14 Annoying Things Native Americans Hear From Non-Natives

“Oh, do you have any reservations?” Yes, yes I have many.

1. 1. Your childhood usually gets off to a great start and it just goes from there

Can’t we just play “cops and robbers” instead?

2. 2. “Well, you don’t look Native American!”

Well, that’s because I’m just trying to blend in, it has nothing to do with intermarriage or mixed heritage. When I get home I’ll take off all this makeup, put on some Mocs and do a war dance in my tipi.

3. 3. Everyone is interested in your family tree until you start talking about it

“Oh, there must have been some great chiefs in your family tree! Wait, I don’t know who that is. Never mind.”

4. 4. I’m So Sorry For What Happened To Your Ancestors Day

“You do still celebrate Columbus Day, right? No? Okay, me neither, it’s terrible. Put on this construction paper headdress, though.”

5. 5. “What’s my spirit animal? Wait, is it okay for me to ask that?”

Well, if you have to ask…

6. 6. “What reservation did your family come from?”

Reservation? Not my family, we grew up in this thing people call a “house”. Our tribe is a landless non-IRA tribe, we — oh, never mind.

7. 7. “You need to be careful, I hear indians have a problem with alcohol!”

Thank you for your concern. Wait, are you actually concerned for me?

8. 8. “And diabetes! Watch out for that, too!”


9. 9. “What’s your indian name?”

“Wow, cool! CAN I HAVE ONE, TOO?”

10. 10. People asking if my family celebrates thanksgiving

Yes, yes we do. The only rage comes when I remind everyone I’m vegetarian.

11. 11. Anything to do with powwows

No, I don’t dance (no rhythm). Yes, my tribe does them. Yes, I have family members that participate. Yes, you can go if you don’t act weird. No, please don’t imitate what you saw at one.

12. 12. “My great-grandmother was a Cherokee Princess(tm)!”

No, just stop right there. She wasn’t. If you do have native heritage maybe you should go do some more research.

13. 13. “Say something in your native language!”

Well, considering that many of our languages are struggling to be preserved and relearned I’ll just go ahead and politely decline this little pageant.

14. 14. “You’re not offended, are you?”

Do I look like I’m not offended?

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