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A fun exercise in language, colloquialism, and officiating labels

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Whiskey16

Golden Member
Jul 11, 2011
1,338
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A recent story on the BBC site ("Pope names new saints including Native American") got me considering news' services incorrectly lumping one states labeling of a group while discounting the very same people's choice for a label in their own and differing state.

A prime example for contrast is the error for the BBC,

Canadian Native Americans Harry Lafond (L) and Wilton Littlechild were at the Vatican for the event.
..
A Native American (born in what came to be New York but served and dies in Canada) and six others have been named as saints by Pope Benedict XVI at the start of a new drive to deepen the faith of believers.
In contrast with the CBC's reporting:

This lead me to provide some feedback to the BBC:

~~~~
"Pope names new saints including Native American"

"Canadian Native Americans Harry Lafond (L) and Wilton Littlechild were at the Vatican for the event"

Native American is a USA specific term, as you must be aware for precursing with the label of Canadian in front of Native American. In Canada, these people are denoted as First Nations or more generically, North American aboriginals.

A prime reason for this is the centuries old English sourced colloquialism of referencing the former 13 colonies (excluding the 14th of Nova Scotia) and later the territory of the USA as being America. That territory was considered Britain's America but, when lost, and that terminology was kept, despite America geographically accurately referring to all of the territory from North to South America. Official state documents and departments are aware of such a colloquialism as they tend to go to great lengths to avoid a label of American and apply United States in their titles (ie. US Postal Service, US State Department, President of the United States, etc). British (particularly the BBC) and US language all too regularly conflate what is meant with the geographic label of America. As in this story, by confusing a US specific term of Native American for Canadian aboriginals despite all too often the BBC service erring by officially applying the colloquialism of America or Americans for only the USA.

Please, I realise that your North American bureau is based in the USA and primarily focuses upon stories in the USA and thereby presenting a US perspective when referencing Canadian stories. Canadians do not appreciate being treated as a periphery and to be incorrectly lumped into another state's labeling diction.

If you are truly a world news service, then you would correctly report and denote the stories of the people you choose to report upon.

Written language or proper diction is important, and it is therefore of need to be accurate and consistent when being a world, rather than provincial, service for journalism.

This story would be best to reflect the international nature of many aboriginal groups in this continent, and when particularly reporting on those involving more than a single country, to use the accurate and more generic term of North American aboriginal.
~~~~

Now, this is hardly heavy discussion, rather an interesting exercise in national colloquialisms gaining a confused state in more official language. It may be interesting here -- a highly ideological and jingoistic US centric forum. :p
 

WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
27,866
4,913
126
I'm not sure of your point here.

In Canada you use North American aborigine, in the USA and UK we use Native American. Both terms apply to peoples from Canada.

If the BBC used First Nation citizens no one in the UK would have any idea what they were talking about.
 

Whiskey16

Golden Member
Jul 11, 2011
1,338
5
76
..in the USA and UK we use Native American. Both terms apply to peoples from Canada.
No, not in the case I quoted, as it was specific to denote "Canadian Native American" while retaining Native American throughout the rest.

Hence, a clear conflation and confusion.

I'm not sure of your point here.
The main point is of consistent confusion, due to colloquialism, when applying the term American. Is it to denote all in North and South Hemispheres or only the colloquial use for the USA.
 

Whiskey16

Golden Member
Jul 11, 2011
1,338
5
76
If the BBC used First Nation citizens no one in the UK would have any idea what they were talking about.
The BBC has done just that since altering their online story with this change:

From:

Canadian Native Americans Harry Lafond (L) and Wilton Littlechild were at the Vatican for the event.

to

First Nation Canadians Harry Lafond (L) and Wilton Littlechild were at the Vatican for the event
Don't put it past people learn from the examples presented to them. We should not be insular and static beings.

Plus, on the video broadcast of this story last night, their correspondent at the Vatican introduced the subjects of the story as 'North American Natives."

It is pleasant to see a journalism service reacting to adequately label its subjects as the subjects choose to identify themselves as.

:p Still this likely will not resolve the expected continued conflation for the label of America(an) with that of the accurate geographic title encompassing all of the territories in and around North and South America from the colloquialism referencing only the USA.
 
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Auric

Diamond Member
Oct 11, 1999
9,596
2
71
Ehh, in either case the reference to Canadian is due to citizenship and Native American is actually more encompassing, especially given "birth in what came to be New York" and thus not amongst those who would become known as First Nations which itself is political rather than particularly geographical, sociological, or cultural. So the preferred term is actually aboriginal (native and indigenous are demonstrably false based upon known migrations). So the CBC got it right the first time with "Mohawk North America aboriginal" and thanks to you the BBC bollocked it up a second time :p
 

Whiskey16

Golden Member
Jul 11, 2011
1,338
5
76
So the CBC got it right the first time with "Mohawk North America aboriginal" and thanks to you the BBC bollocked it up a second time :p
No, the BBC corrected itself to reflect what the group and people in question have chose to denote themselves. It is about them and the BBC offered respect in a revampled display to avoid itself, as an external enitity, misrepresenting who the reported people choose to be.

The term of First Nations is specifically to distinguish themselves from other aboriginal groups on the continent such as the Inuit.

For your knowledge, I will provide a clarrification:

A Note on Terminology: Inuit, Métis, First Nations, and Aboriginal

This note on terminology helps media and the general public understand the proper usage of terms such as "Inuit", "Metis", "First Nation", and "Aboriginal", as well as "First Peoples", "Indigenous", and "Innu".

(Adapted from the Report on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples)

The term Aboriginal People refers to the indigenous inhabitants of Canada when describing in a general manner the Inuit, and First Nations (Indians), and Métis people, without regard to their separate origins and identities.

The term Aboriginal Peoples refers to organic political and cultural entities that stem historically from the original people of North America, rather than collections of individuals united by so-called "racial" characteristics. The term includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada (see section 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982):

(2) In this Act, "aboriginal peoples of Canada" includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

Following accepted practice and as a general rule, the term Inuit replaces the term Eskimo. As well, the term First Nation replaces the term Indian.

For greater clarity:

Aboriginal is an all-encompassing term that includes Inuit, First Nations (Indians), and Métis.

"First Peoples" is also an all-encompassing term that includes Inuit, First Nations (Indians) and Métis.

Aboriginal and First Nations are NOT interchangeable terms.

"Aboriginal" and "First Peoples" ARE interchangeable terms.

Inuit is the contemporary term for "Eskimo".

First Nation is the contemporary term for "Indian".

Inuit are "Aboriginal" or "First Peoples", but are not "First Nations", because "First Nations" are Indians. Inuit are not Indians.

The term "Indigenous Peoples" is an all-encompassing term that includes the Aboriginal or First Peoples of Canada, and other countries. For example, the term "Indigenous Peoples" is inclusive of Inuit in Canada, Maori in New Zealand, Aborigines in Australia, and so on. The term "Indigenous Peoples" is generally used in an international context. The title of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a prime example of the global inclusiveness of the term "Indigenous Peoples".
 

jagec

Lifer
Apr 30, 2004
24,442
4
0
You know, if Canada really DOES have a national identity beyond "Not-America", you really shouldn't be so touchy about these things.
 

monovillage

Diamond Member
Jul 3, 2008
8,444
0
0
Who the fuck cares besides a handful of pompous twits? Next time limit yourself to 8 whiskeys.
 

Whiskey16

Golden Member
Jul 11, 2011
1,338
5
76
:( The disruptive trolls have displayed again a continued penchant for typing thoughtless, discussion stumping gibberish and submitting.

The vocal rabble of AnandTech so often pile-in to maintain the low expectations that the Poltics & News subforum has become infamous for.
 

Auric

Diamond Member
Oct 11, 1999
9,596
2
71
No, the BBC corrected itself to reflect what the group and people in question have chose to denote themselves. It is about them and the BBC offered respect in a revampled display to avoid itself, as an external enitity, misrepresenting who the reported people choose to be.

The term of First Nations is specifically to distinguish themselves from other aboriginal groups on the continent such as the Inuit.

For your knowledge, I will provide a clarrification:
Have they chosen not to denote themselves Mohawk? First Nation is ambiguous and in any case current legal and political definitions should not necessarily take precedence; after all, borders are transitory which is particularly true in the case of the Mohawk. Aaannd by the same token it must be carefully considered whether what some person wants to call themselves should be honoured due to the ramifications for everyone else and, you know, actual history.

Who the fuck cares besides a handful of pompous twits? Next time limit yourself to 8 whiskeys.
16 does seem excessive.
 

Whiskey16

Golden Member
Jul 11, 2011
1,338
5
76
Have they chosen not to denote themselves Mohawk? First Nation is ambiguous..
:eek: No, neither of the two men are Mohawk:

Councillor Harry Lafond, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation

He is passionate about governance as a focus for bringing awareness of Cree Law back to the community and forming a Cree Governance structure. In the larger community, Harry is Executive Director for the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.
Chief Wilton Littlechild, Commissioner, Maskwacis Crees Treaty Six First Nations,

Chief Littlechild was honoured by being appointed the Honourary Chief for the Maskwacis Crees and also honoured by the Chiefs of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations as the International Chief for Treaty No. 6 Confederacy.
Auric, you are erring in labeling Crees (look at the photos of the men) as being Mohawk.

Thank you very much for providing a working example of rash and presumptive labeling rather than basic and respectful research to attain an accurate designation of who the reported people are - representatives of the First Nations at the Vatican.
 
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Auric

Diamond Member
Oct 11, 1999
9,596
2
71
You will be delighted to know that I only read your posts and not the articles and presumed those involved with the ceremony had some association with the Mohawk being sainted rather than just contemporary political representatives of so-called First Nation.
 

shira

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2005
9,567
5
81
A recent story on the BBC site ("Pope names new saints including Native American") got me considering news' services incorrectly lumping one states labeling of a group while discounting the very same people's choice for a label in their own and differing state.

A prime example for contrast is the error for the BBC,

In contrast with the CBC's reporting:

This lead me to provide some feedback to the BBC:

~~~~
"Pope names new saints including Native American"

"Canadian Native Americans Harry Lafond (L) and Wilton Littlechild were at the Vatican for the event"

Native American is a USA specific term, as you must be aware for precursing with the label of Canadian in front of Native American. In Canada, these people are denoted as First Nations or more generically, North American aboriginals.

A prime reason for this is the centuries old English sourced colloquialism of referencing the former 13 colonies (excluding the 14th of Nova Scotia) and later the territory of the USA as being America. That territory was considered Britain's America but, when lost, and that terminology was kept, despite America geographically accurately referring to all of the territory from North to South America. Official state documents and departments are aware of such a colloquialism as they tend to go to great lengths to avoid a label of American and apply United States in their titles (ie. US Postal Service, US State Department, President of the United States, etc). British (particularly the BBC) and US language all too regularly conflate what is meant with the geographic label of America. As in this story, by confusing a US specific term of Native American for Canadian aboriginals despite all too often the BBC service erring by officially applying the colloquialism of America or Americans for only the USA.

Please, I realise that your North American bureau is based in the USA and primarily focuses upon stories in the USA and thereby presenting a US perspective when referencing Canadian stories. Canadians do not appreciate being treated as a periphery and to be incorrectly lumped into another state's labeling diction.

If you are truly a world news service, then you would correctly report and denote the stories of the people you choose to report upon.

Written language or proper diction is important, and it is therefore of need to be accurate and consistent when being a world, rather than provincial, service for journalism.

This story would be best to reflect the international nature of many aboriginal groups in this continent, and when particularly reporting on those involving more than a single country, to use the accurate and more generic term of North American aboriginal.
~~~~

Now, this is hardly heavy discussion, rather an interesting exercise in national colloquialisms gaining a confused state in more official language. It may be interesting here -- a highly ideological and jingoistic US centric forum. :p
"North American aboriginal" is too big a mouthful for most Americans. Mencken's famous line, "It's impossible to underestimate the intelligence of the American public," applies.
 

Whiskey16

Golden Member
Jul 11, 2011
1,338
5
76
You will be delighted to know that I only read your posts and not the articles and presumed those involved with the ceremony had some association with the Mohawk being sainted....
Well, there-in lies the major dilemma.

Sufficiently too many who choose to retain false assumptions rather than take the extra effort to take the minimal research to correct them.

A major source for the public's information are that of major news publications. If these publications fail in their fundamental research then the society as a whole suffers more in stumping their potential for greater and more correct knowledge.

Satisfyingly, the BBC has proved to have a bit greater care and accuracy when concerning their subject matter.
 
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