Politically Correct Crowd Doesn't Get It

(04/01/2002)

Dear Editor,

I was very interested in the report about eliminating American Indian cultural activities and ceremonies as a part of the 4-H programs. Your letter of protest was right on.

Indianapolis is home to the wonderful Eiteljorg Museum of Southwestern Art and Indian Artifacts. This museum will be enlarged as soon as nearby construction of another museum is completed. The Eiteljorg is one of a group of outstanding American Indian artifact museums in the United States.

My wife has been a very successful, volunteer tour guide at the Eiteljorg for several years. She loves it. We have traveled to reservations at various parts of the United States in an effort to learn "straight from the horse's mouth" about American Indian culture and history. These experiences have been very rewarding.

My wife frequently does "battle" with the Eiteljorg staff about their urgings to be politically correct when guiding tours, particularly school tours. I don't know who is advising these staff members but I fell quite certain that it is not American Indians. These staff members keep urging the use of Native Americans in place of Indian.

We have made two trips to New Mexico and one to Wyoming. In all cases we were in contact with many Indians. At the five-day-long Crow Fair in Wyoming, we were constantly in contact with Indians. In New Mexico we were in contact with Indians from a variety of tribes. Never once did we hear the name, Native American. These people called themselves Indians. But, the politically correct crowd either doesn't seem to get it or they don't want to get it.

For what it is worth.

Al Ball

Indianapolis, IN