Reznet News

Reporting from Native America

May 28, 2016
Latest post: March 20 5:07 pm

What does "Indian Giver" have to do with a diamond ring?

By Santee Ross, University of Montana

Kris Jenner is the notorious matriarch of the Kardashian clan who are plastered everywhere in the media. Jenner, though, has more recently been in the news for reasons other than her reality show. Earlier this month, she made a comment about one of her daughter’s failed suitors, calling any attempt to reclaim an engagement ring that of an Indian giver.

In her own words: “I hate an Indian giver, don’t you? It’s a gift, keep your gift.”

This week, following an impressive backlash, she apologized for the remark.

Wow! Congratulations go to Jenner for insulting the Native American people—during Native American heritage month no less. Let’s try and educate her shall we.

The term Indian giver is an insulting statement meaning you gave something away and then want it back. First, Indians are naturally giving. We will give you food when you’re hungry, shelter when you don’t have any and a couple good laughs when need it.

Second, in the Indian culture when something is given to you, (gift, favor etc.) you are expected to return the “gift”. That doesn’t mean the exact “gift” needs to be returned but a show of respect and honor towards the individual or family that bestowed kindness on you. This is where the white culture twists it into something condescending.

Essentially it boils down to the golden rule. Do unto others what you would have done unto you. So the term Indian giver is completely offensive to a culture who is innately giving.

Class is dismissed.

Santee Ross (Hopi/Lakota) is from Lander Wyo.