Natives Aff

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McNULTY 08 Public Editor of the Chicago Tribune (“Surely, beware of those certain predictions”, 1/18, Chicago Tribune, SW)

Paul Salopek, the Chicago Tribune's Africa correspondent, said he understands that Western-oriented readers may think of the word tribe from a racial angle, but he said 99 percent of Africans use the word tribe or tribal proudly. He said if he used the term "ethnic group" in its place, it would puzzle his sources.The issue is not exactly black and white. Banishing words completely is wrong-headed because there are always occasions when that word is exactly appropriate. A check with the Tribune research library showed that the word tribal or variations appeared 379 times in the newspaper in the last year. Most of the references were to Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially the tribal territories where Osama bin Laden is believed to be in hiding. A much smaller number referred to Africa, and even fewer stories referred to Native Americans, to whom the word tribe speaks of nation and sovereignty.

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