Indians are nothing if not resourceful. But when the things people do go beyond the words people use, there’s just one solution: Invent new words. This classic bit of Native humor suggests 15 words that any current American Indian-friendly dictionary really ought to have. Got any new NDN words of your own — or other funny things to share? Let us know about them at firstname.lastname@example.org
New NDN Words
Commodify (kah MOD if eye) uncanny ability of Indian women to convert the ingredients of any standard cookbook recipe to commodity ingredients such as powered milk, powered eggs and canned meat.
Powwowvow (POW wow vow) the standard pledge of the powwow Romeo: “Sure, baby, I’ll meet you at the next pow wow. Your’re the only jingle dress dancer for me. Really! Look at this face. Would I lie?”
Moccashoe (MOCK ah shoe) contemporary dancer footwear designed by beading the top of tennis shoes or aquasocks instead of making moccasins the old-fashioned way.
Skinship (SKIN ship) the eventual relative connection that all Indian people, discover within 10 minutes of meeting each other.
Vis a cheese (VEES ah cheez) mode of exchange in which a block of commodity cheese can purchase other goods or services.
Indinferior (IN din FEER ee ur) a manifestation of self oppression; the practice of Indians looking down on other Indians for either not speaking the language or not being full blood or not participating in ceremonies or not living on the rez or not wearing braids or not dancing in pow wows or not having etc.etc., blah blah.
BIease (BEE EYE eez) an affliction within the Bureau of Indian Affairs characterized by the inability to keep track of millions of dollars.
Snaggravated (SNAG ra vayt ed) the annoying feeling one gets upon realizing that last night’s snag isn’t quite as hot in the light of day.
Triballistic (tribal ISS tik) to become irrational and incoherent upon hearing the latest self serving, short sighted and illogical decision made by the local tribal council.
Rezercize (REZ er size) the involuntary health regime of walking everywhere on the rez since your Indian car broke down for good.
Fordrum (FORD drum) the instrument used for singing purposes when a regular drum is not available; usually the dented hood of a one eyed Ford.
Frybreadth (FRY bredth) a unit of measurement based on the standard size of a piece of auntie’s frybread.
AlterNative (alter NAY tiv) an individual who was born and raised in the non Indian culture but recently “discovered” a “hidden” Indian ancestor so now uses pithy Indian phrases, assumes a name such as Laughing Rainbow, White Wolf or Dreams of Eagles, calls all Indian people Brother and Sister and wears genuine Hong Kong beadwork; usually found in the East and West coast region but had documented sighting in other regions as well.
Councilmenopause (cown sil MEN oh paws) a disorder characterized by hot flashes, profuse sweating impairment of speech and loss of memory; normally occurs only to tribal councilmen when cornered by a constituent.
Disunderstanding (DISS under stand ing) when non Indians think that they understand why tribes and individual Indians are the way they are, but attribute any and all behavior to the culture or the race.
We found this list at Little Crow Trading Post, credited to “the July 5, 2001 issue of the Rapid City Journal, in a column entitled Four Directions, by Cheryl Long Feather.”