Jackie Pata/NCAI: 'Indian giver' comment not in Olympic spirit

"Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today, an international media personality, made irresponsible comments on the global stage of the 2012 Olympic Games when he used the phrase “Indian giver” during NBC’s morning coverage of the London Olympics. These comments were not in the spirit of the Olympic Games, nor civil discourse.

Mr. Lauer’s misinformed choice of words reinforces archaic and hurtful racial stereotypes that date back to colonial America. Early commerce between tribal nations and colonial settlers required the value of goods exchanged to be of equal or greater value, or the trade was not deemed acceptable. Some colonial traders who did not uphold this ethic used this phrase to discredit tribal nations and Native traders. Now, the pejorative phrase has become associated with a person who takes back a gift. This misrepresents the original and modern cultural values of Native Americans, based on fair trade, sharing, and empowering those around them.

Native Americans have made and continue to make significant contributions to North American society and the global community – including in sports and athletics."

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Jacqueline Pata: NCAI: Matt Lauer ‘Indian Giver’ Comment Not in Spirit of the Olympics (Indian Country Today 8/7)

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