I know cultural appropriation is terrible. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen or doesn’t exist. It does and it’s awful. Native Americans have centuries of having their culture washed away and it’s terrible.
But I think that language is constantly growing and evolving, and I think pop culture has…
Yes, you’re being culturally insensitive. Either respect the culture enough to learn about it (spirit animal isn’t what you think it is) and appreciate it without appropriating or stop using it maybe? The entire section you wrote in the middle basically amounts to “words change all the time and why can’t I say whatever I want without being harassed about it?!”…which is super indicative of how you care less about the harm you may be doing to the people of a culture you say “speaks to you” than your wish to say & do whatever you please.
I don’t think you understand much about etymology based on your reaction to that middle paragraph. Language constantly evolves, and a big part of the way it does so is by taking words from other languages and adapting them to relevant concepts.
I’m not saying people should or shouldn’t use spirit animal, I know for a fact that many cultures have used the idea in the past, and some religions and cultures outside of north america still use it. But acting like the idea that language is constantly evolving makes someone racist is ignorant, I don’t even understand that.