Australia to describe the original people of the land as early as 1789.


    Without a capital "a", "aboriginal" can refer to an Indigenous person from anywhere in the world. The word means “original inhabitant” in Latin.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalophias View Post
    In fact the term First Nations does exclude Inuit. It specifically means Amerindians in Canada.
    Yes, I see that it does. Thank you for the correction. Technically, it would appear that "aboriginal" should also exclude the Inuit, since they were not the original inhabitants.

    However, it appears that the term "aboriginal" may be applied in Canada to include the Inuit. This seems a little odd given the literal meaning of the word.

    Further, if we want to get really pedantic, it's impossible to say who the "first nations" in many regions of the Americas were, given that (1) there is evidence to support that the peopling of the Americas did not occur in a single wave; and (2) a lot of internal migration has occurred since first settlement -- even prior to contact with Europeans.

    EDIT: And there are those who, like me, aren't really "Indigenous" to anywhere, at least not completely. I am mostly -- but not entirely -- European by ancestry, but from multiple regions within Europe (and possibly central Asia).

    Then there's the "Native American/Indigenous American" part, which while small is nevertheless present in both my paper trail and my DNA.
    Last edited by geebee; 06-28-2021 at 05:44 PM.
    Besides British-German-Catalan, ancestry includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw & another NA tribe, possibly Catawba. Avatar picture is: my father, his father, & his father's father; baby is my eldest brother.

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