Building a Bridge Toward a 21st Century Multi-Racial Multi-Cultural Society: 
Tearing Down Walls of Hate, Ignorance and Fear
Developing a Common Language for All to Access

Glossary of Terms and Definitions

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A historically developed group of people with territory, economy, culture(s), and language(s) in common.

Native American:
Person whose ancestors were long-established residents of North America prior to the fifteenth century.  The term American Indian (or Plains Indian, Pueblo Indian, and so forth) is also used.  Native American is more often preferred as a general designation since Indian originated as a misnomer and is offensive to some.

Yet “Native American” has never really been the preferred self-designation of people who understand themselves to be Cherokee, Pueblo, Aleut, and so forth therefore “Indian” (especially in conjunction with a tribal name) is a common self-designation.

Used at times to reference all persons or groups outside of whit culture, often in the clear consciousness that white culture should be seen as an alternative to various non-white cultures and not as normative.

North Americans:
Usually refers to the peoples of Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

This list is compiled from a variety of sources by the Office of Racial Justice and Multi-Racial, Multi-Cultural Transformation, United Church of Christ, Cleveland Based Team, Fall 2006