Government to begin calling Indiana residents Hoosiers

Government to begin calling Indiana residents Hoosiers
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Residents of Indianapolis and Gary and Kokomo will now be officially recognized by the federal government as Hoosiers, rather than Indianans, according to a new style guide released Thursday morning.

The Government Publishing Office will formally refer to residents of Indiana by what has been the common demonym for more than a century and a half. Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDoug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination MORE (D) and former Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal MORE (R), who retired at the end of the last Congress, asked the GPO to make the change last year.

“We aren’t achieving world peace here, but it’s nice to be recognized by the federal government as Hoosiers,” said Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan senators unveil proposal to crack down on surprise medical bills Dems seek ways to block Trump support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen MORE (R), who replaced Coats this year. “It’s not just a movie. It’s not just the nickname for IU athletics. It’s who we are.”


The GPO’s style guide serves as the basis for all government publications. That means that, in official documents from the White House to the lowliest backwater office, the federal government will now refer to Indiana residents by their chosen nickname, rather than as “Indianans,” a term few inside the state use.

There is some debate over who coined the term, though the Indiana Historical Bureau says it was popularized by poet John Finley, in his 1833 poem "The Hoosier’s Nest." A few months later, a former Indiana governor started a newspaper he called The Hoosier. Other authors used the term Hoosier in 1827, 1831 and 1832. 

“Whatever may have been the original acceptation of Hooshier [sic] this we know, that the people to whom it is now applied, are amongst the bravest, most intelligent, most enterprising, most magnanimous, and most democratic of the Great West, and should we ever feel disposed to quit the state in which we are now sojourning, our own noble Ohio, it will be to enroll ourselves as adopted citizens in the land of the ‘Hooshier,’” the Cincinnati Republican newspaper wrote in 1833.

There is more debate over the term’s origins: “Hoosier” might come from a common greeting offered by settlers to visitors, or from the fighting ability of Indiana rivermen, or from a contractor on the Louisville and Portland Canal. Former Gov. Joseph Wright thought the term came from the Native American word for corn, “hoosa.” Another theory, however apocryphal, holds that the term is short for “whose ear,” a question asked by early settlers after particularly nasty bar fights.

The GPO style guide has not made any similar accommodations for Bay Staters (“Massachusettsans,” in official documents) or Buckeyes (“Ohioans,” according to the GPO) or Nutmeggers (“Connecticutters”).