After ending her 72-day marriage, denying accusations that the nuptials were part of a publicity stunt or that she did it for the money, one question remains, will Kim Kardashian keep the $2 million ring given to her by Kris Humphries?
Her mother thinks she should.
“I hate an Indian giver, don’t you? It’s a gift, keep your gift,” Kris Jenner said during an interview today with Good Morning America.
The term Indian giver has been looked at as derogatory to Native Americans, but has also been incorrectly misinterpreted to refer to white colonists, who “would give things to the Indians, only to take them back,” reports WordOrigins.org.
But where did the term actually evolve from?
An early reference to the term can be found in Thomas Hutchinson’s 1765 book The History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay: “An Indian gift is a proverbial expression, signifying a present for which an equivalent return is expected.”
But what it boils down to is misunderstandings. The Native Americans didn’t have money like the Europeans, they conducted trade using a barter system.
“To an Indian, the giving of gifts was an extension of this system of trade and a gift was expected to be reciprocated with something of equal value. Europeans, upon encountering this practice, misunderstood it, considering it uncouth and impolite,” reports WordOrigins.org. “To them, trade was conducted with money and gifts were freely given with nothing expected in return. So this Native practice got a bad reputation among the white colonists of North America and the term eventually became a playground insult.”
By 1838, evidence that the term had evolved into a playground insult can be found in the New-York Mirror on June 23 in an article discussing school children: “Among them are distinct species of crimes and virtues. I have seen the finger pointed at the Indian giver. (One who gives a present and demands it back again.)”
The term shows up again in 1860 in John Russell Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms: “When an Indian gives any thing, he expects to receive an equivalent, or to have his gift returned. This term is applied by children to a child who, after having given away a thing, wishes to have it back again.”
Since the source of this offensive term was a cultural misunderstanding and not deliberate wrongdoing, FreecycleNext invented a new word to replace it—ersatzgiver, ersatz meaning substitute or replacement in German.