I write for government entities in the supply chain and manufacturing fields. These days it is a big deal to identify what nationality you are. The government wants to discontinue buying from adversarial countries and prefer American Made in order to control Intellectual Property (IP), counterfeit and substandard products. That’s why we have to identify who we are. In my proposals, I have been writing Native American, so they know that the people in our company are all born Americans.

There are also distinctions that the government looks for so they can buy from small business, women-owned, native american, veteran-owned, etc. Recently I had someone from outside our company look over one of my proposals and he said, why don’t we identify ourselves as a Native American distinction to get an additional advantage for our proposal? None of us in the company are ‘Indian.’ That’s when I realized that maybe I should use American Native. Here are the definitions of both:

Native American - a member of any of the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere especially: a Native American of North America and especially the U.S.

American Native – this phrase is not in the dictionary.

The term American Indian is in the dictionary, but it is not used: American Indian – “a member of any of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas, especially of subarctic North America, excluding the Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut.”

What should I use to distinguish our company as born in the USA without saying born in the USA?

  • 4
    "Native American" only ever refers to indigenous people. Might want to fix those proposals ASAP.
    – alphabet
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 18:56
  • 5
    And I would look into what, exactly, the government is looking for. I doubt that, at present, they actually prioritize people born in America over Americans who became citizens through immigration.
    – alphabet
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 18:59
  • 3
    The title of your question makes it look like you want to pretend to be American Indian, even though you aren't. Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 19:11
  • 3
    You really need to shift your advertising emphasis to more innocuous phrasing such as "home grown'" or "made in the good ol' US of A", "no imports", yada yada. Right now you are technically 'lying', which may prove expensive if the lawyers get interested. Frankly, your 'nationality' is of zero importance. Neither is your ancestry. All you need to emphasise is where the stuff is made - if you consider that to be 'important'. Go back a couple or five centuries - "all our lace is made in England [by Flemish immigrants forced from home by 'politics']" which actually made it 'the finest'.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 19:31
  • 5
    I suspect that this is not a legitimate question but rather some form of research. Simply view the website in the OP's profile. Nobody who's a "professional speaker" with that level of writing skill is going to make such a basic English mistake. Further, the website advertises OP's book about "social implications of the changing of definitions". This question should be closed as an unethical, undisclosed experiment on the site's participants.
    – user71659
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 3:10

2 Answers 2


There is an adjective used to show that one was born in a given country etc:

native-born [adjective]:

born in the place or country indicated

  • a native-born Australian


Hence native-born Americans.

(Then there's the problem that 'Americans' is polysemous; CambridgeDictionary. But doubtless the default sense is US-specific.)

  • I like native-born American. Ambiguous, yes but it fits that each of us were born here since it makes a difference to some. Anything we can do to amplify that distinction gives us an advantage to be awarded contracts. Thank you.
    – DLP
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 19:18
  • 1
    @DLP Yeah, except native-born company is meaningless. The company is American or it isn't.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 17:58

For goodness sake, stop using "Native American" to mean "Born in America". That's been incorrect for decades. Fix any of your company's literature that uses the phrase and do it now.

When talking about people it's OK to use "American born". It's not explicitly in the dictionary because there is no additional meaning not conveyed by the two individual words.

With companies "American born" means nothing. A company could be founded in America but now owned by the Russian government. Don't use the phrase. You might consider "100% American owned", or talk about where your company's work is done, or where materials are sourced.


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