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From Shane Caraveo <>
Subject Re: Use of "Geronimo" as a project name
Date Tue, 19 Aug 2003 17:17:56 GMT

For several years now I have been a member of a small group of 
educators, activists, etc. running (we provide a 
yahoo-like directory, and basic technical services to various indigenous 
organizations).  I'm also of partial native descent (as well as 
european, I'm a mutt), though am not a part of any native culture. 
While I cannot speak for any native culture, and I'm certainly no 
cultural expert, I do have a little bit of insight I've gained over the 

Without going into a long email on this subject, yes, the use of 
'Geronimo' by a non-native organization would be found very offensive by 
at least some, if not many, native people.  You don't have to understand 
it, nor will I attempt explain it, it is just that way.  HONOR's 
response sounds to me fairly neutral on the subject compared to what you 
might get from many other organizations.  Send the same question to AIM, 
and you'll likely get a very different response.  From a western 
perspective, this may seem like a lot of nonsence, but for many 
non-western cultures, this is an important issue.

IMO If it doesn't matter to use a non-native name for your projects, 
then pick something non-native and avoid sensitive cultural issues that 
would only provide the possibility of sidetracking the project.

BTW, Apache, PHP and other projects have the same issue with not wanting 
their names used by someone else (assuming I understand the license 
stuff at least a little), why should it be any different for a whole 


Andrew C. Oliver wrote:
 >> Hello,
 >> One of the principal concerns I heard about the "Geronimo" name is 
that it was
 >> insulting to Native Americans.  Therefore I contacted the first 
advocacy group
 >> for Native Americans that I found on the net (googled on Native American
 >> advocacy and clicked around).  This was the reply.
 >> -Andy
 >> ------ Forwarded Message
 >> From: "info" <>
 >> Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 16:59:20 -0400
 >> To: Andrew Oliver <>
 >> Subject: Re: Use of "Geronimo" as a project name
 >> Andrew Oliver writes:
 >>>> Dear Sir,
 >>>> I'd like to solicit your assistance.  The Apache Software 
Foundation is
 >>>> planning to create an AppServer called "Geronimo".  There has been 
 >>>> debate as to whether this would be offensive to Native Americans. 
  While I
 >>>> realize its impossible to say how any particular Native American 
would feel
 >>>> about the name, I'm hoping you can provide some general feeling as to
 >>>> whether it would be better to pick another name and/or avoid 
Native American
 >>>> mascots for projects in the future.
 >>>> I appreciate any assistance you can lend or any pointers to the 
 >>>> advocacy groups.
 >>>> Thanks,
 >>>> Andy
 >> Hello Andy,
 >> My name is Beth Brownfield and I am the Regional coordinator of 
HONOR at the
 >> new Minneapolis, MN office.
 >> Thank you for your inquiry.  HONOR believes it is up to American 
Indians to
 >> use American Indian names and logos.  Thank you for contacting us 
and for
 >> being sensitive to this issue.
 >> Are you a member of HONOR?  Have you seen our brochure on the logo 
 >> If you would like I'll send you our new HONOR brochure and the logo
 >> brochure, but will need your mailing address.
 >> Sincerely,
 >> Beth Brownfield
 >> Regional Coordinator, HONOR
 >> ------ End of Forwarded Message

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