Let me explain.
In the late Colonial period of American history, todays “Native Americans” were called “Indians” (along with really cruel epithets I’ll leave to your imagination).
So, when I’m writing a romance novel taking place in that time period is it alright for the narrator to use the word Indian?
The characters, of course, use the Indian terminology in their dialogue. Perfectly acceptable, I believe, to even the staunchest politically correct reader. However, when the narrator speaks (for instance, giving a brief summary of current events during an introduction to a chapter, etc.) what is the “right” word to use?
Personally, I think the narrator needs to stick with the vocabulary of the time. The disconnect, otherwise, would be too jarring.
However, others disagree.
My respect for the Native American culture runs deep. The last thing I want to do is perpetuate the “Indian” misnomer many of the culture is battling today.
I don’t know what’s right. As of now, I am leaning toward siding with the novel’s integrity… Yeah, I know, even that sounds bad.
*sighs, while pulling hair out from its roots*
I don’t have the answer, and I hate that.