According to apocrypha, the term “Indian” as a descriptor for the Native Americans comes from profiteer and all-around scum-bag Christopher Columbus. Columbus was under the impression that he had found the India – as in, the Subcontinent that gives us Bollywood films. He was wrong, of course, but the name stuck, and the Natives became known as Indians.
Indian, eventually, morphed into the slur “injun” and was popularized by Westerns, where it was commonplace for the Superior White Man in the Cowboy Hat to gun down thousands of these feather-wearing, war-whooping savages in Redface during a single lifetime. Obviously the term isn’t one respectable and enlightened people with anything resembling manners should be using anymore, but nobody accused the GOP of having any of those traits. Take, for instance, the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner report on Wednesday that a state lawmaker used the slur to describe Native Americans while making the case against expanding Medicaid.
The newspaper is standing beside its initial report as well, despite the state rep, Allan Jaggi (R), claiming that he didn’t use the slur.
Jaggi was one of the few Wyoming legislators to speak against expanding the Medicaid program, and made the comment that “They (tribal members) are covered under a federal deal,” and that “The Injuns are going to be taken care of.”
That was Wednesday. On Thursday, Jaggi “vehemently denied” using the slur. He insisted that he “did not say that” and that the word wasn’t “in my vocabulary no more than I would call blacks the other word.”
The Rock Springs Rocket-Miner, however, is standing by the quote. Managing editor Deb Sutton made that very clear.
Meanwhile, Northern Arapaho Business Council member Richard Brannan told the paper that it felt like “we are still in 18th century Wyoming” and that “We are American Indians, not ‘Injuns.'”
Someone, however, got the message: Republican state Rep Bernadine Craft noted that Jaggi’s use of the word should be a reminder for everyone “to be careful,” because “Even when we don’t mean anything hurtful, it can be perceived as such, and it behooves us to be careful.”
Of course, for every one muffled voice of reason you have a thousand crying screams of bigotry and ignorance; Uinta County Republican Party Chairwoman Lisa Eyre said that she didn’t “see why that would be offensive,” because she has Native American friends, you guys:
I grew up around (American) Indians my whole life, and I don’t remember them being too offended by words like that.
Well, that settles that; her friends clearly speak for all American Indians .