Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Chalissa » Sun Apr 03, 2005 3:42 pm

While researching Native American history for a paper I'm writing, I came upon this statement: "The oldest documented Indian cultures in North America are Sandia (15000 BC), Clovis (12000 BC) and Folsom (8000 BC)" [http://www.nativeamericans.com]. Johnny Cash's song "Folsom Prison Blues" immediately popped into my head, and I looked up Folsom, California. I just thought it was pretty cool that a Native American name from 8000 BC is still being used today.

On a slightly different note, it would be interesting to know how many commonly used words in the English language came directly from Native American words.
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by haro » Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:46 pm

Chalissa, no one knows how those cultures called themselves. There are neither sound recordings nor written documents from those times. The names given to them are modern ones. That's common practice in archaeology, e.g. Hallstadt culture, La Thène culture, named after the modern names of the places where first or most important discoveries were made.

The Folsom culture is named after a town in New Mexico, not the other way round. Folsom is an English last name, see http://www.folsomfamily.org/

Clovis culture is named after another city in New Mexico, and, funny enough, as you may know, there is a city of the same name in California too. I don't know details, but Clovis may have been named after Chlodwig, sometimes also spelled Clovis, a Frankish king around the turn of the 6th century.
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:55 pm

Chalissa, Except that FOLSOM is not an authentic Native American name just as Sandia and Clovis are not – they are merely the names of locations where artifacts were discovered. Thus, the ‘Folsom’ of Folsom, California, Folsom Prison, and almost all other cities and places of that name around the U.S. (there is a Folsom Field and Folsom Street in Boulder, Colorado, just south of where I live) bear no relationship to the prehistoric North American cultural tradition of the Great Plains of about ~10,000 years ago. The one exception is the little town in northeast New Mexico – Folsom – where artifacts were found (the ‘Folsom point’ is a flint point characteristic of the Folsom tradition, typically leaf-shaped and fluted and used on a projectile, as a spear, for hunting game) and after which the Folsom culture was recemtly named – kind of disappointing to find that it is not actually a bona fide Native American name. And that town as well as the city and prison in California, and the assorted other place names around the U.S. actually derive from the surname Folsom, which itself is said to be a contraction of the name Foulsham, which is both an English town and surname (Folsom, California, and thus Fulsom Prison, were named for Joseph Folsom, a captain in the U.S. Army). Which makes one wonder if there is any relationship between ‘Folsom’ and ‘fulsome,’ which is something I have often wondered as I passed by the Boulder Folsoms.

As far as the number of commonly used words in the English language which come from Native American words, I have seen various estimates. If one includes place names, there’s a lot (e.g. Mississippi, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky – about half the states got their names from Indian words – Susquehanna, Shenandoah, etc.). But discounting place names, Bill Bryson in his book Made in America (1994), estimates about 300 (e.g. anorak, bayou, caribou, caucus, chipmunk, hickory, hominy, igloo, kayak, moccasin, moose, opossum, papoose, parka, pecan, powwow, raccoon, skunk, squash, succotash, teepee, toboggan, tomahawk, totem, wampum, wigwam, woodchuck, etc.). Jack Forbes in his 1979 book American Words lists 1000 Native (Canada, North, South, and Central America, West Indies) terms in English, not including geographical names.
<1928 “The fact that these arrowheads were found under the conditions they were, makes it possible to designate it as evidence of a definite cultural stage, for which the name ‘FOLSOM Culture’ has been suggested.’—in ‘Scientific American’ by H. J. Cook, July, page 39/3>

<1931 “Fragments with long and broad lengthwise grooves . . . with often long and sharp base points, are really the only ones that could be called ‘FOLSOM points’, strictu sensu, that is to say, points of same shape and technique as those actually found at FOLSOM and . . . made by the same ancient people.”—Proceeding of the Colorado Museum of Natural History,’ X. ii. page 12>
(Oxford English Dictionary, An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import (1857) by William)
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Apr 03, 2005 10:01 pm

Hans Joerg, Great minds think alike. (<:) I evidently posted just a few minutes after you did.

Ken – April 3, 2005
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by haro » Mon Apr 04, 2005 3:46 pm

Ken, I was sure you'd come up with lots of interesting details in addition to my pretty brief statement. Thanks.

As for Native Americans - in August 2004 I attended the Pow-Wow of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Peshabestown, MI, on the "pinkie" of the Lower Michiganian "mitten." Next to the parking lot, there was a row of tee-pees. Of course the north-eastern Midwest isn't a tee-pee area; they belonged to guests from other states. There were three pretty big ones and one tiny one at one end. It looked as if it were the outhouse for the bigger ones. I called it a pee-pee, which caused quite a laugh among other folks there. Maybe some day in the far future linguists will have a hard time finding out the etymology of that term.
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:24 pm

Hans Joerg has raised an interesting point in one sentence, "As for Native Americans - in August 2004 I attended the Pow-Wow of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians".

I understand the PC term “Native Americans”, but on this side of the Pond it would appear that Columbus' mistake is still alive and kicking by the use of the word “Indians”, could someone advise which is preferred please?
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Apr 04, 2005 6:49 pm

Bob, I have followed this one fairly closely over the years. There are many Native Americans living in my area, I have Native American friends, and I have attended several classes on Native American culture. What I see as the current view is that non-Native Americans seem to be more concerned over the usage than Native Americans and seem to feel that the PC thing to do is say Native American, whereas Native Americans are not really that concerned about the issue and although they use Native American the majority of the time, they also are not offended by and often use American Indian or Indian themselves.

NATIVE AMERICAN was big in the 1970s although it immediately feel into disfavor with some Indian and Alaskan groups who specifically preferred American Indian and Alaskan Native. Some Indian groups also felt that bureaucrats were playing with the language, and preferred the traditional Indian or American Indian and argued that Native American was ambiguous since, technically, any American born in the U.S. was a native American.
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American Heritage Dictionary

INDIAN (of the Americas): A member of any of the Native American peoples except the Eskimos, Aleuts, and Inuits.

Usage Note: Assuming that he had reached the Indies, Columbus called the people on the islands his ships visited “indios,” or “Indians,” and the misnomer has stuck ever since. It is natural that people have proposed alternative names, whether to avoid confusion between the inhabitants of America and India or to indicate respect for the original occupants of the American continents. Thus Native American has become widely established in American English, being acceptable in all contemporary contexts and preferred in many. However, the acceptance of Native American has not brought about the demise of Indian, despite persistent criticism. Unlike Negro, which was quickly stigmatized once black became preferred, Indian never fell out of favor with a large segment of the American population. It is firmly rooted in English in such common terms as Plains Indian, French and Indian War, and Indian Territory as well as in numerous plant and place names. In locutions of this kind there is no possibility of substitution.• The charge that Indian is an offensive term hopelessly tainted by the ignorant or romantic stereotypes of popular American culture can be answered, at least in part, by pointing to the continuing use of this term among American Indians themselves. Indeed, Indian authors and those sympathetic to Indian causes often prefer it for its unpretentious familiarity as well as its emotional impact, as in this passage from the Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday's memoir The Names (1976): “It was about this time that [my mother] began to see herself as an Indian. That dim native heritage became a fascination and a cause for her.”
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NATIVE AMERICAN: A member of any of the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The ancestors of the Native Americans are generally considered by scientists to have entered the Americas from Asia by way of the Bering Strait sometime during the late glacial epoch.

Usage Note: Many Americans have come to prefer Native American over Indian both as a term of respect and as a corrective to the famous misnomer bestowed on the peoples of the Americas by a geographically befuddled Columbus. There are solid arguments for this preference. Native American eliminates any confusion between indigenous American peoples and the inhabitants of India, making it the clear choice in many official contexts. It is also historically accurate, despite the insistence by some that Indians are no more native to America than anyone else since their ancestors are assumed to have migrated here from Asia. But one sense of native is “being a member of the original inhabitants of a particular place,” and Native Americans' claim to being the original inhabitants of the Americas is unchallenged.• Accuracy and precision aside, however, the choice between these two terms is often made as a matter of principle. For many, Native American is the only choice for expressing respect toward America's indigenous peoples; Indian is seen as wrong and offensive. For others, the former smacks of bureaucracy and the manipulation of language for political purposes while the latter is the natural English term, its inaptness made irrelevant by long use. Fortunately, this controversy appears to have subsided somewhat in recent years, and it is now common to find the two terms used interchangeably in the same piece of writing. Furthermore, the issue has never been particularly divisive between Indians and non-Indians. While generally welcoming the respectful tone of Native American, most Indian writers have continued to use the older name at least as often as the newer one. •Native American and Indian are not exact equivalents when referring to the aboriginal peoples of Canada and Alaska. Native American, the broader term, is properly used of all such peoples, whereas Indian is customarily used of the northern Athabaskan and Algonquian peoples in contrast to the Eskimos, Inuits, and Aleuts. Alaska Native (or less commonly Native Alaskan) is also properly used of all indigenous peoples residing in Alaska. See Usage Note at American Indian. See Usage Note at First Nation.

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AMERICAN INDIAN: A member of any of the peoples indigenous to the Americas except the Eskimos, Aleuts, and Inuits.

Usage Note: In principle, American Indian can apply to all native peoples throughout the Americas except the Eskimos, Aleuts, and Inuits, but in practice it is generally restricted to the peoples of the United States and Canada. For native peoples in the rest of the hemisphere, usage generally favors Indian by itself or, less frequently, the contractions Amerindian or Amerind.
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by haro » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:21 pm

Bob, when I wrote that I was aware of the fact that it might cause a controversy. The term I used is what those - uh - Indians use themselves, see http://www.gtb.nsn.us . It's the official name of their community, which, by the way, is fairly autonomous in that it has its own regional government and law enforcement corps and, of course, is entitled to give itself the name it prefers.
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:58 am

So children don't have to play "Bovine persons and Native Americans" instead of "Cowboys and Indians" then?
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:29 am

Bob, Not if their mommies and daddies don’t call whores ‘sexual service providers'!

Ken G – April 4, 2005
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Stoneburner » Tue Apr 05, 2005 2:18 pm

I happened upon this forum in helping a student do some research, and then I registered just in order to reply to this message.

Being of American Indian descent myself (that is the generic term I personally prefer) I can tell you that most "Indians" prefer to be called by their tribal names. It is important to remember that hundreds of distinct cultures existed in the Americas before Columbus got lost. So instead of "Native American" or "Indian," most prefer Shawnee, Delaware, Arikara, Miami, Mingo, Sac, Fox, Lakota, Mescalero, Navajo, etc... As another aside, a lot of those names mean something along the lines of "The People." My tribe, currently known as the Shawnee, is really the Shawandasse Nish Nabe, which roughly translates to "True South Wind People," referring to tribal origins in Central Mexico 13,000 years ago and the subsequent migration that took some of us all the way to Canada, as if we were blown along on a Southern wind. Modern estimation of the etymology of the term "Shawnee" goes like this: the French only caught "Shawan" and used that term for us. The British overheard a Frenchman talking about something belonging to a Shawnee, saying "Shawaneaux," assumed they were talking about the person rather than the object, and began using the term "Shawanoe" or "Shawanoee." Americans have to abbreviate things, so it became Shawnee. An earlier poster said that it is impossible to know what the Ancient Ones called themselves, but that ignores the fact that many descendents are still around. Here in Ohio, there is an important archaeological site overlooking the Little Miami River referred to as Fort Ancient, because of the age of the mounds at the site. The culture that had lived there came to be called Fort Ancient as well, but they were actually the ancestors of the modern Shawnee, and called themselves Shawandasse Nish Nabe, just as we do now. When Americans began to "discover" the mounds in the 18th century, they refused to believe that the "savages" they were then dealing with could have built such magnificent structures, so there was an immediate disassociation between moundbuilders of the past and the contemporary natives. Even today it is tough sometimes to get people to see that there is an actual, legitimate tie between ancient and modern Indians; hence, names given to cultures by archaeologists rather recently continue to be used rather than the names given to the cultures by themselves thousands of years ago.

Wow, I hadn't planned to ramble on so. I hope that I have been somewhat informative and not offended anyone by being a rookie and writing so much. I thank you for your indulgence if you have actually read all the way through my post!
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Post by Bobinwales » Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:22 pm

Thank you Ross, your post answered a lot of questions that were in my mind. I can well understand the sense of identity that tribal names can give. Just let anyone try calling me English if you want to see a portly middle-aged gentleman blow his top.
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by haro » Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:24 am

Ross, as the "former poster" you mentioned, I fully agree with most of what you wrote. However, when I look at the changes all languages I know underwent in the course of just a millennium or so, I cannot imagine that even a single word of the language of, say, the Folsom culture could be understood today, after 10,000 years. And, without questioning the ties between the Fort Ancient culture and the modern Shawandasse Nish Nabe, I wonder how you can know how those people called themselves.

By the way, as you certainly know, the generic term for the peoples of the "Three Fires Confederacy," i.e. the Ojibwa, Odawa and Potawatomi, is Anashinabe / Anishnabek etc., which, as I was told, means "first people." I guess it's the same root as that of your Nish Nabe.
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Stoneburner » Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:34 pm

Hans,
There are definitely ties, both linguistic and cultural, between the Shawnee and many of the other tribes in this area of the United States.
As for knowing what the people called themselves all of those years ago, you have to keep in mind that most native peoples have a very different method of keeping history than many European cultures. My father can give you the history of the Shawnee going back 13,000 years beacuase it has been passed down orally from generation to generation. For some it's tough to imagine that oral history can be as accurate as written history, but as far as we are concerned, it's much more accurate. I did a paper on reconciling oral and written methodolgies in the study of history while working on my Master's, so this post could end up being WAAAY long if I don't stop now. I'm glad that folks are appreciating my information, and I understand your questions-there are just different ways of keeping information alive between cultures.
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Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Apr 06, 2005 6:52 pm

Ross, is your paper viewable online anywhere? One of the etymologist's perennial bugbears is the emergence of spurious word provenances, so it would be fascinating to gain an insight into how your culture has prevented similar processes from diluting and distorting the understanding of its past.
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