Obviously the political landscape of the Americas was a hugely complex thing during the period of European colonization, and what was true of one Native American group was almost never true of all of them. They were distinct cultures and nations, and probably didn't consider themselves sub-sets of a larger group at all.

But I'm wondering if any native language developed a word for those peoples who were native to North and South America, as opposed to Europeans or other extra-continental arrivals? Was there a Massachusett word that encompassed all tribes but excluded the British and French, or an Incan term for "those people who aren't Spanish or Portuguese"?

The Europeans were obviously from different nations and cultures as well, but there were plenty of terms related to international identity, such as "European" or the concept of "Christendom". Did the native peoples of North and South America have, or develop in opposition to the colonizers, any similar terms?

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    Why the downvote? This seems like a perfectly good question to me. I would not expect any such term to develop until after European domination. Most commonly, in-groups seem to call themselves "people" or "true people" in their own language. I'm not sure what happens among groups that considered themselves to be part of larger inter-related groups. – hippietrail Nov 13 '14 at 0:48
  • Yeah, I imagine it only developed when the Europeans arrived (although if their word for "people" didn't get applied to the Europeans, it might be a good candidate), but do we have any evidence for such a word developing even then? – Nerrolken Nov 13 '14 at 0:50
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    Generally, in languages I'm familiar with, there's a term meaning "people" that includes the speakers of the language (or at least some of them), plus others who were possible enemies but were recognizably human. As opposed to spirits or animals, for instance. European contact generated several terms, often for different groups, of Europeans. In the Northwest Coast languages the generic term for European is "Boston man", shortened to /bastən/ and borrowed into Skagit, for examples, as /pastən/ later /pastəd/. – jlawler Nov 15 '14 at 4:03
  • Most of the Incan texts I've seen (note: by Incans in Spanish) don't really contemplate any pan-American views. Even when citing the abuses, they stick to talking about the abuses on the Incans and not involve other groups (or, if they do, they do so by name). But I'm sure in the 400 years since those texts, a word has since developed. – user0721090601 Nov 15 '14 at 22:57
  • Is your question about languages which have such a word now, or about languages which had such a word even early early, even before European contact? – OmarL Apr 11 '17 at 19:25

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