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Some New, Some Old: 8 Mainstream Uses of the Term ‘Indian Giver’

"Indian giver" cartoons and themes have been showing up for decades in popular media. Here are just a few examples of instances where they are found.

As history has shown, the term “Indian giver” has managed to pop up here and there in a plethora of ways, much to the dismay of those concerned of its negative connotations in Indian country.

RELATED: What or Who Is an Indian giver? A History of the Offensive Term

Out of curiosity we did a little digging for some of the ways the term has been referenced. For those who share our frustration and curiosity, here are: some mainstream uses of the term “Indian giver.”

In Songs

From 1969 until recently, song writers and singers have used term, Annette Funicello. And we are not talking about songs on the playground, we are talking about singers and artists who have made an impression. Artists like Funicello, star of “Beach Blanket Bingo,” sang “Indian Giver” and even threw a few “squaws into the mix.

The 1910 Fruitgum Company’s song “Indian Giver” went to No. 5 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1969 and was on the charts for 13 weeks. More recently Jena Malone, of the Hunger Games, sang an acoustic “Indian Giver” with her band The Shoe.


The good folks at T-shirt Guru have a vintage Indian giver shirt for those of you wanting to show a bit of “Indian Giver” pride. However, at the low price of 21.97 this product, “isn’t going to make Sitting Bear Rock happy at all.”

This Indian Giver T-shirt can be yours for the low price of just $21.97.

Public Slips

From Matt Lauer to the Kardashians, using the term “Indian giver” in the public eye has been a source of true discontent for people in Indian country. In the summer of 2012, during the London Olympics, Lauer told his former co-worker Meredith Vieira not to be an “Indian giver” when she wanted back a pair of underwear. Similar blurbs of using the term have come from other celebrities like Kris Jenner and Jessica Simpson.

RELATED: Matt Lauer Calls Meredith Vieira an 'Indian Giver'

RELATED: Kim Kardashian’s Mom ‘Hates an Indian Giver’

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A Seinfeld Episode

On one Seinfeld episode, Jerry has a new girlfriend and constantly finds himself in situations in which he must avoid the terms “reservation,” “scalper” and “Indian giver.”


Though some cartoons have become a bit more culturally sensitive, the Go Go Gophers and Hokey Wolf were among many back in the day that embraced the term “Indian giver” as a comical sentiment, both cartoons had episodes titled “Indian Giver.”

Political Cartoons

Cartoonist Michael Ramirez, whose abrasive political cartoons have landed him in hot water, gained him Pulitzer Prizes, and an inquisitive visit by the Secret Service in his career, hasn’t held back on Native issues. In these two comics, Martinez labels the issues with the stamp of “Indian Giver.”

This “Indian Giver” cartoon by Michael Ramirez is from 2013.

This “Indian Giver” cartoon by Michael Ramirez is from 2012.

A Website

Until 2012 there was a fashion website that proudly wore the title It has since been discontinued, but we want to applaud the owner, who has since changed the name to Style Carousel. Here’s to progress!

There used to a site called "Indian Giver," but the name has since been changed.


We can thank social media sites like Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for these dandy little sayings that admittedly never die. “Indian giver” is likely still a pretty active school age anecdote, so it makes sense that we still see these things pop up on our timelines.

Indian Giver Meme