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Noun edit

Native American (plural Native Americans)

  1. A member of some Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
  2. An Indigenous person of the contiguous United States.
  3. (dated) A resident of the United States who is not an immigrant. (Often capitalized native American.)
    • 1919, H. P. Lovecraft, Beyond the Wall of Sleep[1]:
      His name, as given on the records, was Joe Slater, or Slaader, and his appearance was that of the typical denizen of the Catskill Mountain region; one of those strange, repellent scions of a primitive colonial peasant stock whose isolation for nearly three centuries in the hilly fastnesses of a little-travelled countryside has caused them to sink to a kind of barbaric degeneracy, [] their general mental status is probably below that of any other section of the native American people.

Usage notes edit

  • Native American is often used in place of American Indian, although some people insist on being called American Indians, and the latter is not usually considered offensive. In some cases, offense can be avoided by referring to Indians from Canada as First Nations people, Native Canadians, or Aboriginal peoples of Canada.
  • The third definition can cause confusion, and the phrase Native-born American is preferred in ambiguous contexts. This definition was used by anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant political factions in the 1850s; they called themselves the "Native American Party" before settling on the names "Americans" and "Know-Nothings".
  • In the U.S many now prefer the designation Native American instead of Indian for the first inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere, although usage may vary according to tribe and region. In Canada and Alaska in particular, American Indian is still preferred as marking a useful distinction from Eskimos.

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Adjective edit

Native American (comparative more Native American, superlative most Native American)

  1. Of the American Indians.

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See also edit