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Indian - The name Columbus gave to the natives of America, a name which has survived to this day and has passed into the languages of the civilized world, including that of india.  The early French called the natives sauvages (savages) and peaux-rouges (redskins), and the early English termed them "Americans."

The attempt to rename them "Amerind," a combination of "American" and "indian" proved unpopular.

Congress has never given a general definition of an Indian in it legislation, nor have the courts ever interpreted the term.  In 1879 certain rights were denied the Ponca indians on the ground that they were "not persons within the meaning of the law."  But in the same year Judge Dundy rendered his famous decision that "an indian is a person within the meaning of the law of the United States."

Indians had no general name for themselves as a race, and their own tribal names usually meant simply "people," or "men."  Most tribal names, as we know them, were given by other tribes or by the white man.
 

 


Related Information within this Site
[ American ][ Amerind ][ Bright Eyes ][ Columbus ]
[ Red Man ][ Sauvage ][ Standing Bear ]