Native American group urge Apache to change its name

Natives in Tech, a charitable organization founded to empower Native American peoples by offering networking events among other initiatives, has urged The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) to change its name out of respect for the Indigenous culture that it is said to appropriate.

In a blog post, the group criticizes Apache for failing to abide by its code of conduct, citing the tech firm’s words: “be careful in the words that [they] choose”. 

The company’s name was said to come about when co-founder, Brian Behlendorf, watched a documentary about famed Native American chief Geronimo.

Apache change

According to Behlendorf, what happened to the Apache by the Westerners that colonized the United States “almost romantically represented what he felt [the company was] doing with this web-server project.”

The article accuses Behlendorf of Indigenous erasure: the process of “removing, re-framing, and undermining Indigenous presence, past and present”, highlighting the eight federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona that carry the Apache name today.

“On occasion, we have been asked about claims about use of the ‘Apache’ name by the Apache Native American communities,” an extract on the company’s website reads.

“During its twenty-five years of use of ‘Apache’ as part of its name, the ASF has never been involved in any legal dispute with Native American communities or any other party in relation to the use of the ‘Apache’ name.”

Like the company says, this isn’t the first time that the ASF has come under fire for its name and related imagery. Its feather logo has previously been challenged as a stereotype for “Indianness”, according to another collaborative web post, which calls for an end to the use of Native American names, images, and mascots by companies and sports teams.

TechRadar Pro has asked the ASF whether it has considered changing its name, and whether it is doing anything to counter the criticism it has faced.

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