Vol. 1, Issue 11, July 29, 2003
General Motors Purchases Indian Languages
General Motors (GM) has announced the purchase of exclusive rights to the entire Algonquian language family, including such well-known tongues as Cheyenne, Cree, and Mohican, in a $1.6 billion dollar deal.
"We are confident that this acquisition will benefit both the peoples who speak these languages and GM," said company spokesman Karl Hennessey. "This is truly a rare win-win situation."
GM acquired the languages in an apparent effort to secure the rights to potentially thousands of cool-sounding names for automobiles. With one of the least creative management structures in the automotive industry, GM has for years produced cars with increasingly lame names that have hurt sales.
"The problem is almost everything is getting used up," GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told Reuters recently. "If you have a good name, it can help. I've seen a lot of stupid names in my life." These would presumably include the 2003 Buick GoThing, the 2002 GM Pustule, and the 2003 Oldsmobile Scab.
By purchasing exclusive rights to an Amerindian language family which includes over 30 different languages, GM is hoping to counter similar efforts by competing companies such as DaimlerChrysler, which recently purchased Portuguese.
"The GM arrangement is very generous," said Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Secretary Gerald Howton. "It permits the tribes to continue using the languages free of charge through 2030, after which point, if there are any surviving native speakers, they can continue to use the language under attractive subscription terms." Any names which GM adopts as automobile names will be removed from eligibility, but GM has agreed to provide a list of no fewer than three synonyms for any word removed from circulation.
"This is incredibly insulting," said Powhatan tribal elder Mark Matoaka before scaring this reporter away with stern glances.
"The BIA will do everything it can to ensure that the funds from GM are distributed fairly and equitably," said Howton. "Our record speaks for itself."