Five Celebrities Who Celebrate American Indian Heritage

Oprah Winfrey
Shonda Buchanan
November 7, 2020

#1: Actor James Earl Jones (Choctaw/Cherokee) narrates one of the first documentaries on the topic: "Black Indians: An American Story.” It delves into Black and Native American mixed heritage issues.

#2: Celebrated author Alice Walker (Cherokee/African Great-grandmother) is one of the first major authors to acknowledge and write about her Native American ancestry.

#3 Musician Pharrell Williams (tribe unknown) claims his Native American connection, although he did get in trouble for a publicity stunt – wearing a cultural headdress on a magazine cover without permission or rights. Moral of the story is, do your research – don’t offend Indian Country!

#4: Beloved Coretta Scott King (Creek ancestry) acknowledged her Native American roots.

#5: When mogul Oprah Winfrey appeared on Henry Louis Gates’ Finding Your Roots, he revealed that she had Native American ancestors.

Even if you don’t know your tribe, celebrating and acknowledging your oral narrative of Native American heritage, as Beyoncé and many others do, is welcome! Sometimes, our oral history is all we have to connect back to the past. Do you or your family have Native American heritage?

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