While many Americans are part native by blood, very few belong to an Indian tribe that they call home. The American government knows which are the true tribes and each tribe knows who belongs. That simple.
Fake Indians want the advantages – like coolness points, affirmative action, book deals, casinos and parts in films. But without the disadvantages, like having no money, not enough heat or food, poor schooling, poor health, being thrown in prison and substance abuse.
And seeing one’s culture mocked and opportunities taken by fake Indians.
Fake Indians have to play to stereotypes to seem “real”, which strengthens the racism against Indians. The only real American Indian I have ever met did not play to stereotypes – because she did not have to.
Fake Indians also make it hard to know much about true Indians. Which makes being fake even easier!
Some fake Indians:
Almost every Cherokee tribe – only three are real:
- Cherokee Nation (Oklahoma)
- United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (Oklahoma)
- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina)
Carlos Castaneda – made up the research for his PhD thesis and for “The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge” (1968). Lost his degree – but sold millions of books.
Douglass Durham – put in charge of security by AIM (the American Indian Movement) at their 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee. Was working for the FBI.
Ward Churchill – former Chair of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado. Fired for plagiarism, fabrication and falsification. Author of several books on Indian issues. Wrote about the FBI undermining AIM but is suspected to be FBI himself. Calls Carlos Castaneda “the greatest hoax since Piltdown Man.” Claims to belong to the Keetowah Cherokees, which they deny.
Jamake Highwater – author of “Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey” (1973), which won a Newberry, “The Sun, He Dies: A Novel About the End of the Aztec World” (1980) and “The Primal Mind: Vision and Reality in Indian America” (1981), which became a PBS documentary. He fooled the New York Times and the National Endowment for the Humanities, but not Susan Sontag!
Hyemeyohsts Storm – author of “Seven Arrows” (1972), which the Cheyenne say misinterprets their sacred practices.
Iron Eyes Cody – appeared in over 200 Hollywood films and the iconic “Keep America Beautiful” ad where he cries.
Winona LaDuke – Ralph Nader’s running mate in 2000. Belongs to a fake tribe created by her father.
Margaret B. Jones – pen name of Margaret Seltzer who wrote about her fake childhood as a half-white, half-Indian foster child in a black ghetto in ”Love and Consequences” (2008). Both a fake Indian and a wigger!
Nasdijj – author of “Geronimo Bones” (2004) and other fake Navajo books.
Forrest Carter – wrote about his fake Cherokee boyhood in “The Education of Little Tree” (1976), which sold millions. Outed in 1991 as Asa Carter, Klansman and speechwriter for Alabama Governor George Wallace.
Some of these books won awards. Some are still in print!
- Notes on how not to write about Native Americans
- Margaret Seltzer
- The lies you were taught about Native Americans
- Chief Wahoo
- A Hidden America: Children Of The Plains - White American documentary about true Indians
- BET Fallacy - the fallacy that blacks are somehow in control of their image. This is way less true for Indians.
- The Vast Talking Machine