“Indian” is a word that has deep and conflicting roots in the history of the Western Hemisphere and in the contemporary imaginations and attitudes of those who live in the Americas. The issue of the proper usage of this term and those related to it (“Native American,” “American Indian,” “Amerindian,” “Native,” “Indigenous,” and “First Nations,” among others) can be frustrating since the question is so basic; that is, it does little to open up the depths of historical or contemporary indigenous experiences. But it is also a way of beginning a discussion of what students and practitioners of American studies and cultural studies ought to be learning and researching about the aboriginal history of the Americas.

Broad agreement exists that the term “Indian,” referring to people in the Americas, originated in Christopher Columbus’s mistaken idea that he had discovered a new route to India when he arrived in the Caribbean. …

This essay may be found on page 130 of the printed volume.

Disciplinarities, Embodiments, Places
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