Jay Tavare: Names perpetuate false image of Indian people

"Most American Indian tribal names are not the real names of the Indian nations. They were names given to them by their enemies or more correctly, the Indians who worked with the United States Cavalry to fight the Indians who resisted the white ways. The word "Apache" -- the tribal name for N'de people -- originally came from the Zuni word "apachu," a derogatory term that means "enemy strangers."

Also, Geronimo's real name was Goyakola, "the one who yawns a lot." We see this kind of name abuse in many areas. The Apache Helicopter is another one -- a killing machine named after the Apache Nation. In Holland and France, the street nick name for a thug is "Apache." I could go on and on, about how the Red Skins football team or Cleveland Indians baseball team's mascots are just as offensive, for instance.

American Indian heroes, and their names, should not be used without an understanding of who these folks really were and what they still mean to their people. Most of this I blame on Hollywood and the way the Indians were always demonized in film and TV -- it's no wonder the world has such a false image of the Red Nation and its heroes."

Get the Story:
Jay Tavare: Geronimo (The Huffington Post 5/6)

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