early 15c., earlier servitute (late 14c.), "slavery, bondage, condition of being enslaved," from Old French servitude, servitute (13c.) and directly from Late Latin servitudo "slavery," from Latin servus "a slave" (see serve (v.)) + abstract noun suffix (see -tude). Also "state of being a feudal vassal" (c. 1500). The meaning "compulsory service or labor," such as a criminal undergoes, is by 1828.
Other words in similar senses, many obsolete, include servantship "state or condition of being a servant" (1570s); servage "servitude, bondage, slavery; serfdom, subjugation, feudal homage to a ruler" (c. 1300, from Old French servage and directly from Medieval Latin servagium); servity "slavery, servitude" (late 15c., from Latin servitus).
late 14c., natif, "natural, inborn, hereditary, connected with something in a natural way," from Old French natif "native, born in; raw, unspoiled" (14c.) and directly from Latin nativus "innate, produced by birth," from natus, past participle of nasci (Old Latin gnasci) "be born," related to gignere "beget," from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.
From early 15c. as "born in a particular place, of indigenous origin or growth, not exotic or foreign," also "of or pertaining to one by birth" (as in native land). Also used from early 15c. in a now-obsolete sense of "bound; born in servitude or serfdom." Of metals, minerals, etc., "occurring in a pure state in nature," 1690s.
Native American in reference to the aboriginal peoples of the Americas is attested by c. 1900 as the name of a journal "devoted to Indian education."
In the early 1970s, ... activist Indians began calling themselves Native Americans (from the peyote-using Native American Church, incorporated in 1918 in Oklahoma and subsequently in other states). The newer term, aside from disassociating its users from the reservation life of the past, was a form of one-upsmanship, since it reminded whites just who was on the premises first. [Hugh Rawson, "Wicked Words"]