10 Things Native Americans Can Do Better Than You

Simon Moya-Smith


Native Americans are skilled at various things, but here's a list of 10 things Native Americans can do better than most. (No, seriously. We can.)


10. Play lacrosse

 Illustration by George Catlin. Courtesy Wikipedia/Smithsonian Institution

Because we invented it.


9. Snowshoeing

courtesy Library of Congress.

Because, although Europeans had their own form of snowshoes, Native Americans are lauded for inventing the most efficient and diverse.


8. Run on Indian Time

Because “White Man Time will give you stomach cancer.”


7. Letting you know why this is completely and utterly wrong.

Naturally, a Native American will give you a better run down as to why this is fantastically repugnant.


6. Find unique ways to flirt while remaining traditional.

Facebook/Cumash Pow Wow 2013/AmigoNonProfitFilms.

Let’s face it: the potato dance is an art form and a fine way to hit on someone at a pow wow.


5. Host inipis (sweat lodges).


Listen, just don’t do it if you’re not qualified. It can end seriously bad.


4. Deep fry some dough.

Courtesy Wikipedia

It’s not super healthy, but it’s super nostalgic and pretty delicious with honey and powdered sugar.


3. Not act terribly surprised when celebrities claim to be Native American.

It happens a lot. (Brad Pitt claims to be Seminole and Cherokee.)


2. Honor Mother Earth


It’s kind of been our thing from the beginning.


1. Laugh


Because, well, without humor the past 521 years would’ve been a lot harder.

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Craig Dillon's picture
Craig Dillon
Submitted by Craig Dillon on
On a more serious note, the contributions of Native Americans is much more profound. The democracy of the Iroquois League was the inspiration for our democracy. At the Indian Congress held in Albany NY in 1756, Benjamin Franklin first proposed a national Congress of the American colonies citing the 300 year success of the Iroquois League. The Illinois Confederacy was another successful Indian democratic form. There was an eternal flame that burned in Onondaga that represented the Iroquois League. During the Revolutionary War, the five nations Oneida, Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Mohawk differed on who to support - Britain or the colonies. They argued and could not agree. After many hours .. an old and bent chief quietly rose, walked over to the eternal flame, and stamped it out with his feet. The other chiefs watched in silence, then quietly, slowly, got up and left. And so ended the Iroquois League. It was living beside the Indian for two centuries that the idea of individual liberty became defined. Individual liberty was an alien concept to the class defined European societies. We owe our liberty and our form of government to the Indian.

Eric 's picture
Submitted by Eric on
Indians know how to drink and ask for money really well. They also know how to work the government for handouts.

Norman's picture
Submitted by Norman on
Perhaps this WAS true 500 years ago but today NA's represent another American ethnic group and the only thing that remains true is their religious and reverent attitude towards the Earth...they "laugh" and "fry bread" better than White people? Examples of a silly, racist invented-news story. Although I do respect NA's as this IS their original land and they did invent better snowshoes, virtually all these "..things they do better" are now part of the American culture at large and no longer represent the NA's only.

Alan Ferneau's picture
Alan Ferneau
Submitted by Alan Ferneau on
Having a Lakota heritage, and I have always been proud of it, I got to live through the bigotry in the mid-west as a child and teenager, but I feel that it made me stronger and more determined in life. I have to laugh at these "stars" who are suddenly Native American, but then tears come to my eyes with what is still being done to the land. I read through them comments and it us plain to see that the bigotry continues, along with the stereotyping. But, because of the teaching of my grandfather, I can laugh at them since "one cannot teach those who want to remain ignorant."

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
The past 521 years.....does that ring a bell? That is a helluva a long time to put on a smiling face regardless of the life some have been forced to live. It is all just dandy to say you have Indian blood but do you do anything about what continues to happen to the Indians?

truth sayer's picture
truth sayer
Submitted by truth sayer on
Wait, wheres that list of 10 things Native Americans cant do at all. I seem to remember the first one is "Get a job".....'s picture
Submitted by cleliaaireyu@ho... on
love this! everyone that I meet always smile and seems happy people.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Most Native Americans live off the reservation in urban centers, where most are indistinguisable from low-income Hispanic Americans. At the Taos Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico, you can buy blue corn tortillas from Indian women, but the women buy the tortillas from the local supermarket and heat them in microwave ovens.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Most Native Americans live off the reservation in urban centers, where most are indistinguisable from low-income Hispanic Americans. At the Taos Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico, you can buy blue corn tortillas from Indian women, but the women buy the tortillas from the local supermarket and heat them in microwave ovens.

Mikein NYC's picture
Mikein NYC
Submitted by Mikein NYC on
I was born in New York City. That makes me a "native" American. The people who have become known as "native Americans" are no more native than I am. Did they sprout up from the ground or fall from the trees? No. They are descendants from people who came here from elsewhere, (probably Asia across the Bering Straits), just like everyone else. At best they are "prior settlers".

ramrod's picture
Submitted by ramrod on
Though the native American is a sovereign nation, they are can serve in the armed forces of this country. I for one served with a native american Indian when in the USMC. when we were in boot camp , a presidential election came up. we were told we could go and vote, but that this Native American could not do so. We were one, and not one person in that platoon went to vote. We stayed with our friend. He was good enough to serve this country,but unable to cast a vote. I held the highest respect for this man.

Logic's picture
Submitted by Logic on
So... Did anybody else find the subtle hints of racism towards white people a little bit disconcerting? (not that it is not understandable.) I understand the humor, and several are good points and historically proven, however I find it a little hard to understand justifying a feeling of racial superiority based on "facts" that are applied wholesale to a race... Terrible, terrible things have been done to many people for many different reasons; plenty of them being applied genocidally to other races based on wholesale assumptions applied to a particular race. Realize that we are all brothers on this earth, and in the heavens, and that continuing this mode of thought is what leads misguided individuals, and sometimes cultures, into committing atrocities like the genocide of the Native Americans. This comes from a white man, lead here by a random link. My family immigrated here from several countries in Europe just before WW2, and had no part in your suffering, however I empathize with your cultures pain to the best of my ability. No offense meant, however I'm sure that some might be taken. Peace to all, and thank you for your time.

guest's picture
Submitted by guest on
If you want to read the scriptural record of the New World and the history of the ancestors of the Native American people... Then read the Book of Mormon. For a free copy go to It is a powerful book with a powerful message.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
humm Indians are in perfect harmony with mother nature thats how its suppose to be on earth its the law of this planet . they didnt need to invent the wheel ..they were hear well over ten thousand yrs ,,never polluted a single stream ,never needed a land fill and had the cleanist air on earth .if we wont to be around for a million yrs we had better follow in there foot steps ..ower current path of self destruction is soon to be ower death../ greed rape and pillage every thing we see is going to be ower death and in the end we will all be gone but the indians will still be here like a turtle who as been tucked away in the mud for the winter storm .

Rebecca Ellsworth's picture
Rebecca Ellsworth
Submitted by Rebecca Ellsworth on
Hospitality and sharing our last with whoever... this was awesome!

Phil's picture
Submitted by Phil on

bygbubba's picture
Submitted by bygbubba on
Sounds like some Native Americans have an inferiority complex.

Blessedone333's picture
Submitted by Blessedone333 on

William Ward Bock III's picture
William Ward Bo...
Submitted by William Ward Bo... on
I had hoped the list would be of measurable skills. I am not only disappointed, but feel that the author has done more harm than good. I am sure there are more laudable skills that Native Americans excel in.