Monday, August 08, 2005

Judges Rule That "Kemosabe" Is Not Insulting For Native Canadian Woman

Canada's Supreme Court has ruled against a Native Canadian Mi'kmaq woman who sued her employer in the province of Nova Scotia for calling her Kemosabe. The woman said the term was racist and demeaning but nobody knows for sure exactly what "Kemosabe" means. Some believe it's a corruption of the Spanish phrase "Qui no sabe" which translates roughly as "He who knows nothing." However, Native American and Native Canadian language experts agree that Kemosabe is a respectful term as similar phrases in the Cree, Ojibway, Paiute and Navajo languages all translate to the idea of a "trusty scout." Jim Jewel, who directed the original Lone Ranger radio serial, borrowed the name" Kee-Mo-Sah-Bee" from a 1930s boy's camp near Mackinac, Michigan. In the classic radio series, Tonto and the Lone Ranger called each other "Kemosabe." With all this evidence, as well as after hours of viewing and analyzing old Lone Ranger television shows, the judges at the Canadian Supreme Court arrived at the conclusion that the term "Kemosabe" is not an insult.

For other information on Native Canadian culture, see Native Canadian Art Articles.

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