22 08 2008

For those who don’t know, a powwow is a Native American gathering centered on song, dance, and food typically taking place on the weekends. There are very few things I don’t enjoy about powwows. The food is delicious, unhealthy, and cheap (or, if I’m dancing, free), there are hot women EVERYWHERE, and you get to talk shit all day with a bunch of wild snarling hostile Indians.

But there is one fucking thing about powwows that I absolutely cannot stand: the inordinate number of black people claiming to be Cherokee.

Figure 1: My brother, after claiming to be Cherokee (note broken foot)

If you were to base your assumptions of all American slave-descended black people on those you met at a powwow, you would assume they all had the following in common:

  • Dark skin
  • A pulse
  • Cherokee ancestry

It never fails that when I get done dancing, some fuckface gets all excited and approaches me bright-eyed and bushy tailed (if it’s a girl) or wannabe-cool and nonchalant (if it’s a guy) and tells me that they’re Cherokee as if it’s somehow special, even if it were true. YOU’RE AT A POWWOW, YOU FUCKING TARD! I’M NOT SURPRISED TO FIND INDIANS HERE! Maybe I’ll saunter over to Howard Homecoming this year and start telling all the black people I’m black. God fucking dammit.


For some reason, every single ‘Cherokee’ black person traces their Indian ancestry through a grandmother. I actually had a bet going at one point with another fancy dancer about who would hear the words “grandmother” and “Cherokee” uttered in the same sentence by black people the most. He won the bet, having heard it over 300 times in five fucking months. Though this trend seems to have died out a bit, in the late 90’s early 00’s it was VERY popular not only to say that your great-great-(to the nth power)-grandmother was Cherokee…but she was also a Cherokee PRINCESS.

Everytime someone utters the phrase “Cherokee Princess”, God sends ninjas to kill an Indian. That’s why there are so few of us left. The Cherokee Princess phenomenon got so bad that at one point a certain t-shirt became popular on the powwow circuit. The design of the t-shirt was a brothel called ‘The Cherokee Princess’ with pictures of white and black whores dressed as indian women running in and out. It remains the single most awesome thing I have ever seen.

Figure 3: Irony: Indian women portrayed as sex goddesses despite being notoriously prude

The only thing more annoying than the Cherokee epidemic is the one that’s slowly starting to displace it – the Blackfoot* epidemic. Since about 2004 or so, black people suddenly decided they didn’t want to be Cherokee anymore and instead started telling disinterested mixed indians like me that they’re Blackfoot.

Really? FUCKING REALLY, DUDE?!?!?!?!

At least large numbers of black people claiming Cherokee ancestry is historically and geographically plausible. But Blackfoot? The people from Montana and northwestern Canada where only about four black people have ever set foot in 500 years? FUCK THE FUCK OFF. You are more likely to be Martian than to be fucking Blackfoot.

Figure 4: He’s dark skinned, wears red/black/green, sports b-ball shoes, and clearly has an attitude problem. Marvin the Martian is blacker than Kunta Kinte.

Why is this something black people hate? Simple – this shit makes black people look stupid, and the part of me that’s black is very pissed off about our people looking stupid. Maybe you have indian ancestry, and maybe you don’t. Unless you’re actively involved in the culture, please shut the hell up about it. If someone wants to know, they will ask.

Imagine you’re in a step show and after your set some white-looking dude approaches you and says he’s 1/64th black. Pissed? Confused? Annoyed?

So are we.

* Not to be confused with the ‘Blackfeet’, who are blood-thirsty savages that will make love to your ten year old son and your smaller livestock.**

** This may or may not be true.