Squaw – Meaning & Historical Context

Published on August 29, 2011 by Amy

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A Portrait of Native American Woman
A Portrait of Native American Woman

The meaning of the word squaw is not the same for everyone. In general it is used to refer to a Native American female. However, the word has different connotations and invokes different emotions depending on who is using the term and who is hearing the term.

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The word squaw has been used by some groups in a negative way. They have used the word to represent a Native American woman that is promiscuous. This was not the way the term was used by the Native American men and women who used the term without any associated connotations.

How and why the term squaw has come to be used in a negative way is not clear. It may have come about because of the views that some groups had about Native American women. However, it can also be true that the groups had these same views about women in general. It doesn’t really matter whether the these groups had negative views about a select group of women or just women in general the term has been used to express ignorant ideas about women.

Many streets, cities, and other items have used the term squaw in their names. With the negative connotation of the word squaw, many people are now pushing for these items to be renamed. The offensive nature of the word has raised the attention of Native Americans and Americans in general. Main has already passed a law that calls for private and public landowners to change any such names that use the word squaw.

These groups are pushing for legislation that will seek to have these items renamed appropriately. Although this will not give the respect back to the word squaw that was once used respectfully, it will help to stop Native American women from enduring the offensive nature with which the term is sometimes used.

Source: indians

NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged
Based on the collective work of NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com, © 2014 Native American Encyclopedia.
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American Psychological Association (APA):

Squaw – Meaning & Historical Context NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged. Retrieved December 21, 2014, from NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com website: http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com/squaw/

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

Squaw – Meaning & Historical Context NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com. NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com/squaw/ (accessed: December 21, 2014).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

"Squaw – Meaning & Historical Context" NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia 21 Dec. 2014. <NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com/squaw/>.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):

NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com, "Squaw – Meaning & Historical Context" in NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged. Source location: Native American Encyclopedia http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com/squaw/. Available: http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com. Accessed: December 21, 2014.

BibTeX Bibliography Style (BibTeX)

@ article {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com2014,
    title = {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged},
    month = Dec,
    day = 21,
    year = 2014,
    url = {http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com/squaw/},
}
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