You’re an Indian giver in the way you love: Everything you give, you take away.

What is an Indian giver?

A person who gives something and than wants it back.

what did the Indians want back?


More specifically, the term “Indian giver” arose from a series of incidents in which European colonists would borrow food and supplies from the local First Nations, then turn around and go “oh, we thought it was a gift” when the locals later tried to collect on the loan.

Modern history books like to bang on about “cultural misunderstandings”, but if you look at contemporary records, it’s clear that there was no misunderstanding – the colonists totally understood that they were being extended a loan, and simply didn’t want to pay it back.

The myth that Native Americans liked to swindle people by giving them gifts and later claiming that the gift had actually been a loan – hence, “Indian giver” – thus developed in order to retroactively justify the colonists stiffing the locals when those loans came due.

(In the interest of clarity, interest-bearing loans were not commonly practiced by North America’s First Nations at the time, though they did exist among some groups; in this context, the term “loan” simply means “I give you something you need right now, and you give me back something of equal value at some specified or unspecified future date”.)