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Indian giver

An Indian giver is someone who gives a gift and then demands its return. Indian giver is an offensive term, it is first seen in the mid-1800s in North America. Indian giver is probably derived from the term Indian gift, first written about in 1765 to describe a present that is given with the expectation that an equal present will be reciprocated. The idea of the Indian giver can be traced to the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition, where a cultural misunderstanding seems to have occurred. In dealing with Native Americans along their journey, members of the Lewis and Clark team seem to have confused items that were being offered by the Native Americans for barter, as gifts. When they took these items without reciprocating with an item of equal value, the Native Americans naturally wanted their goods back. By the 1900s, the term Indian giver had made its way into the vernacular, eventually used mostly as a schoolyard taunt. Considering the roots of the term Indian giver, it is today considered offensive.


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Examples

Matt Lauer jokingly called Meredith Vieira an “Indian giver” on Monday’s “Today.” (The Huffington Post)

With that in mind, Iserhoff and fellow artist Sage Paul, a Dene designer from Toronto, are presenting Indian Giver, a curated multimedia art exhibition confronting the pilfering of indigenous culture head-on. (The Toronto Star)

Earlier this week, TMZ.com asked Simpson if she would be taking back the expensive boat she bought for ex Tony Romo. Her reply? “I’m not an Indian giver.” (US Weekly Magazine)

While this is not a model for interpersonal relationships, you need to be an Indian giver when it comes to spending your hard earned money. (The Punch)

“Gramma calls days like this Indian Summer,” Vince says to himself, “But it’s like God is an Indian giver, giving us the first Catholic president and taking him back for no reason.” (The Dallas Morning News)

 

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