Political Correctness vs. Historical Accuracy
I’m working on Adam’s Daughters, my second book in the Westward Sagas. I’d written a scene in which Adam Mitchell meets Chief Bowles, a chief of the Cherokee tribe.
I used the word squaw to identify the chief’s wife, since that is what she would have been called by the Washington County settlers in the 1780s. It was brought to my attention that the word “squaw” is offensive and shouldn’t be used.
Not long after that, I had a conversation about my book with a woman from India. When I used the word “Indian,” she gently corrected me to “Native American.”
Historical accuracy is important to me, but I certainly don’t want to offend anyone by using words that are today considered derogatory or inaccurate. So I have a dilemma on what words to use in my book: Indian squaw …Â Native American woman, Indian chief …Â Cherokee leader, what?
I’d really like to hear other opinions on how I can write a book that is true to history without being offensive in a different society more than two hundred years later than my story.
[tags]political correctness, historical accuracy, unbiased language[/tags]