As an American of Indian origin I wholeheartedly agree with Gloria Muniz Speelmans's letter {"A Monumental Misnomer," Oct. 30} about wanting a new, more appropriate name for the American Indian Museum.

While I was growing up in Schenectady, N.Y., I often had to enter into an explanation of my ethnic origin. I couldn't simply say I was Indian. If I did, this invariably led to the question: "What tribe do you belong to?" I had to explain that while I was born in America my parents came from India. We could say we were East Indian, but I didn't like that designation because it sounded as though my parents came from the East Indies rather than India. We couldn't very well say we were the original Indians because that sounded like bragging.

The current designation for people of Indian origin is Asian Indian. I'm not pleased about that because people from Japan don't have to call themselves Asian Japanese, the Chinese don't have to say they are Asian Chinese and so on. I have to use the term Asian Indian because of Columbus's mistake.

Gloria Speelmans suggests three names for the museum: Museum of Ancient Americans, Ancient Americans Museum and Native American Museum. Of these three, my choice would be Native American Museum. "Ancient Americans" could imply that they as a people no longer exist.

Perhaps if we start making a change now, eventually the American Indians will appropriately be called Native Americans, and the people from India can rightfully take back their claim to the name Indian. NEERA BARVE Bethesda