Portage la Prairie, MB –
Indians are starting a movement to get their name and image back. Canadians who have family roots in India are fed up with the term “Indian” being used to describe First Nations People.
“It’s frustrating to have Indian food associated with bannock, wild game, wiener water soup and something called Indian tacos,” Indians for Indians leader, Arjun Kumar said.
The group is launching court challenges, lobbying efforts and protests to end the use of the term Indian to describe anything but those people and things from India.
“We want to correct an insulting error that Christopher Columbus started ,” Kumar explained. “With typical European arrogance he assumed he reached India and started calling North American Indigenous People, Indians.”
Indians for Indians is hoping to have sports teams and brands that use the term Indian make changes to reflect the group’s wishes.
“We have contacted the Indian Motorcycle Company about a change to their logo,” Kumar said. “We are recommending using the image of a Sikh man wearing the traditional Dastaar headwear.”
“The Cleveland Indians have been notified that we would like them to replace the logo with a caricature of Russel Peters.”
While some First Nations People have embraced and still use the term, Indians for Indians want to end what they believe, is the incorrect use of the term. Current immigration trends and higher birth rates among Canadians of Indian decent are making the need for change more urgent.
“A Swede would not appreciate being called a Fin and a Dutch person is not a German,” Kumar rationalized. “We should be called Indians and First Nations should be identified by their original Nation.”
Kumar recommends that people replace the term Indian when describing Indigenous North Americans with more accurate terms like Cree, Mohawk, Dakotah and Ojibwe.
“We don’t generally call people from Europe, Europeans. We refer to the actual country they are from, so we can certainly do that in Canada,” Kumar said.
The lobby group points out their cultures are quite different from each other but the First Nations and Indian people share a history of dealing with British Empire.
“We have a common frenemy in the Crown,” Kumar said. “We stand with all First Nations People in their fight for treaty and human rights but we just want our name back.”
Protests are scheduled across the country starting Monday in all major Canadian cities including Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg.
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