The Term Redskin
Dear Editor; It was brought to my attention that some were asking if the term "redskin" was really offensive to Indians and that they would like to hear from us on this subject. Well, here you are...I am Blackfoot, Cherokee and Choctaw...and yes, the term is extremely offensive to me. Let me explain why. Back not so long ago, when there was a bounty on the heads of the Indian people...the trappers would bring in Indian scalps along with the other skins that they had managed to trap or shoot. These scalps brought varying prices as did the skins of the animals. The trappers would tell the trading post owner or whoever it was that he was dealing with, that he had 2 bearskins, a couple of beaver skins...and a few scalps. Well, the term "scalp" offended the good Christian women of the community and they asked that another term be found to describe these things. So, the trappers and hunters began using the term "redskin"...they would tell the owner that they had bearskin, deer skins....and "redskins." The term came from the bloody mess that one saw when looking at the scalp...thus the term "red"...skin because it was the "skin" of an "animal" just like the others that they had...so, it became "redskins". So, you see when we see or hear that term...we don't see a football team...we don't see a game being played...we don't see any "honor"...we see the bloody pieces of scalps that were hacked off of our men, women and even our children...we hear the screams as our people were killed...and "skinned" just like animals. So, yes, Mr./Ms. Editor...you can safely say that the term is considered extremely offensive.
Given at the Council Chamber in Boston this third day of November 1755 in the twenty-ninth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Iceland, King Defender of the Faith.
Whereas the tribe of Penobscot Indians have repeatedly in a perfidious manner acted contrary to their solemn submission unto his Majesty long since made and frequently renewed.
I have therefore, at the desire of the House of Representatives ... thought fit to issue this Proclamation and to declare the Penobscot Tribe of Indians to be enimies, rebels, and traitors to his Majesty. And I do hereby require his Majesty's subjects of the Province to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing, and destroy all and every one of the aforesaid Indians.
And wereas the General Court of this Province have voted that a bounty.... be granted and allowed to be paid out of the Province Treasury.... The premiums of bounty following viz:
For every scalp of a male Indian brought in as evidence of their being killed as aforesaid, forty pounds.
For every scalp of such female Indian or male Indian under the age of twelve years that shall be killed and brought in as evidence of their being killed as aforesaid, twenty pounds.