When we first posted the invite online, my husband and I had a short debate about how we should title the event. Here is how it went…much like many other language perplexities and debates in our house.
My husband: Hey, here is the invite for the party. Can you accept it online so I can make you an administrator?
Me: Uhm…should we call it “Cowboys and Native Americans?”
My husband: ???
Me: In the US it is politically correct to say “Native American.”
My husband: Yes, but in German they are “Indianer.”
Me: ???…uhm, “Indian” is used for people who are from India.
My husband: Yes, and we call Indians, “Inder.”
Me: Okay, but then why and where does “Indianer” come from?
My husband: Well, when Columbus landed in America he thought he had arrived in India and…
Me: (Interrupting) Yes, I know that story, which is why the US corrected the term and changed to using “Native American” as Columbus didn’t really land in India.
My husband: ???
I could see the wheels turning in his head.
And in my mind I’m thinking, “So the Germans realized there is a difference between Indians and Native Americans, but somehow they just changed one of the terms to a different ending, but still the same Indian theme? That still doesn’t really correct the original issue. The term for Native American, ‘Indianer’ is still referring to Indians.”
At this point, since I like to question everything from the ground up and find humor in any situation, I am still thinking, “And why the heck did Columbus think he was in India? Didn’t he know what Indians looked like? Maybe Columbus didn’t know how Indians dressed. After all, there weren’t Google photo searchs and Wikipedia articles back then.”
After some brief research my head starts to spin and my thoughts become even more preposterous. Columbus didn’t even land on what is now today US soil. But he did land in Cuba at one point. Why don’t they teach us this in school? Is there also some embargo on teaching us anything about Cuba?
Columbus spent his time in the Bahamas, and Central and South America. Was he using Spain to really fund a warm-weather vacation? Did he land in Colombia too; is that why they call him “Columbus”… looking for “spices” my butt…ha, or powdered nose, in this instance. Ok, he didn’t really go to Colombia and I highly doubt “white powder” was a fair trade commodity back then…But we don’t even call people from the Bahamas or Central and South America “Native Americans!”
Ok, back to the theme. I guess, if we truly want to be politically correct, shouldn’t it be a “Cowboy, Cowgirl, and Native American” party? Maybe the “Cowgirl” should go first to cater to the feminist crowd…but letting the lady go first might be viewed as too chivalrous. Or do Cowgirls these days prefer just one term, like ‘actor’ instead of ‘actress?’ In which case, it should be a “Cowperson and Native American” party. Oh, wait, I hope I haven’t offended any cows. Screw it. Since I am dressing as a Native American, I think it is okay if I want to call myself an Indian. Besides, maybe we will be lucky and someone will actually dress as an Indian from India. Then all bases are covered.
Finally, my response for the theme’s title.
Me: Just call it “Cowboys and Indians.” It will be easier for the Germans to understand.
Unfortunately, no authentic Indian costumes were in attendance, which I was kind of looking forward to.
Columbus may not have landed in Mexico either, but we did have someone with an awesome sombrero and handcuffs.
Next year the theme will be, “Awesome Carnival Party…come dressed as whatever the heck you want. My head hurts thinking about it.”