'Going Geronimo' and Other Useful Native Slang Terms, Part 2

Andre Cramblit

Click here if you missed Part 1.

I know there are many of you who read the wonderful words at Indian Country Today Media Network who are non-Native. I thought it would be helpful for you to have a reference for some of the inside remarks that are sometimes made. These are some definitions I have collected over the years from other emails or blogs and have added to myself. I have always said that 90% of the world’s problems are issues of communication. Let’s hope this brings a bit of clarity.

NGE: Non-government enrolled. An Indian not officially a member of a federally recognized tribe.

OSI: Out of state Indian (relocated from another area).

Plastic: Fake, as in a fake medicine man or woman. Usage: "Don't waste your money on that plastic shaman."

Pretendian: Someone who knowingly (or subconsciously) believes they are a Native American when they are in reality not Indian at all. Used for getting jobs, applying to colleges, getting scholarships or internships, etc. Also known as a “Box Checker.”

Seventh Generation: The concept that what we do impacts people seven generations in front of us, used for reminding people to make it a better world. In N.W. California it is the three generations behind you, your generation, and the three in front of you meaning you are part of a continuum.

Snag: A partner for a date or a one-night stand many times a result from a 49.

Snaggin': Searching for a snag.

Suits: government agents or representatives often times from the BIA.

The Red Road: Using traditional practices such as sweats and working with traditional healers to overcome addiction. A majority of the time it includes the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Tonto: Sidekick, lackey, Indian Uncle Tom.

Treaty talk: White man's lies.

Twink, twinki, twinkie: Non: Indian who believes in New Age mysticism.

U.S. History: the story of the genocidal move west

Wannabe or wannabi: Non-Indian who wants to be an Indian. See Pretendian.

Ennit, Innit: Is it not i.e. that’s a nice sunset innit

Gee Ennit: Exclamation, usual in agreement i.e. That was a great party. Gee ennit
Ho: Said after prayer or a statement that you agree with, used manly in California the rest of Indian Country uses aho.

Eh, Eeeeeeh ey, eeeeeyy, ayyayyyye, aiiiie,: used at the end of a teasing type joke.

Oh ya huh:  Yes or I agree.

"Ima bust an arrow in his ass!": I am mad at that person
Jokes: I was kidding.

Owich: ouch, resulting from pain.
Native please: Exclamation signifying disbelief, contrary opinion, disgust, scorn, amusement, ad infitnitum

Please send more. I will add them to this list. I will publish a dictionary citing you as the source of the entry aaaiiiiyyyyeeee! That was funny–gee ennit. Native please.

“Just my two dentalias worth.”

Andre Cramblit is a Karuk Tribal Member from the Klamath and Salmon rivers in northwest California and the Operations Director of the Northern California Indian Development Council. He lives with his wife Wendy and son Kyle in Arcata, California.

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